Built on the site of the U.S. Grant, Jr. home on Ash Street, the hotel depicted on this picture postcard was the tallest building (at 310 feet) in San Diego from its opening in 1927 until 1963. The El Cortéz was designed by the firm of Albert R. Walker (1981-1958) and Percy Eisen (1885-1946), the architects responsible for the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. In 1937 the hotel changed hands, and a large illuminated sign was placed at the top of the hotel reading, "El Cortez Hotel." Hotelier Harry Handlery purchased the hotel in 1951 and in 1954 added the Cafe Cortez on the left at the bottom of the building, the Pacifico Room on he right and the Starlight Room on the 12th floor (black wing-like structure). The "Starlight Express" glass hydraulic elevator, seen here with colored stars going up the front of the hotel, was installed in 1956. It went as far as the 15th floor Sky Room until it was removed during restoration to the hotel's 1927 appearance as a site listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This 15-story elevator may have been the tallest hydraulic elevator in the world (175 feet), and it was the second exterior glass elevator ever installed. Its designerwas architect C. J. Paderewski (1908-2007). Since the Travolator moving walkway built in 1959 (also designed by Paderewski) is not seen, the date of this photograph is between 1956 and 1959.