Go West, Young Man... And Women
The 2015 INTA Annual Meeting was held May 1st through May 6th in San Diego, California. Over 9,000 people from more than 145 countries were in attendance this year. The INTA Annual Meeting gave Head, Johnson & Kachigian, P.C. an opportunity to spend some social time with our international associates and business partners.
The meeting was held at the very large San Diego Convention Center, which is directly behind the water feature in the second photo.
This year we held the reception at the Horton Grand Hotel in the Gaslamp District of San Diego.
A little background on the Gaslamp District and the Horton Grand in San Diego might help set the scene of just what a special area we were in. We will start with the Gaslamp District and its questionable reputation back in the day.
According to GaslampDistrict.org/history, in the 1850’s, San Franciscan Williams Heath Davis made an effort to establish a town on San Diego’s waterfront, and began developing land. Davis built a house for his family and it is now the oldest surviving structure in the district, but eventually his venture failed. In 1867, Alonzo Horton, who is considered the father of downtown San Diego and who also came from San Francisco, purchased several acres of land on the waterfront and built a wharf, where the convention center sits today. Businesses and people showed up and the area began to thrive.
This surge of growth also attracted less desirable characters. These included prostitutes, thieves, and gamblers. This area became known as the Stingaree because it was said that you were more likely to get “stung” there than by a stingray in the Pacific. One of the people that came to San Diego during that time was Wyatt Earp, who would go on to run three gambling halls in the area. Joining Earp as new to the area was Ida Bailey, who became known as an infamous red-haired, flamboyant Madame of a pale-yellow cottage, dubbed the Canary Cottage.
According to an article on The Horton Grand blog:
Prostitutes at this time were plentiful, but Ida Bailey and her ladies were the aristocracy of the Stingaree. These women dressed as if they were going to an opera every evening. They spoke with sophistication and class, and had parlor conversations with their “gentlemen callers.”
The “fat cats” as they were called, the wealthy, well-known business men of San Diego at that time, were Ida Bailey’s most frequent customers. Being frequented by wealthy and powerful men is what enabled the success and continuation of the Canary Cottage for so long.
Another factor in Ida Bailey’s success was her knack for marketing at the time. She would hire a carriage every Sunday, and take her girls for a drive through residential San Diego. This drive horrified and enraged the decent housewives, but the men thought it was quite entertaining. Some even claim Ida Bailey was the forerunner of outdoor advertising in San Diego.
Raids happened frequently in the Gaslamp, but Ida Bailey was always tipped off in advance. Both the Mayor and the Chief of Police were frequent customers of the Canary Cottage, so it’s no wonder Ida Bailey made it through unscathed most of the time.
Prostitution and gambling flourished in the district until San Diego disclosed that it would host the Panama-California Exposition in 1915. Public officials and business leaders urged police to clean up the Stingaree. In November 1912, officers raided numerous brothels, arresting 138 women who, within days, boarded trains heading out of the city. Over the next few years, there were attempts to clean up the area, most of which failed. In the mid-1970s, downtown property owners and city leaders rallied together to rehabilitate the Gaslamp Quarter this time by endorsing and preserving the district’s historical character. In 1985, the shopping center Horton Plaza marked the revitalization of San Diego’s downtown. Residents soon returned downtown to discover new potential—and with the completion of the city’s waterfront convention center, the modern Gaslamp Quarter was born. Today you will find amazing restaurants, shopping, and amazing hotels, including The Horton Grand Hotel.
The Horton Grand Hotel is unique in the fact that its two historic hotels restored in to one. Originally built in 1887, the Grand Horton was a luxury hotel, built as a result of the city’s first transcontinental railroad connection.
It was designed by a German immigrant who modeled it after the Innsbruck Inn in Vienna, Austria.
The second hotel, the Brooklyn-Kahle Saddlery, was a prominent saddle and harness shop. It was built around the same time as the Grand Horton. It was originally known as the Brooklyn Hotel, but later changed its name for the harness shop on the building’s first floor. Wyatt Earp was a permanent resident at the Brooklyn Hotel during his seven year stay in San Diego. Both hotels were originally located in “respectful” areas and not in the Stingaree District.