The Cecil Hotel was built by Robert H. Schops, William Banks Hanner, and Charles L. Dix in 1924 with 700 rooms, and started with a marble lobby, stained glass windows, and palm trees as features.
However, after the Great Depression, the area around the hotel became known as “Skid Row” because of the vast number of homeless people living there only five years after it opened. Later, the hotel gained its reputation as the meeting place of sex workers and criminals.
There were numerous mysterious and eerie events happening in the less than century-old building. This resulted in it becoming an inspiration for several episodes of “American Horror Stories” and an upcoming Netflix Documentary regarding a Canadian student, Elisa Lam, who died on the rooftop of the hotel after suddenly disappearing that went viral in 2013.
The first episode of Netflix’s docuseries of Lam’s case will mainly focus on investigating the location where the incident took place, Cecil Hotel. However, many did not know that the hotel became a shelter for the notorious “Night Stalker,” Richard Ramirez.
Chris Nichols, the associate editor at Los Angeles Magazine, said that Ramirez stayed at the hotel for several weeks during the height of his killing spree. In the 1980s, the room rate at the hotel was as low as $14 a night.
Ramirez was known to have stayed on the top floor of the hotel. In reports, the suspect would be seen walking in the lobby of the hotel, either in his underwear or naked, as he would throw his clothing full of bloodstains in the dumpster of the hotel.
The Night Stalker was on a killing spree between 1984 and 1985 in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, where he would rape his victims and brutally murder them. At least 14 victims died by his hands, while several other victims were psychologically and physically scarred.
Ramirez spent about 24 years on death row before he died of cancer at the age of 53 in 2013. “Big deal. Death always went with the territory. See you in Disneyland,” Ramirez said after a jury read his sentences for his crimes. Up until now, the Cecil Hotel remained open and is located in Downtown Los Angeles.
Mystery of Cecil Hotel
The hotel’s first known suicide happened in 1931 as W.K. Norton, a 46-year-old man from Manhattan, was found dead in his room after taking poison capsules. A week before the suicide, he checked in the hotel using the name “James Willys.”