dated "about 1920", we know that the upper story was known
as the Hotel Espanol and the lower floor housed the Locatuen
Cigar Store. According to large letters on the Los Angeles
Street side of the building, The Cosmopolitan Saloon also occupied
some space in the building as well. At this time, the large
center doors were filled in and numerous additional windows and a
door appeared on the side of the building. By the late 1940's
the hotel had degenerated into a flop house, and the ground floor
was in use as a warehouse and drug store.
Sometime after 1897, the northeast
corner was damaged by fire, but fortunately not enough to warrant
the building's demolition. However, it may have damaged the cupola,
as the supports of the structure, which have survived, were badly
charred. Another story has it that the wind blew the little structure
off. The bell has completely disappeared.
By 1950, when the State of California
purchased the building, the physical structure was in a serious
state of disintegration. Externally, the four brick walls were
intact, as was the balcony (somewhat remodeled), the projecting
supports of the belfry, and the hoist beam for the hayloft.
What had once been the large front
door (as earlier noted had been filled in with brick), had been
partially opened for a large plate glass window, and the entrance
was moved to the corner. Here the wall had been removed and
the doorway angled across the open area with a column to support the
corner of the building.
Restoration and repair turned up
such items as the large iron door hinges - two still bolted to the
wall - and a third in a pile of debris under the stairwell.
Chinese lottery tickets were found in profusion all over the lower
floor. Removal of linoleum on the second floor revealed the
oval hole where the fire pole had been; and above the false
ceiling on the lower floor, the remnants of the earlier ceiling came
"Used" items from the Los
Angeles Fire Department were incorporated in the restoration work
where original work was missing. In the second floor recreation
room the Douglas chairs and two circular tables were brought from
storage - although still in excellent condition, they had long since
been removed from use as they were "old fashioned".
Hardware, as well as several doors came from the