Tag Archives: Southern California history

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?