Santa Monica History Spotlight: Looff Hippodrome

February 6, 2019 9:09 PM
by Robyn Carmichael

The History Spotlight focuses on the landmarks, residents and stories that have shaped Santa Monica into what it is today. Content is being produced in partnership with the Santa Monica Landmarks CommissionSanta Monica History Museum and the Santa Monica Daily Press.

The article below originally appeared in the Santa Monica Daily Press on February 4, 2019.


The Hippodrome is a California-Byzantine-Moorish-style fantasy that has housed a succession of vintage merry-go-rounds, carousels and Wurlitzer organs over the years.

It was designed and built by Charles I. Looff, who built his eponymous Pleasure Pier in 1916 adjacent to the existing Santa Monica Pier. The original carousel was replaced in 1947 by a carousel originally built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1922, moved from the Venice pier to Santa Monica Pier.

The carousel has 44 hand-carved and hand-painted wooden horses, which were restored in 1990. The Hippodrome building, which houses a series of second-floor apartments – now converted to City offices — overlooking the interior, was restored during the period from 1981 through 1984. In 1987, the Looff Hippodrome was recognized as a National Historic Landmark, as well as listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

For more fascinating history on the Looff Hippodrome, visit:

Authored By

Robyn Carmichael
Marketing and Communications Assistant