Biltmore and Hilton Checkers Hotel

515 S. Olive, Southwest corner of Olive and 5th

The Biltmore Hotel was opened in 1923 at a cost of 7 million dollars. At one time, it was the largest hotel in Los Angeles with over a 1000 rooms. Today it is the ninth largest in Los Angeles, and the third largest in Downtown with 683 rooms. Designed by the New York firm of Schultze and Weaver, it has reddish brick, terra cotta roof tile, cream-colored stone, and three towers on the facade make the building instantly recognizable. In 1960, it served as the headquarters for the Democratic National Convention, at which John F. Kennedy was nominated for President. Over the years, the hotel has been refurbished numerous times, with special effort to preserve the murals and ceilings done by Giovani Battista Smeraldi, whose paintings are also in the Blue Room of the White House. A major renovation in the late eighties included a tower of 24 stories. In the process the entrance to the Biltmore that faced Pershing Square to the east was abandoned in favor of an nondescript indoor automobile entrance on the Bunker Hill side. As part of its 75th anniversary, the Biltmore asked former guests to return any "souvenirs" that they may have inadvertantly retained. The collected memorabilia was put on display at the hotel.

PHOTO: T. Boot.

Across the street from the Biltmore,the former Mayflower Hotel, opened in 1927, is now the Hilton Checkers, a four-diamond boutique hotel.

PHOTO: C. Roseman (left); 1940s postcard (right); 1920 postcard (below)