Get updates on what’s happening at the Chicago History Museum from exhibitions and programs to special events and more. The Hilton website states the hotel opened November 1873 and Chicago History Museum has 1875 date.] Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved Hilton. With 225 rooms, its furnishings alone cost $100,000, or half the construction cost. Hotel History: Palmer House, Chicago, Illinois* The original Palmer House was built in 1871 by Potter Palmer who began his career as a bank clerk in upstate New York. The history of Palmer House ®, A Hilton Hotel begins as a true love story.. In recent years the historic Chicago hotel, Palmer House has undergone a $170 million renovation to ensure that it includes all of the conveniences and comforts our 21st century guests expect while also preserving our significant history. The Palmer house is located within close proximity to many of the Gold Coast's esteemed establishments, such as the Art Institute, Grant Park, Millennium Park, and Navy Pier. An introduction by Potter’s former business partner, Marshall Field, sparked a romance—and eventual engagement—between Potter and Bertha that led to perhaps one of the most extravagant wedding gifts of all time – Palmer House. The Palmer House Hilton Hotel is a historical landmark in downtown Chicago that is in a great location for getting around the city. A stereograph of the Palmer House ruins after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The crown jewel in the holdings of department store mogul turned real-estate developer Potter Palmer, it was a wedding present to his wife, Bertha. Yet despite its well-documented and storied history, the hotel managed to … CHM, ICHi-002930. In 1933, Palmer House converted its Empire Dining Room into an entertainment venue and supper club. The original Palmer House was built in 1871 by Potter Palmer who began his career as a bank clerk in upstate New York. View of the Great Hall Lobby from the Empire Room at the Palmer House, Chicago, 1925. A recent tour of Palmer House Hilton, the oldest hotel in Chicago, delivered on all three. The Empire Room at the Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, c. June 4–8, 1936. The Second Palmer House (1873–1923) Palmer quickly rebuilt on the same site, employing calcium lights so workers could press on through the night. Hotel History: Palmer House, Chicago, Illinois* The original Palmer House was built in 1871 by Potter Palmer who began his career as a bank clerk in upstate New York. He later became a dry-goods store owner in Chicago … The second-largest Chicago hotel, the Palmer House at 17 E. Monroe St. depends on conventions and business travel that have largely dried up during the struggle to contain COVID-19. An additional Palmer House was under construction nearby, but both structures were destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire on October 8, 1871. Bertha Honoré Palmer, 23 years Potter’s junior, was a wealthy socialite who also had a drive to learn and succeed. Palmer House Hotel faces a $338 million foreclosure suit, Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. CHM, ICHi-069672. Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America®, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest historic hotels across America. Required fields are marked *. The Palmers’ own house, the largest ever built in Chicago, was designed by Cobb & Frost, and although originally budgeted at “just” $90,000, cost more than a million dollars by the time it was finished three years after construction began. Thanks to QuestionPro for providing us free survey templates for running multiple types of surveys. A timeless Chicago hotel, Palmer House offers historic charm with hip conveniences, comprehensive amenities, award-winning dining and gracious service. The Palmer House was always the most theatrical hotel in town; it had every pretentious roof-top bar in Chicago beaten stone cold. The ladies’ entrance to the Palmer House hotel, which can be seen in the lower left corner of the albumen print, Chicago, September 19, 1903. The hotel was filled with Italian marble and rare mosaics and was so ornate that it was alternately mocked and praised. Lucius Beebe, gourmand, author and journalist, included references to The Pump Room in some of his books and articles.Arturo Petterino (1920–2010) was its maitre d' for many years, steering celebrity patrons to the coveted Booth One. 1. Designed by the firm Holabird & Roche and built during 1923–25, its twenty-five stories housed 2,268 rooms and for a very short time held the record as the world’s largest hotel. The Palmer House was bedecked with garnet-draped chandeliers, Louis Comfort Tiffany masterpieces, and a breathtaking ceiling fresco by French painter Louis Pierre Rigal. Known for his significant role in the development of