Is there treasure buried beneath the Hollywood Bowl? Could be!

It’s Hollywood Bowl season. I’ve been pouring over the schedule for weeks now. As soon as the brochure arrived in the mail I began circling all of the artists and concerts I know I would enjoy. That presented a little bit of a problem, however. There weren’t any I wouldn’t enjoy.

Hollywood Bowl Marquee

We visited the box office–saving additional handling fees by purchasing tickets on-site rather on-line!  The trip across town also gave me an opportunity to walk around the beautiful Bowl property without the crush of people on a concert night–up to 18,000 people. Really!

Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, the Bowl is quite a treasure. I’ve written about some of its illustrious history in a previous post, but there is another story of a treasure associated with the Bowl that maybe you don’t know.

Hollywood Sign is visible from inside the Bowl.

Hollywood Sign is visible from inside the Bowl.

It helps to remember that long before the first Los Angeles Philharmonic performance at the Bowl on Easter, 1921, the Hollywood Hills were beautifully open and uninhabited.

And it also needs to be remembered that gangs and violence in early Los Angeles were part of the lawlessness of a very transitional era. As the Gold Rush ushered in thousands of miners into a county with the absence of much of a legal system, Los Angeles was known as the most lawless city west of Santa Fe.

Hollywood Hills

So the story goes that in 1861 three Mexican government agents traveled north strapped with $200,000 in gold, silver and jewelry, expecting to purchase guns for the democracy struggle of Benito Juarez. Fearing for their safety, they buried the wealth in the hills of San Mateo.

A shepherd named Diego Moreno witnessed the burial and dug up six packages, fled south to Los Angeles, and supposedly buried the loot in six different holes under an ash tree near the Cahuenga Pass.

View of Hollywood Bowl from Mulholland Drive

View of Hollywood Bowl from Mulholland Drive

Moreno took ill and went to the home of his friend, Jesus Martinez, where he was treated kindly during his illness, and shared the secret of the buried treasure with his good friend.

After Moreno died, Martinez, accompanied by his stepson, Gumisindo Correa, set off to find the treasure. As soon as Martinez approached the tree where it was believed to be buried, he dropped dead–and Correa ran away, believing the treasure was cursed!

View of Mulholland Drive from inside the Bowl

View of Mulholland Drive from inside the Bowl

Twenty five years later a shepherd unearthed a package with gold coins and jewels, and delighted with his bounty set sail for Spain. Unfortunately, his story also ends badly. As the ship docked, he fell into the sea and drowned–the weight of the coins and jewels sewn into his clothing, held him down and the curse continued.

Hollywood Bowl Shell Hollywood Hills

Remember the stepson Gumisindo Correa? He became a respected Los Angeles lawman and later decided to look for the treasure again. That also didn’t go too well. Before he found anything he was shot down in the streets of Los Angeles.

Seating at Hollywood Bowl

I love the lore of this story, but I’m greatly amused that it persisted as possibility long into the 20th century. Enough so that in 1939 special arrangements were made to dig up portions of the Hollywood Bowl parking lot, believed to be the site of the buried treasure.

No treasure was found.

Too bad, but it’s a great story. Stirs the imagination a bit, doesn’t it? The believers are still out there, but the county won’t be issuing any more permits to mining engineers anytime too soon.

And what tickets did we purchase? Well, if I told you that now, it might spoil future posts. I will get back to you with that.

But if you live in Southern California, it is just about the perfect time to get to the box office–save yourself the added Ticketmaster fees, and enjoy one of the best summer bargains in outdoor musical entertainment.

Seating the Hollywood Bowl upper deck

Travelers to the Los Angeles area would certainly enjoy this iconic location for some of the best in classical, jazz and pop performances. There’s something for everyone.

Take a look at the schedule HERE, and tell me which tickets you’d like to purchase. Maybe we can get a price break from group sales?

52 thoughts on “Is there treasure buried beneath the Hollywood Bowl? Could be!

  1. Oh I am so pleased to can attend some of these performances and report back, we are so far from anywhere I have not been to a concert in an AGE! Now back out to the gardening for me, You never know what i might dig up! c

    • Thank you for your nice comment and stopping by, Celi. I am sure you don’t have time at all for concerts these days, but I think you must have some really wonderful musical interludes when all your fabulous animals decide to sing! Now that’s a concert I would really love to hear sometime, my friend. :-)

  2. This is one of those posts that makes me long to live in a bigger city, Debra. Charleston is lovely, but it’s small. We get so little in the way of this kind of culture here. I’m with you. I’d see everything. But, if I had to pick just one, I’d go for Pink Martini. I love that band, and it would be such a treat to see them live.

