The exterior of the old Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego at sunset. This nearly-two-century-old hotel is still an active venue, albeit a rather spooky one, in my opinion. I really like architectural detail, especially in a historic context. The hotel was initially a house, built from 1827-1829 by Juan Bandini. The original form was a U-shaped adobe mansion situated around the central plaza. It contained an estimated 10,000 adobe bricks, which weighed about 60 pounds each. It's somewhat remarkable that it's still standing, considering the frequency of California earthquakes which causes heavy damage to these types of structures. The foundation itself was four feet above ground, consisting largely of large river rocks.
The house was sold in the 1850s, and was purchased by an American stagecoach operator in 1869 for $2,000 in gold coins. A second story was added, and the house began to change form. The downstairs parlor was enlarged, a saloon, sitting room, billiards room, barbershop, and post office were added, essentially comprising what is now the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Another addition was the wrap-around balcony on the second story, which allowed guests to observe the goings-on in the plaza. The building was sold again in 1888, and was renovated in the 20th century, and again a few years ago following a three-year restoration project, which attempted to restore it to its original form as it existed in the 1870s.
There may be a resident ghost (she seems to have quite a lot of company: Old Town San Diego is home to some of the most reportedly-haunted locales in the state) in the (former) person of Ysidora Bandini, one of Juan Bandini's three daughters from his first marriage, reportedly the most beautiful women in California. His youngest's ghost is said to haunt Room eleven by turning lights on and off.
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