The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on January 15, 1981 · 268
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 268

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Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Thursday, January 15, 1981
Page:
268
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1 2 Thursday, January IS, 181V Coo ArtQelco Simco Founded in 193S New Home Being Sought for Southland's Sports Hall of Fame By ALAN DROOZ, Times Staff Writer A small sports world gem nestled obscurely near Los Angeles International Airport will vacate its present home shortly and probably leave the Inglewood area when the Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame finds a new sponsor and, perhaps, new fame. The Hall of Fame, which has received national recognition since its inception in 1936 and has housed its attractive displays and an extensive library in its 8900 S. Sepulveda Blvd. location since 1970, has technically lost the Citizens Savings part of its title. Citizens Savings, however has assured the foundation's director, Bill Schroeder, that it will continue its support until he can find new space for his collection. Schroeder, a peppery 76-year-old who started the foundation from his private collection, has been its backbone from the start. Schroeder said he is continuing negotiations and is confident of settling within a few weeks. (Schroeder remains close-mouthed about negotiations but speculation has him moving the foundation closer to his Glendale home. ) Major Stumbling Block Schroeder has already had one agreement fall through and said the major stumbling block is in getting a longtime commitment, not only to move and house the foundation to bigger quarters but to provide continuing funds for the foundation's numerous awards on all levels from high school to professional sports. "It's a very extensive and costly program," Schroeder admitted. "I wouldn't want to disclose the budget. Their (Citizen Savings) interests, I presume, are more Northern California based." Schroeder suggested that with the right benefactor, the time is probably right for a change. The foundation has been in its present location its third since United Savings & Loan took it over in 1970. That company merged with Citizen Savings in 1973. The Hall of Fame on the first floor is full and has no more room, and the building is not very accessible. "When we moved, it seemed to be the proper one," Schroeder said. "They were so eager to have it here. I was happy, and have been happy. 'Poor Location' "But we're somewhat cramped in this facility, with no place to expand it. Here we really are in a poor location. There's very little if any foot traffic, plus poor parking." The hall will remain open until a new benefactor is found. Visitors can see such treasures (free of charge) as: Baseball jerseys and mementos from the modern era of Sandy Koufax and Maury Wills to the Depression days of Wally Berger to Bill (Dummy) Hoy's 1898 Cincinnati uniform and red stockings. There is also a display on Hoy, a deaf mute who had a successful major league career and was responsible for umpires signaling with their hands (Hoy was the uncle of the foundation's original benefactor, Paul Helms). An extensive Olympics section with displays ranging from ancient Greece to Johnny Weissmuller in the 1920s to Bruce Jenner. An 1898 San Francisco Examiner with the banner headline extolling Berkeley's first football victory over Stanford: "Rah! Rah! Rah! California U.C. Berkeley Zip-Boom-Ah!" Primo Camera's size 24 boxing shoes. l JiJ.-r!i". Finn llftrt ma KL- if) MM t : i t I LOU MACK Los Angelei Timet Bill Schroeder, founder and director of the sports newspaper clippings. Schroeder is seeking a new Hall of Fame in Westchester, reviews old sports sponsor to fund exhibits of sports memorabilia. A Heisman Trophy corner featuring the USC jersey of Jon Arnett. In the upstairs library, which contains 15,000 to 20,-000 volumes "The finest sports library in the world," Schroeder claims there are every daily sports section of The Times and Herald -Examiner since 1931 as well as bound Eastern newspapers and the Sporting News. Schroeder has been a collector of sports memorabilia since his Hollywood High days in the World War I era, when he was an amateur and semi-pro baseball player. He went to work as an accountant in a holding company of a large bank in 1926, and said by the late 1920s his collection was so large that he began to look for a sponsor to house and administer a sports museum and library. Unfortunately, he said, "Those were Depression days. Everybody I approached said 'That's a great idea' but nobody had any money." The first positive response came from Helms, owner of Helms Bakeries, in 1936. "He said he'd wanted to do something like that all his life," Schroeder remembered. That October, he left the bank to become full-time director of the Helms Athletic Foundation. It originally occupied offices in the Garland building on Ninth Street in downtown Los Angeles, then built a new facility, Helms Hall, on Venice Boulevard in 1948. Ongoing programs such as the athlete-of-the-month and athlete-of-the-year awards were instituted and Schroeder, who had been working alone for 12 years, got 'a secretary. Along the way, Schroeder was con stantly adding to the library and museum with donations, loans, purchases of autographs, pictures, trophies, souvenirs. Helms died in 1957 but the family continued sponsorship until 1969, when the bakeries went out of business. The family offered to deed the facility to Schroeder, but he said he needed a well-funded benefactor, and his "orphan" hall became the subject of media coverage including a large spread in Sports Illustrated that led to a generous offer from Louisville, Ky. The catch the foundation had to move to Louisville. Schroeder turned down the offer and received sponsorship from United Savings & Loan Assn., moving the foundation to its present location. The foundation became the United Savings Helms Athletic Foundation. Schroeder said United used the foundation as the center of its marketing. In 1973, however, United merged with Citizens Savings & Loan, the foundation taking its current name of Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation. A Northern California athlete-of-the-year award was added, but Citizens' ardor has apparently since cooled. Schroeder's remains intact, and he told constant callers this week, "We'll be all right. We'll have a new place in a few weeks." Asked to pick a favorite athlete or sports moment, Schroeder merely smiled and shook his head. "I still go all over. I love them all," he said. "Baseball is my favorite sport but all the athletes are my treasured friends." PLAN TEAR GAS (1) FOR ALL THOSE THAT BECOME CERTIFIED ; ( ill j ;iL3 PREVENTION PROTECT YOURSELF HOW! 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