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mopolitan Chronicle C os

True tales from the annals of history, archaeology, construction, and restoration of the Casa de Bandini and Cosmopolitan Hotel. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

San Diego, Alta California, July 4, 2008 VOL. I, No. 17 Price: Free

An Ensuing Rivalry

San Diego Coast District Historian

onstruction of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in 1869 symbolized an ensuing rivalry between Old Town and New Town San Diego. Founded in 1867, when Alonzo Horton, a shrewd New Englander, bought 960 acres of scrub and cactus along the bay front, New Town quickly eclipsed Old Town as the county's center of trade and development. Within a year people and businesses, including many from Old Town, were moving into Horton's Addition as the bay front community was called.

Victor A. Walsh


When Horton heard about Seeley's hotel, he offered to give him an entire block in his Addition provided Seeley would invest his wife's inheritance in New Town. The cocky stage master declined, reportedly boasting, "Old Town is the town the real San Diego; your mushroom town of New San Diego soon will peter out. All

the people who want to travel backwater area for passengers will have to come to Old Town traveling between Los Angeto take the stage." les and San Diego and outlying hamlets. Advertisements In October 1870, nearly a promoting the hotel never year after Seeley had opened graced the pages of the Golden the Cosmopolitan, Horton Era, a glossy, upscale pictorial unveiled his new downtown monthly magazine that operhotel, which he named The ated out of San Diego and San Horton House. The two- Francisco. story brick building had gas lighting and running water, The hotel's guest register, a and its "large, commodious, copy of which the District reand well lighted" guest rooms cently purchased from Califoroffered "magnificent views" nia State Library, is reasonably of the bay. It featured a well- complete for the years, 1870stocked dining room and bar 1873. It lists only the check-in with "American male waiters," date (not the exit date), name a reading and billiard room, a of the guest, residence, and ladies parlor, bridal chamber, sometimes the room number. and suites for retired and el- The number of new guests derly guests. Promoted as "the averaged between 3 and 6 on Hotel of Southern California" most days. On special occaby the San Diego Union, it ca- sions, such as the coming of tered to a clientele of wealthy the circus or a family funeral or "travelers in pursuit of knowl- reunion, the guest listed in the edge or pleasure," many com- register more than doubled. ing by steamboat from San Francisco. The hotel had thirty numbered rooms, which suggests that it Unlike the Horton House accommodated local boarders, and other downtown estab- probably single men, whose lishments, the Cosmopolitan names were not listed in the never catered to wealthy tour- register as well as stage pasists from outside the area. It sengers and visitors listed in was a stage stop located in a the register.


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