October 27, 2009

A Note on Uptown Chicago Hotels

From "Chicago Welcomes You" by Alfred Hoyt Granger, 1933:

Farther up on the north side, along Sheridan Road and its tributaries, are many hotels which will appeal to people wishing to get away from the turmoil of the city.

Among these the most amusing is the Edgewater Beach Hotel, at 5349 Sheridan Road. This building, unique and original in plan, is almost a small city within itself, and, besides the ordinary attractions of a first-class hotel, it offers to its patrons varied forms of entertainment. In the summer of 1930 a granddaughter of the Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria spent a few weeks in America visiting New York, Washington, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Chicago, and on her return to Vienna told her friends that she considered the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago the most fascinating place she had visited on her tour. This great lady, for she is just that, returned to her country disappointed in only one particular and that was that none of the people whom she met could introduce her to Al Capone.

The Sovereign Hotel, at 6200 Kenmore Avenue; the Sheldrake, at 4518 Clarendon; the Admiral, at 909 Foster Avenue overlooking the grounds of the Saddle and Cycle Club; the Belmont, at 3156 Sheridan, with its beautiful view of the Yacht Harbor and Gutzon Borglum's statue of General Sheridan; the Belden-Stratford, 2300 Lincoln Park W.; the Webster, 2150 Lincoln Park W., and the Parkway, 2100 Lincoln Park W., are a few among many delightfully located hostelries on the north side, where any visitor can be sure of pleasant surroundings during his or her stay in Chicago...

October 25, 2009

A Description of the Wilson Avenue District of Uptown Chicago, 1923

Excerpt from "Home Girl" by Edna Ferber, in Gigolo, 1923.

WILSON AVENUE, Chicago, is not merely an avenue but a district; not only a district but a state of mind; not a state of mind alone but a condition of morals. For that matter, it is none of these things so much as a mode of existence. If you know your Chicago—which you probably don't—(sotto voce murmur, Heaven forbid !)—you are aware that, long ago, Wilson Avenue proper crept slyly around the corner and achieved a clandestine alliance with big glittering Sheridan Road; which escapade changed the demure thoroughfare into Wilson Avenue improper.

When one says "A Wilson Avenue girl," the mind —that is, the Chicago mind—pictures immediately a slim, daring, scented, exotic creature dressed in next week's fashions; wise-eyed; doll-faced; rapacious. When chiffon stockings are worn Wilson Avenue's hosiery is but a film over the flesh. Aigrettes and mink coats are its winter uniform. A feverish district this, all plate glass windows and delicatessen dinners and one-room-and-kitchenette apartments, where light housekeepers take their housekeeping too lightly.

At six o'clock you are likely to see Wilson Avenue scurrying about in its mink coat and its French heels and its crepe frock, assembling its haphazard dinner. Wilson Avenue food, as displayed in the ready-cooked shops, resembles in a startling degree the Wilson Avenue ladies themselves: highly coloured, artificial, chemically treated, tempting to the eye, but unnutritious. In and out of the food emporia these dart, buying dabs of this and bits of that. Chromatic viands. Vivid scarlet, orange, yellow, green. A strip of pimento here. A mound of mayonnaise there. A green pepper stuffed with such burden of deceit as no honest green pepper ever was meant to hold. Two eggs. A quarter-pound of your best creamery butter. An infinitesimal bottle of cream. "And what else?" says the plump woman in the white bib-apron, behind the counter. "And what else?" Nothing. I guess that'll be all. Mink coats prefer to dine out.

As a cripple displays his wounds and sores, proudly, so Wilson Avenue throws open its one-room front door with a grandiloquent gesture as it boasts, "Two hundred and fifty a month!" Shylock, purchasing a paper-thin slice of pinky ham in Wilson Avenue, would know his own early Venetian transaction to have been pure philanthropy.

It took Raymond and Cora Atwater twelve years to reach this Wilson Avenue, though they carried it with them all the way. They had begun their married life in this locality before it had become a definite district. Twelve years ago the neighbourhood had shown no signs of mushrooming into its present opulence. Twelve years ago Raymond, twentyeight, and Cora, twenty-four, had taken a six-room flat at Racine and Sunnyside. Six rooms. Modern. Light. Rental, $28.50 per month.

"But I guess I can manage it, all right," Raymond had said. "That isn't so terrible—for six rooms."


Gigolo is still in print.

Hotel Melbourne, 4625 N. Racine

From Santa Fe Magazine, 1922.

Located in the best residential section of Uptown Chicago, this carefully operated hotel of medium size provides every feature of comfort, convenience and service. Wilson Avenue Elevated, Broadway Surface Cars, Motor Busses. Good garage accommodations. Every room in the Melbourne is equipped with a private bath. Rates: One person, $3 to $3.50 per day. Two persons, $4 to $5 per day. Harry Winder, Proprieter; Avery G. Warren, Manager.

Kohler Bath Advertisement featuring Edgewater Beach Hotel

Click for a larger view -- Kohler was the manufacturer responsible for the fixtures at the Edgewater Beach Hotel. From "Good Housekeeping" magazine, 1917.

October 24, 2009

Lobby, Hotel Melbourne, 4625 Racine

Original caption: View of a man standing behind the registration desk in the lobby of the Hotel Melbourne, located at 4625 North Racine in the Uptown community area of Chicago, Illinois. Cite as: DN-0082085, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society.

For an exterior view, go to Hotel Melbourne.

October 22, 2009

Mr. Adam's Snack 'n Dine, 4570 Broadway at Wilson

Mr. Adams Snack'n Dine, 4570 North Broadway (at Wilson) in Uptown Chicago. The address puts it at the north corner of the McJunkin Building.


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