    As for the treasure, maybe you will stumble upon it in one of your many trips to the Bowl this season. Minus the curse.

    • I think Pink Martini would be good, too, Andra. But I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I’d enjoy each of them. There aren’t any I wouldn’t like! I bought tix for three I definitely didn’t want to miss, but we can add throughout the season if we have time. The tickets are so reasonable that the Bowl is easily affordable. If you’re willing to sit in the very back, they cost less than a movie. It’s obviously a very popular venue! I think having some of the more spectacular entertainment venues is a little comfort and excitement that makes some of what we experience in the “big city” as more tolerable! Sometimes I get very weary of putting up with all it takes to maneuver around here, but some of that impatience is at least modified if I can enjoy some of what a bigger city offers. It’s all about trade-offs, isn’t it? ox

  3. First pick: Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers, featuring Edie Brickell ~ they’re performing in Tampa but the show is Sold Out.

    I’d also attend opening night, Aerosmith, and the annual Grease Sing Along.

    • I would like each of these, too, Nancy. I have the new Steve Martin CD and I really enjoy it. Aerosmith would be a blast, but the dates weren’t good. The Grease Sing Along is still a possibility if my daughter and I can coordinate. They have Grease and Sound of Music sing-alongs every year, and I’ve never made it to one. Someday! But they aren’t the ones I decided on at this point. The nice thing about the Bowl is that weekend concerts can sell out, but during the week you can almost always get a seat in the nosebleed section. :-)

  4. One day I will visit Los Angeles and enjoy the culture. I miss New York because of the culture, but don’t think I would want to live there again as it’s crowded. Here in Oregon we have natural beauty but not much culture.

    • I think since you’ve had the culture of NY, you have had all of that, and now, to have the natural beauty of Oregon–that’s pretty cool, too! :-) If I’m going to live in such a busy and chaotic environment, I’ll soothe myself periodically with some of these interesting entertainment venues! It’s my trade-off, I suppose.

  5. You unearth wonderful stories and legends instead of gold and jewels. I prefer it by far. I hate to tell you that the last time I was at the Hollywood Bowl was over 20 years ago. We heard Ella Fitzgerald ~ a memorable evening at the Bowl. Enjoy your summer concerts.

    • Thank you so much, Inger. I am very grateful you enjoy the stories I do dig up! I would have LOVED to have seen Ella Fitzgerald. What a wonderful memory to have of such an amazing woman and musician! I will enjoy our performances this summer, and I will probably share about them…I get very enthusiastic! :-)

  6. Great post. I lived up in the Coalinga area for a few years around 1990. I loved exploring the hills and back country. There is a place called Joaquin Rocks that is rumored to be one of the places that the notorious bandit Joaquin Murrieta buried some of his ill gotten gains. I have a plan one of these days when fully retired…well not fully….in the full time hobby stage, of going back up to the Joaquin Rocks with a metal detector and several weeks of “free” time to hunt. Now, don’t beat me to the prize!

    • I love your plan, Bishop! I have never heard anything about the area your refer to as Joaquin Rocks and I can imagine it would be so exhilarating to explore, and whether any treasure was ever discovered, it would still be exciting to live a bit within the big story! I am very interested in this transitional period in early California when the state was struggling to figure out who it wanted to be when it grew up! :-) I really appreciate the link that tells more about Joaquin! He was a pretty bad dude, wasn’t he? I knew nothing more about him than what I shared in my Hollywood Bowl story, so now I’m even more intrigued. Thank you so much for adding to the story!

