Located at the corner of Boyle Avenue and East First Street in Boyle Heights, the Boyle Hotel, also known as the Cummings Block, is one of the oldest remaining commercial structures in Los Angeles and is significant for its many layers of history.
Designed by architect W. R. Norton in 1889 for community leaders George Cummings and his wife Maria del Sacramento Lopez, this Victorian-era hotel became a social and political center for the community and encouraged the residential and commercial development of Boyle Heights.
The building came to represent Los Angeles' turn-of-the-century transition from a small city surrounded by agriculture to a bustling metropolitan area surrounded by residential neighborhoods.
Cummings, one of the primary boosters of Boyle Heights, was instrumental in developing the infrastructure that would connect the neighborhood to Downtown. In 1869, he married Maria Lopez, the daughter of one of the area's most prominent landowners, Francisco Lopez.
The Queen Anne building features decorative patterned brickwork, cast iron storefront columns, and a corner turret with an open belvedere. Not coincidentally, the hotel was completed the same year that service began on an adjacent streetcar, which ran from the downtown commercial core to First Street in Boyle Heights. The opening of the streetcar further bolstered the neighborhood's suburban development.
Later in the twentieth century, the Boyle Hotel became associated with the many mariachi musicians who rented rooms in the hotel and gathered in the adjacent plaza to await customers, earning it the nickname "Mariachi Hotel." Although the condition of the building deteriorated through the years and some of the decorative elements were removed, the Boyle Hotel underwent a full-scale rehabilitation that renovated the interior for use as apartments and restored missing architectural elements, such as the upper portion of the corner turret. In 2012, the building reopened with 51 units of affordable housing, as well as three ground floor commercial spaces.
The Boyle Hotel was declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #891 in 2007. The Conservancy recognized the rehabilitation project with a Preservation Award in 2013 as a model example for creating affordable housing in an historic building.