pico house register ca 1870
Register for the Pico House, June 1870 - May 1872. Sunday, Sept. 11, 1870. Acquisition made possible by the Ramona chapter, Native Sons of the Golden West Autry National Center; 93.21.142
pico house register, detail
The Autry Library and the Braun Research Library are both part of the Autry National Center for the American West, headquartered in Griffith Park.
Autry Library Director Marva R. Felchin shared the photographs in this post. They depict a document from the library's collections that uniquely casts light on early Los Angeles history. Felchin explains:
"Pio de Jesus Pico, governor of California in 1845, built the Pico House in 1870, a luxury hotel intended to help revitalize the old plaza area of Los Angeles. Designed by architect Ezra F. Kysor, Pico House was the first three-story building in Los Angeles and featured gas lighting and indoor plumbing. Pico lost the hotel to foreclosure in 1880. It fell to ruins by the early 1900s and was later deeded to the State of California. The Pico House is California Historical Landmark no. 159, and is sometimes used for art exhibitions and film and television production.
The Pico House hotel register is a unique artifact of Los Angeles history. It documents guests travelling to downtown Los Angeles by date, name and place of residence, during the first two years of the hotel's operation, 1870-1872. Printed on each facing page is a "strangers guide to leading businesses," that reads like a directory of significant names in the development of the city. Many of the people and businesses listed still exist in some form. Researchers, curators and others will find a bounty of information about Los Angeles in the directory whether they are studying the activities of specific individuals or tracing the history of hotel management, for example. In the future, the Autry libraries hope to create a searchable database of the contents, a boon to users as well as the preservation of the artifact."
Register for the Pico House, June 1870 - May 1872. Signature page, Sunday, Sept. 11, 1870. Acquisition made possible by the Ramona chapter, Native Sons of the Golden West Autry National Center; 93.21.14
An aside, when was it that we stopped teaching 'Handwriting' in school?