Edgewater Beach Hotel

edgewater beach hotel
    edgewater beach hotel
  • The Edgewater Beach Hotel was a hotel in the far-north neighborhood community of Edgewater in Chicago, Illinois. Built in 1916 and owned by John Tobin Connery and James Patrick Connery, it was located between Sheridan Road and Lake Michigan at Berwyn Avenue.

Local Landmark
Local Landmark
The Edgewater Beach Hotel is a landmark of the Edgewater neighborhood in Chicago. During the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, the Edgewater Beach was Chicago's place to see and be seen. Countless weddings, proms, dances and other events drew neighborhood residents. On any given night, you could rub elbows with celebrities such as Bette Davis, Tallulah Bankhead, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Marilyn Monroe, and major sports figures including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, to name a few. All the big bands played there: Tommy Dorsey, Xavier Cugat, Wayne King and many others. Guests still recall the Beach Walk, the Marine Dining Room and its strictly formal dress code, the radio shows and television broadcasts. Singer Gloria Van, who performed with Wayne King's band, remembers: "I knew I had reached my goal when I worked the Edgewater. I felt like a big deal when I worked it. It was just gorgeous." The hotel was almost a city within itself -- it had its own radio station, print shop, chocolate factory and even a heliport. Newsreels show that it had a state-of-the-art film studio as well. There was even a distinctive green motor coach that shuttled guests each day to and from Marshall Field's downtown. And the hotel had a seaplane available for the illustrious and well-heeled who didn't want to take the bus! But by the 1950s, the Edgewater Beach, like many traditional establishments, found itself at odds with the times. The city's decision to extend Lake Shore Drive past the hotel north to Hollywood cut the Edgewater Beach off from its prized lakefront. Management, maintenance and financial problems mounted, and the original owners sold their interest in the late 1940s. Symbolically, the elegant Marine Dining Room was replaced by the Polynesian Room. (Employees who were trained in serving fine cuisine disdainfully referred to the new restaurant as "that chop suey joint.") With the advent of television and air conditioning, the hotel drew fewer and fewer guests, and in December 1967, the owners abruptly shut it down. Demolition took over a year. "It was a big part of the neighborhood," recalls resident Phyllis Nickels, "so we were awfully mad when they were going to take it down." A trace of elegance still remains at the Edgewater Beach Apartments, built in 1927 (shown above), the last of the original structures left on the property. And as you walk by, you can almost hear the big bands playing – just as they did in the glory days of the Edgewater Beach. (This photo was taken for the Local Landmarks topic of the Brownie Hawkeye Flash July/August Challenge.)
Multiview of Edgewater Beach at Flint Lake, circa 1907 - Valparaiso, Indiana
Multiview of Edgewater Beach at Flint Lake, circa 1907 - Valparaiso, Indiana
Edgewater, Flint Lake Valparaiso, Indiana Date: Pre-1907, undivided back Source Type: Postcard Publisher, Printer, Photographer: Reading Studio Postmark: None Collection: Steven R. Shook Remark: As early as 1876, Mary Clay owned nearly all the property abutting the entire north shore of Flint Lake. Clay sold her property in 1890 to Howard Dickover, who then constructed a resort hotel and named the property Edgewater Beach. The resort included swimming, boating, camping, as well as some summer rental cabins. By the second half of 1910, Edgewater Beach had its own railroad station, which provided for easy access to the electrified Valparaiso & Northern Railway interurban line. A grocery store, called the Green Lantern, was also located on the Edgewater Beach site.

edgewater beach hotel
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