A Hidden Refuge for the Fading Era of Explorers - Atlas Obscura
Join us on an Atlas Obscura Trip in 2019 »

A Hidden Refuge for the Fading Era of Explorers

The Adventurers’ Club in Los Angeles (all photographs by Kendal Carson)

In a nondescript, windowless building advertised by no sign, on the border of Chinatown in Los Angeles, a society of explorers convenes. The Adventurers’ Club, founded in 1921, has a 200-person membership limited to men who “have had an unusual adventure on land, at seas, or in the air hunting, trapping, exploring, flying, or those who have attained a distinctive reputation in the field of arts, music or science.”

Last month on Narratively, author Zach Urbina and photographer Kendal Carson shared their visit to this curious club in a piece called “Twilight of the Adventurers.” Despite aging membership, the taxidermy-laden walls of the Adventurers’ Club are still filled each week with tales of sailing the world in the merchant marines, trekking solo to the Great Pyramids as a teenager, flying the globe in a custom aircraft, and looking for meteorites on the South Pole. Alongside the eclectic furniture in the drab interior are gazelle heads, spears, airplane propellers, maps, and even a mammoth skeleton. However, the vibrancy of this place may be waning. As Urbina writes:

Without an infusion of lifeblood of new members, The Adventurers’ Club is very likely to fade entirely. How many Gen Y/Millennials can tell you what an SR-71 is, or understand the archetypal machismo of a man like Teddy Roosevelt? As the globe grows ever more tightly connected, the skills of individual resiliency, camaraderie and courage that each member clearly holds dear have faded from prominence.

Below are more photographs by Kendal Carson of the Adventurers’ Club and its members shared with Atlas Obscura, and you can read more about the extraordinary group at Narratively

Read more about LA’s Adventurers’ Club in “Twilight of the Adventurers’ Club” by Zach Urbina with photographs by Kendal Carson on Narratively