Casa de Bandini
Now the Cosmopolitan Hotel, the Casa de Bandini is one of the oldest buildings of San DIego, built in 1829. This single story, adobe home with a thatched roof was home to Juan Bandini and his family. Bandini was an immigrant-Californio, born in Peru, who was an early settler of what would become San Diego. He moved to Spanish-held California in 1819 with his father. Bandini would ally with the United States during the Mexican War. He also owned land in San Bernardino and Riverside counties in California. Before moving to Mexico in the early 1850s and then back to Los Angeles, Bandini was a local politician in San Diego, as well as a store owner, restauranteur, and hotel owner.
Backstory and Context
Bandini served various public offices such as member of the assembly, 'sub-comisario' of revenues, and substitute congressman. Bandini was granted and occupied Rancho Tecate in 1836. However he was soon driven to abandon it by raids to plunder the ranchos around San Diego by bands fugitive neophytes, rancho employee's, and natives from the interior in 1836-1837. This is now the town of Tecate. In 1838, the Mexican government granted him Rancho Jurupa in modern day San Bernardino County and Riverside County.
Bandini was dressed elegantly and always gracious, and cut a refined presence wherever he went. He was known as a charming public speaker, fluent writer, excellent dancer, fair musician, and fine horseman. His home was the social center of San Diego. His lifestyle and hospitality often got him into trouble financially, requiring his children to bail him out in later years. During March 29–September 27, 1848 he was Juez de Paz (Justice of the Peace) of San Diego Pueblo. In 1850 he opened a store in San Diego and built the Gilla House hotel. Soon after he moved to Mexico then in 1855 to Los Angeles where he died in 1859.
"The Bandini Family", The Journal of San Diego History 15:1 (Winter 1969)
"Pioneer Spanish Families of California", The Journal of San Diego History 11:3 (June 1965). Reprinted from The Century Magazine XLI n.s. XIX (January 1891), by Charles Howard Shinn.
Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Bandini, Juan". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of the Pacific States of North America (Volume 15),CALIFORNIA, VOL. III. 1825-1840, A. L. BANCROFT & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS, 1885, p. 614.
Jurupa grant (Riverside and San Bernardino counties, Calif.): Juan Bandini, claimant : case no. 213, Southern District, 1838-1879. from cdlib.org.
The Casa and The Don: Juan Bandini’s Quest for Homeland in Early San Diego