In the 1970s and early 80s the U.S. Grant Hotel the once fabulous hotel was loosing it’s luster. Downtown San Diego was in a slight decline at that point, very different from what it is now, with all the development of the past two decades. My live/paint studio downtown in the very early 70s was inexpensive but a little too sketchy. I would walk by the Grant Hotel most days and even in its state of slight disrepair it still had a certain magic.
In 1979 the Grant was purchased by Christopher “Kit” Sickels and he added the hotel to the National Register of Historic Sites, saving it from demolition. Two major renovations then took place and I was lucky to be a part of the second project in 2005. On Dec third 2003 the hotel was bought by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation Indians whose ancestors had originally owned the land and whose roots go back some 10,000 years in the land now known as San Diego California. The new owner’s vision brought the hotel back to a beautiful place indeed.
The U.S. Grant Hotel was completed in 1910 by Ulysses S. Grant, Jr., son of president Ulysses S. Grant, who named the hotel after his father. Grant bought the Horton House Hotel and demolished it to construct the current hotel. Noted architect Harrison Albright designed the hotel. So many amazing things have taken place in this Hotel. Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered one of his earliest Radio shows from the US Grant. The inaugural San Diego Comic-Con International, which was then called “San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con,” was held at the U.S. Grant Hotel in 1970.
Guests include Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Mamie Eisenhower and of course Adam West (of TV Batman fame) and many others.