    • You would love the Hollywood Bowl, Kevin. If you ever come this way, be sure to check it out. The lore of the treasure story brings a bit of the past into the current frenzy. I enjoy thinking about it, too! :-)

    • Thank you, Colleen. It is a rather incredible story. I will enjoy sharing more about the Bowl season as we participate this summer. It’s one of my favorite activities and I look forward to it all year. :-)

  7. It certainly does sound like there’s a bit of a curse on that treasure and perhaps the message is to leave it just where it is. How fantastic to have season tickets to the Hollywood Bowl. Must get there someday! xx

    • I enjoyed learning a little bit more about the treasure and the curse, Charlie. I do wonder how the story managed to remain intact enough to persuade the city engineers to authorize a dig, but wouldn’t it be fun if they had found something! The Hollywood Bowl is something very special and not over-hyped! I will enjoy sharing more about it as the season goes forward. Thank you for stopping by, my friend. :-)

  8. I love treasure stories like that. So does Mr. N. He loves a good mystery and a good treasure story! And can’t wait to hear about the shows you purchased. It sounds a lot like one of our outdoor concert venues. Unfortunately the shows we wanted sold out too fast. No worries…I’ll find tickets one way or another. ;)

    • It is a fun treasure story, isn’t it, Kristy? I’m not sure that it is broadly well-known, but the Bowl has signage telling the story and enjoys being connected to a little mystery. One of the reasons we can attend the Bowl so easily is that with 18,000 seats (or somewhere in that figure) it takes awhile to sell out. And if you’re not someone requiring being in the first sections the tickets are very reasonable. I will enjoy sharing more about the concerts later this summer! :-)

  9. Buried treasure and a curse, ….Love it! Beautiful pictures. Strange that when I think of that area, I think of crowded bustling city and not that gorgeous landscape. That is the treasure!

    • Thank you so much commenting! And I am so glad to have the opportunity to show you another side of the busy Los Angeles area. It is very true that this one beautiful spot in the Hollywood Hills is right in the middle of some of the busiest commotion in the country! LOL! I can’t pretend it isn’t so. :-) But because Los Angeles County is so large, there are still some really beautiful open spaces, too, and believe me, I do my best to find time to focus on the canyons and open land whenever possible. :-)

  10. Enjoying Hollywood Bowl would certainly be something I’d love to do one day. Until then I look forward to read about your experience. Thanks for the story behind the gold rush – as always interesting to learn something new.

    • I am really interested in early California history, Otto, and sometimes I find interesting little stories I’ve never heard before. The Hollywood Bowl is a truly wonderful place that is a permanent jewel in Los Angeles/Hollywood that isn’t actually hyped! It really is all that it purports to be. For some of us it is a staple of summer. I am glad I can share with you.

  11. I love that story of the buried treasure, Debra. Thus do legends grow. The Hollywood Bowl looks like the most marvellous venu for concerts and I’m guessing there’s not much chance of them being disrupted by bad weather…. :-)

    • Funny comment about the Bowl, Perpetua. Most concerts, with only a rare exception, are in the summer, and the only fear is heat. LOL! Typically our evenings are nice and cool following a very hot day, but once in a while when the heat just settles it can be stifling, but no, we won’t have rain. It’s always funny to me that the tickets have a disclaimer that concerts won’t be cancelled due to weather–what weather? Ha! I’m glad you enjoyed the legend of the buried treasure. I get quite a kick out of thinking of the decision made to dig up the parking lot. The story must have really been passed along with intensity to have been believed after all those years! :-)

  12. After checking out the schedule and if I could only go to one concert, it’s Josh Groban for me …. but I’m sure you will make us part of whatever your choice

    • I will have fun with my Hollywood Bowl visits. I could probably write great posts just about the people watching. The crowd changes considerably depending on who is performing. I have had some very funny experiences. I didn’t have to purchase Josh Groban tickets because a friend had already invited me to accompany her, and I am sure that will be a really wonderful evening. I have not seen him perform, but I can imagine it will be a very special concert. The crowd will undoubtedly be a bit more civilized, I suspect, than some of the others. We have arranged for three different genres, so I’ll compare crowds as well. :-) I know you would enjoy the Bowl, Frank. Maybe someday?

      • It;s a classic venue, a truly one of the first of the outdoor venues…. Meanwhile, comparing the crowds would be a post in itself, so consider it.

  13. The Hollywood Bowl looks like just the place to relax and enjoy a great concert! We’ve done many concerts, but appreciate the outdoors of Blossom Music Center … it’s not nearly as big! Actually, we’re checking the venue out now, but sometimes we just do last minute and take the lawn seats! Cheap and then we can predict the weather. Weather is something you don’t need to worry about!

    During the winter months we enjoy theater and Playhouse Square in Cleveland, OH. Now that we’ve moved, we’ll just visit friends in Ohio and find all the things Michigan has to offer. At this time in our life, it’s easier to pick up and go! It’s time to just pack up and go!

    I love the history of the buried treasures. I’ll leave the digging to someone else! Take care and stay safe.

