Friday, July 17, 2009

Remembering The El Cortez Hotel

When the 15 story El Cortez Hotel opened in San Diego in 1927, it was such a big deal that one third of the population of the city - 50,000 people, turned out for the landmark event. For years to come, the Spanish Colonial Revival marvel remained the tallest building in San Diego. It had the world's first outdoor glass elevator, and in the 1950s, my parents took my sister and me to the Hotel, just to ride in it.

This circa 1950 postcard shows cocktails being served in the "Sky Room", with a sweeping western view of San Diego Bay, Coronado and Point Loma in the distance.

Although no longer a hotel, the building has been beautifully restored and the rooms turned into apartments. Now there are some 30 buildings in the city skyline that are taller, but none with the landmark status of the El Cortez.

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