City Engineer's Office
The Wessex Hotel is a classic and iconic Victorian-style landmark located in Los Angeles, California. It's exterior was built in Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco, and other revival styles, while it's interior possess both Mediterranean Revival and classic Victorian style architecture.
While grandiose and spectacular in both design and merit, the hotel gives the quaint feeling of a small and tidy structure that is big but at the same time not so big that it can't be properly managed and maintained. The inside is a different story. The hotel opens up into an extremely ornate and well furnished structure full of architectural subtleties. Attention and an eye for detail, fresh and colorful flowers, delightful delacacies and a friendly, smiling staff make the Wessex Hotel the place for get-togethers, gatherings, receptions and galas. To a weary traveler, the Wessex is definitely a welcome site.
Los Angeles, California is growing into and becoming a commercial shipping capital. It's Main Street is it's focal point and the need for a large and elaborate hotel are deemed to be a necessity. A design and plan are created and funding is acquired. Permits are acquired and the building is staked off, ready to build. Building begins and the hotel is given the name "The Wessex Hotel". Copies of the blueprints are stored in the City Agencies Building and can be viewed through permission granted by the City Engineer's Office.
The building of the Wessex Hotel is completed. It is the tallest structure in Los Angeles, and it looms over the surrounding landscaping. It can be seen for miles and is an impressive feat of manpower and architectural engineering. It welcomes many patrons and features more fine amenities than any other hotel in the city. Weary travelers and those who made it rich off of the gold rush in 1849, begin frequenting the hotel. It becomes the city's first 5-star hotel and patrons come from far and wide in order to experience the lush and luxurious pampering and comforts the new hotel has to offer.
A gentleman with the name of Avery Block walks calmly into the Wessex Hotel, proceeds to the 13th floor, takes a fire axe off of the wall, and begins swinging at everybody in sight. Sixteen (16) people were slaughtered before the police finally arrived to assess the carnage. There is a write-up about the event in the town's local newspaper, The Daily Tribune. Block escaped before having a chance to be arrested by police. Investigating Detective Sargeant Daniel E. Bergin searches for Avery Block for the last 43 years of his life, to no avail. The article, in addition to word of mouth from clientelle in the surrounding area, cause a rapid decline in the number of patrons who frequent the hotel.
The hotel undergoes a massive rennovation. Gaslights are replaced with electric lighting and ceiling lights are also added giving the hotel a cheery, brighter feel. Wall colors were changed, decorum is altered and the 13th floor is completely sealed off. A decorative frieze is constructed on the outside of the hotel and it wraps around the entire 13th floor, concealing all windows and any external trace of it's existance. The elevators are programmed to completely skip over this floor and all stairway access (with the exception of one, hidden set of service stairs) is removed. The massive rennovation is part of a continuing effort on the part of the hotel to revamp its look in the eyes of the general populace. Over time, Avery Block will be forgotten to history and more and more patrons begin frequenting the hotel again. It's appeal becomes stronger over time, and eventually it once again becomes the hopitality administration capital of Los Angeles.
The Wessex Hotel comes to the attention of the world famous travel magazine "Traveler's Review". They enlist the penmanship of one of their finest writers - a dashing young writer with an extremely inquizative personality - a miss Elaine Kalisher. Elaine visits the Wessex Hotel in order to write a travel article stressing the goodness of the hotel in all it's glory. She is met with something entirely different.
The frieze surrounding the 13th floor of the Wessex Hotel, in addition to all of the windows and most of the doors on this floor, are completely destroyed when gas leaking from a broken gaslight mixed with the flames roaring in a fireplace produced a deadly and catastrophic explosion. One man is killed in the explosion, while two still remain missing. It is likely that the missing men also, perished in the fire. Interior damage is bad, but not as bad as it could have been, thanks to concrete block walls, and fireproof asbestos plaster standard of the time. External damage and damage to essential load-bearing columns isn't severe enough to compromise structural integrity to the three floors higher than the 13th. Upon police investigation, and approval from the City Engineer's Office, the floor will be completely stripped, rebuilt and remodeled, and more than likely, sealed off from the public once more, hopefully for good this time. The Wessex will be closed during rennovation and when complete, will open pending approval from the City Engineer's Office. It is entirely likely, however, that after the explosion, and after a total of 34 confirmed and 2 possible deaths within the hotel, that the hotel may be closed down and demolished, after a full 92 years worth of providing service to the public.