    • I think most large cities have something to offer in outdoor entertainment, at least part of the year, even if it’s concerts in the park! Each of them is such a nice way to de-stress and let go a little bit, don’t you think? The Hollywood Bowl has many inexpensive sections/seats to fill, and except for a very few of the artists there are usually seats available right up until the night of the concert, so unless I need to watch the calendar closely I can fill in with more throughout the season if we have time. With weekday Los Angeles traffic it can take us a good hour to get to the Bowl even though it’s probably only 20 miles away. LOL! So time definitely needs to be considered. The buried treasure is a funny story, and helps me remember that it wasn’t that long ago when this really was very open land! What happened? Ha!

    • Thank you, Tom. I do find early California history entirely absorbing. I enjoy sharing some of the lesser known stories that remind even Californians that it wasn’t all that long ago we were truly the “wild, wild west!” :-)

    • I appreciate the Dianne Reeves recommendation, Cathy. I see you enjoy jazz, too. The Grease sing-along would be so much fun, as well as the Sound of Music. I would really enjoy each offering, but only committed to three nights. I am already thinking I may want to add, but we’ll have to see how the time goes! One some of our very hot summer nights these will be something pleasant to look forward to! :-)

  14. Dear Debra, looking at the summer program I can see your dilemma in choosing tickets. Just for the month of July, I like to see the following: Symphonie fantastique, the Rite of Spring, Pines of Rome, Chicago, and Louie Armstrong tribute. Wow. How wonderful to sit out in the open and listen to such diverse majesty. Peace.

    • I know you would enjoy the Bowl, Dee. I love your choices and options. Do you listen to music much? I think these particular options are probably available on CD and might be good summer listening. :-)

      • Dear Debra, I don’t listen to music much. I never play the radio and watch television only about a hour three or four days a week. When I walk, I listen to books on tape. But when I don’t have a new novel to listen to, I do play music cassettes and these keep me moving my feet forward or dancing a little as I step out! Peace.

  15. I love an outdoor venue and some of my most memorable concert experiences have occurred at them. You just can’t beat a live performance under the stars. The Hollywood bowl sounds like a fantastic place to spend a warm Summer’s evening, Debra. Glad you were able to get tickets. Our outdoor concert stage is much smaller than The Bowl and it’s not easy getting tickets for popular acts. Even so, I’ve managed to see some great acts. I can’t wait to learn who you’ll be seeing and whether you’ll be bringing a shovel.

  16. My ancestors were in California and friends of John Sutter, living in his fort, in 1843. One uncle was married by Sutter, and another uncle founded the town I live in, in 1852. Roots and memories run deep here.

  17. Fascinating tale Debra. But I have to report that there is no treasure – it was found by a laborer while they were building the Bowl. And he blew it all in the casinos so it’s gone for ever ;-)

    I fancy Elgar’s Cello Concerto, but I suspect I won’t be able to attend. Perhaps I’ll try to get along to the London Prom’s this year instead :-)

    • Hmmmm. You may be right, Martin! Just because they didn’t find the treasure doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t there at one time. Good thought!

      I do hope you can find your way to a wonderful classical performance this season. I love the Cello, and Elgar is exquisite. I will be attending another cello concert–that’s a clue. I’ll be sharing… :-)

    • I think you’re right about the movie qualities to the story, CCU. I could imagine it being played almost as a farce…the circumstances leading up to it being a series of bumbling errors, and then digging up all the parking lots and finding nothing. Hmmmm. Maybe we can write a screenplay! :-)

  18. What a line-up! I think I would just want to camp out nearby, attend all, and see what I could dig up in between concerts, Debra. On second thought, now that I’ve been “mugged and printed”, maybe I shouldn’t do that. tee hee I can’t wait to hear all about what performances you attend. We have a smaller venue here; Ravinia. It is a fabulous concert arena, and so popular that tickets can be hard to come by. We’ve attended many concerts there over the years. Tony Bennett was one in which there wasn’t an inch of space left; in the seats or on the lawn.

    Isn’t that an interesting story? Someone else mentioned a movie, which could be intriguing, though no movie will ever compare to the first airing of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Sigh.

    • I didn’t choose either Elgar or Bugs Bunny for our Hollywood Bowl tix, but I can certainly understand why both would be great fun! I don’t think there are any of the concerts that I wouldn’t enjoy! :-)

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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