AKA: Grant, U.S. Hotel, San Diego, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings -public accommodations - hotels

Designers: Albright, Harrison, Architect (firm); Leonardt, Carl, Building Contractor (firm); Harrison Albright (architect); Carl Heinrich Leonardt (building contractor); Edward Leodore Mayberry Jr. (architect/structural engineer)

Dates: constructed 1905-1910

11 stories

326 Broadway
Core-Columbia, San Diego, CA 92101

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Opening on October 15, 1910, the Ulysses S. Grant Hotel instantly became San Diego's showplace hotel, built for a whopping $1.9 million. Construction took place over five years, and became the lodging spot for well-heeled tourists visiting the city. An immense grand opening party in 1910 entertained 750 guests.

Building History

Architect Harrison Albright (1866-1932) became an expert in reinforced concrete construction, a new building method c. 1900; for certain building types, like hotels, that often experienced devastating fires in the 19th century, reinforced concrete construction showed great promise. Such a fire occurred at Lee W. Sinclair's West Baden Springs Hotel, French Lick, IN, in 06/1901. Contemplating rebuilding, Sinclair wanted to create a hotel with a gigantic domed atrium, one that could resist another fire. Concrete was used for the dome and other parts of this building, designed and built by Harrison Albright, in one year, 06/1901-06/1902. From this experience building one of the grandest and most extravagant hotels of its time, Albright's reputation soared.

Carl Leonardt, a notable Los Angeles building contractor known for his abilities with concrete construction had the contract to build the U.S. Grant Hotel. He hired a recent engineering graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Edward L. Mayberry, Jr., (1871-1957) to work on this building.

Building Notes

The Grant Hotel occupied the site of Horton House, the San Diego hotel, built in 1870. In 2015, the US Grant Hotel contained 270 guest rooms and 22 meeting spaces.

San Diego architect Irving J. Gill (1870-1936) designed the first electrically-lit fountain for the hotel. A ballroom is located on the hotel's ninth floor offering panoramic views of the area.

Tel. 619-232-3121 (2003)

PCAD id: 76