By Levi Clancy for לוי on
Though it had become a slum, Pio Pico tried to revive the Plaza by building a grand hotel on the site of Don Jose Antonio Carrillo's adobe, diagonally across the street from the church. Pico mortgaged his San Fernando Valley land holdings for $115,000 to finance the project. Construction began in 1869 and opened for business in June 1870. Built at a cost of $85,000, the hotel was designed by Ezra F Kysor in the Italianate style. It was built of brick, with stucco facades on the Plaza and Main street sides. The facade was painted to resemble granite and had tall arched windows. There were elegant furnishings and bathrooms on each floor.
For ten years the hotel was the gem of Los Angeles' hospitality. Many important people stayed there including leading local citizens and distinguished international visitors. However, it did not make enough money to absolve Pico's mounting financial turmoils and in 1880 he sold it at auction for $16,000.
Pico House continued in operation as a hotel under different ownership. For a few years after 1892 it was known as the National Hotel. During the 1880s a balcony was constructed on the Main Street facade, but it was removed a few years later.