Thursday, May 02, 2013
Los Angeles Heritage Day: Inside Pico House and the Merced Theatre
One of Los Angeles' oldest buildings, Pico House, located in downtown's El Pueblo Historic Monument area, was built in 1870 as a luxury hotel by Pio Pico, the final governor of California under Mexican rule. The State of California took over the building in the 1950s, and although some of it has been renovated over the years -- most recently, in 2000 for the Democratic National Convention -- only the ground floor is used for exhibits and events. The upstairs is gutted, waiting for a full renovation.
When I visited the Pico House a few weeks ago for LA Heritage Day, I ran into LA Observed's Kevin Roderick, who was about to go on a tour of the historic building. I got to tag along and capture a rare glimpse of the upstairs. Some pics:
Directly to the right of the Pico House is the Merced Theatre, which has also been empty for decades. (Like the Pico House, a lawsuit between the city and a developer of the site has kept it all vacant.) The Merced was built in 1871 but by the turn of the century was already out of favor as a theater. Now, it's being turned into the new home of Los Angeles' public access Channel 35 TV station. (Read the LA Times story about it here.) A few pics from inside the Merced: