#0159 Pico House (Hotel)


#0159 Pico House (Hotel)

Site information:

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, 400 block of Main St, Los Angeles


Plaque information:

Private plaque

Plaque text:

Pico House

The Pico House was built by Pio Pico, last Governor of California under Mexican rule, who lived almost the entire length of the nineteenth century from 1801 to 1894. This was the first three story building and the first grand hotel in Los Angeles. Pico chose architect Ezra F. Kysor to design the "finest hotel in Los Angeles." To raise funds for the building and furnishing of the hotel, Pio and his brother Andres sold most of their vast landholdings in the San Fernando Valley. Construction began on September 18, 1869, and the hotel opened for business on June 9, 1870.

The hotel was built in the Italianate style, with deep set round-arched windows and doors. The Main Street and Plaza facades were stuccoed to resemble blue granite. The hotel had eighty two bedrooms and twenty one parlors as well as bathrooms and water closets for each sex on each floor. A French chef presided over a large dining room on the first floor. The Pico House was decorated with furniture of the best quality, with walnut pieces on the second floor and lighter woods but still "pleasing to the eye and of good quality" on the third floor. Many of the bedrooms opened into an interior court festooned with vines and birdcages.

The prime period of the hotel was in 1876 when the railroad came to Los Angeles and when Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria stayed there. Unfortunately, Pio Pico was not to profit from his hotel as he lost it to foreclosure in 1880 because of non-payment of debts. The hotel management changed frequently in the ensuing years. Many of the proprietors were of French or Italian origin. Around 1882 a balcony was added to the Plaza and Main street facades and its name was changed for several decades to the National Hotel. The hotel gradually declined and was taken over by the state in 1953.

OHP description:

Pío Pico constructed the Pico House in 1869-70. The first three-story hotel built in Los Angeles, it had about eighty rooms, large windows, a small interior court, and a grand staircase.

Registered 1/11/1935