The Rosslyn Hotel “in the heart of Los Angeles” was a large tourist hotel consisting of two units- the main hotel and the annex on the northwest and southwest corners of Main and Fifth streets. My great-grandfather worked there as an electrician from 1914 to 1941.
The Rosslyn proprietors were brothers Dwight and George Hart. They got their start in the hotel business as teens, helping their father run the old Natick House hotel at Main & First streets. The boys took over its operation after their father died c. 1892.
They also opened the original Rosslyn at 443 S. Main St, converting two existing 1890s hotels. When the northwest corner of Fifth & Main came available in 1913, they jumped at the chance to expand the hotel.
Architects Parkinson & Bergstrom designed the “new Rosslyn” which opened November 9, 1914.
In 1923, knowing they would soon face competition from the new Biltmore Hotel rising a few blocks away at Fifth & Olive streets, the brothers had Parkinson design an annex, which was built on the southwest corner of Fifth and Main opposite the 1914 hotel. It opened on December 29, 1923. The annex had its own lobby and entrance but contained mostly guest rooms; the dining room and other amenities were in the main building. The two units were connected under Fifth St. by a 145-ft. marble-lined subway.
George Hart died in 1929. Dwight continued to operate the hotel solo. He died in May 1942, after which the Rosslyn was sold to a syndicate headed by hotel men Conrad Hilton and J.W. Drown. They kept the Rosslyn name until the hotel closed in 1959, however. The buildings reopened in 1979 as separate hotels, with the annex retaining the name Rosslyn; the 1914 building became The Frontier. It is now lofts residences.
6 thoughts on “The Rosslyn Hotel”
Thank you for posting this interesting piece about the Rosslyn Hotels, which included some surprising information which I had never heard. My Grandfather was Dwight H. Hart, He passed away 15 years before I was born so I never had the privilege of first hand information about the Rosslyns. The hotels were closed and abandoned when I was a baby, so my mother (who was born in the penthouse in 1916) never really talked much about them. I suppose it was hard for her to think about how badly they had declined. But what no one in my family ever mentioned to me was that Conrad HIlton purchased the Rosslyn not long after my grandfather died. If not for your article, I may never have know this important fact.
Very interesting Lohriena, thank you. We’re in debt to the Harts for taking great-grandpa in as a teenager and teaching him the electrical trade. Out of loyalty for that he worked for the Rosslyn for the rest of their lives.
I thought you might be interested to learn that 8 days after my last post, my companion of 18 years and I were married on the rooftop of the Rosslyn Annex. We tried to have the brief ceremony held on the roof of the main hotel, but there was simply too much “red tape”. After the ceremony we were given a short tour of the hotel, and had a look around the Monterey Room (now referred to as a “speakeasy”, and the sealed off entrance to the marble tunnel. It was a very exciting day indeed!
How exciting- congratulations! At least from the Annex roof, you get the great view of the sign on the main hotel.
Yes! As well as a view of the Hart suite where my mother was born. I have a couple boxes of old papers concerning the Rosslyns. When I have the time to look through them, I will let you know if there is any mention of your great-grandfather or any other details that might prove of interest. There are also a couple of scrap books that I have not looked at in years, but I do remember a few of the menus produced in the early 1920s for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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