Right off the bat, commenter number one picked out yesterday's Cornerspotter as the block to the northeast of what was then Main and Commercial (the photo was taken in 1882, roughly from the current site of city hall). This block is now home to the 101 Freeway, the Los Angeles Mall, and Fletcher Bowron Square, site of the Triforium sculpture. Back in 1882, its centerpiece was the grand Baker Block, built in 1877 and said to have "The Most Interesting Staircase in Los Angeles!" It was also possibly LA's first steel-framed building and the first to have tile floors, according to urban diachrony. It was demolished in the early 1940s. Also on the block was the St. Charles Hotel, originally known as the Bella Union--this was LA's first hotel, built in 1835. According to Nathan Masters at KCET, it started life as a general store, then become "California's de facto capitol building when, in 1846, Pío Pico -- recently installed as governor of Mexican California after a revolt against Manuel Micheltorena -- moved in." It was converted to a hotel in 1849 and was apparently popular with Confederate sympathizers during the Civil War. It was demolished in 1940 (there's even more here).
· Hint: 1800s Grandeur Demolished For Dreariness [Curbed LA]
· Historical Photos of Early Los Angeles [Water and Power Associates]