Chicago's celebrated State Street, prominent businessman Potter Palmer was introduced to socialite and philanthropist Bertha Honore by former partner Marshall Field. Dean Lane, General Manager of Chicago’s historic Palmer House made history himself by being the first to fly the HILTON flag at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. The story of downtown Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton is one of romance and undeniable charm. Throughout its three incarnations, the Palmer House Hotel was the pinnacle of grandeur and luxury in Chicago and was for More Courtesy of Flickr/Counselman Collection The most legendary hotel in Chicago history has closed its doors. Now in its fourth incarnation, the Palmer House hotel was long the pinnacle of grandeur and luxury in Chicago and was for decades the hotel of choice for visiting presidents, dignitaries, and businesspeople. Mr. palmer goes directly to Paris, where he will meet his wife … All Rights Reserved. In 1933, the Empire Dining Room of Palmer House was converted into an entertainment epicenter and supper club. This ornate headboard (1873) on the right was part of a bridal suite in the second Palmer House. Made of ebonized and gilded black walnut in a Renaissance style, the headboard was surmounted by a French-style canopy. It was made by W. W. Strong Furniture Co., Chicago’s premier furniture dealer and manufacturer of the 1870s. Learn more about our history and stay with us at “the Chicago Hotel the world knows best”. While its hotel rooms are standard upscale fare, the Palmer House’s palatial lobby, conceived as a European drawing room, remains one of the most magnificent in the world. Chicago Tribune has an excellent piece about the rich history of the hotel: Little more than a year after its grand opening, the original Palmer House was consumed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Shortly after befriending Claude Monet in France, Bertha Palmer began decorating the Palmer House with paintings and other pieces inspired by her French heritage. Before air travel was common, Chicago was a popular stopping point for celebrities traveling by train between New York and Los Angeles, and the Palmer House saw its share of big-name entertainers, including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Louis Armstrong, and Liberace. It's first-floor lobby area is quite interesting with many shops, and the mezzanine guests registration area includes a welcoming social area. Stay at Chicago's Palmer House® Hilton hotel for hip and historic hotel accommodations in downtown Chicago. Hotel History: Palmer House®, A Hilton Hotel (1871), Chicago, Illinois* By Stanley Turkel, CMHS. The Third Palmer House (1925–present) The economic boom and population growth of the 1920s and Chicago’s increasing attractiveness as a convention city led to a perceived shortfall in hotel rooms. Nearly as iconic an American dessert as the chocolate-chip cookie, the brownie was created in 1893 at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago’s Loop. Holabird & Roche were the architects who designed the hotel in 1925-27, which, according to the plaque, was the world’s largest hotel at the time. As with many luxury hotels, the Palmer House boasted a grand lobby, monumental staircases, bridal suites, dining rooms, ballrooms, a bar, and a barbershop. But that didn’t deter Potter. HB-03386-C, CHM, Hedrich-Blessing Collection. Palmer House 1871 (left), Palmer House 1875 (center) and Palmer House 1925 (right) seen in the mural of Potter’s restaurant at Palmer House. DN-A-4938, Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection, CHM. Disaster-Proofing in the Gilded Age. In recent years the historic Chicago hotel, Palmer House has undergone a $170 million renovation to ensure that it includes all of the conveniences and comforts our 21st century guests expect while also preserving our significant history. An engraving entitled “Working at Night on Palmer’s Grand Hotel, by Calcium Light,” 1871. Yet, like the mythological phoenix, the Palmer House rose from its ashes. Like many Chicago buildings in the late nineteenth century, the Palmer House claimed to be fireproof. Clearly “the Chicago hotel the world knows best” has positioned itself for the next era in downtown Chicago accommodations–and the next generation of Palmer House Hilton with a hip and historic outlook. (Chicago History Museum) Palmer was again away from the city when the Chicago … The Palmer House Hotel was long the pinnacle of grandeur and luxury in Chicago and was for decades the hotel of choice for visiting presidents, dignitaries, and businesspeople. Potter Palmer was a Chicago business magnate—well-known for a variety of endeavors, including his significant role in the development of downtown Chicago’s iconic State Street. CHM, ICHi-069676; J. W. Taylor, photographer. The Palmer House has a rich and complex stake in Chicago's history. On September 26, 1870, the Palmer House Hotel opened for business. History. Today the Palmer House is the oldest U.S. hotel in continual operation—it celebrated its 140th anniversary in September—having remained open throughout all of its rebuilding and restoration projects. Bet you didn't know the Palmer House Hilton hotel has an awesome museum of Chicago history. Palmer House A Hilton Hotel: History and Splendor in Chicago - See 11,071 traveler reviews, 3,837 candid photos, and great deals for Palmer House A Hilton Hotel at Tripadvisor. Your email address will not be published. Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved Hilton, Copyright © 2015 All rights reserved Hilton Worldwide. History is Hott Lunch & Tour: Palmer House History is Hott Tour - See 23 traveler reviews, 25 candid photos, and great deals for Chicago, IL, at Tripadvisor. CHM, ICHi-038783, An undated postcard of the third Palmer House Hotel, Chicago. The original structure, built by Potter Palmer as a wedding present for his bride, was 13 days old when it burned to the ground in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. We have a soft spot for history tours, especially when they start and end at gilded 19th-century hotels. Lane unfurled the flag stowed in his back pack after a grueling seven-day ordeal in sub zero weather ascending to the pinnacle of the 19,300 ft mountain --- a total of 57 vertical miles. As the Palmer House faces an uncertain future, we take a look at its history. Potter Palmer was an important Chicago businessman (click the Wikipedia link if you want to go off on an historical tangent.) It was like stepping back into the past. We stopped by the hotel during our quick trip to Chicago in 2017 and had a drink at the lobby bar. It was a grand Chicago Hotel—one destined to take its place among the most luxurious hotels in Chicago and beyond. In light of the recent news that the Palmer House Hotel faces a $338 million foreclosure suit, CHM staff members take a look back at its three iterations. If, that is, you wanted to impress someone of discerning taste. CHM, ICHi-080559; Raymond W. Trowbridge, photographer, An eager crowd at the Palmer House Bar waits to be served upon the repeal of Prohibition, Chicago, 1934. Book on Hilton.com and save. CHICAGO – I travel for stories that local people, buildings, and food have to share. Chicago's Palmer House Hilton is in foreclosure, ... A lithograph of the Palmer House Hotel, circa 1873. The crown jewel in the holdings of department store mogul turned real-estate developer Potter Palmer, the first Palmer House, with 225 rooms, opened in September 1870. By the turn of the century, the Palmer House had become Chicago’s liveliest social center, hosting a long list of prominent figures—including those ranging from U.S. presidents to Charles Dickens to Oscar Wilde. An albumen print of the second Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, c. 1885. © 2020 Chicago History Museum. You can find it on display in Chicago: Crossroads of America. Our Hotel. It hosted legendary entertainers, including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Louis Armstrong, and Liberace. Your email address will not be published. The resulting seven-story, $13 million hotel designed by architect John M. Van Osdel opened on November 8, 1873, marking the start of what became known as the nation’s longest continually operating hotel. The restaurant served a number of celebrities who were regular customers and has been written about in books and articles. The fresco was described by columnist George Will as “a wonderful protest of romance against the everydayness of life.”. It aids in strengthening our nonprofit family. Thirteen days after opening its doors, The Palmer House went up in flames with hundreds of other buildings in The Great Chicago Fire of 1871. On November 8, 1873, the new Palmer House welcomed its first guests, marking the opening of what would become the nation’s longest continually operating hotel. Mr. Potter Palmer leaves today for New York, whence he sails in the steamer Servia for Europe on Wednesday. Three Palmer House hotels have been located at the corner of State and Monroe streets in Chicago. DN-0001231, Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection, CHM. The Palmer House Hilton. The Palmer House not only served transient visitors but also appealed to wealthy permanent residents who found in the palace hotel a convenient way to set up trouble-free, elegant households. The crown jewel in the holdings of department store mogul turned real-estate developer Potter Palmer , it was a wedding present to his wife, Bertha. The current Palmer House hotel under construction, 17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, c. 1925. Determined to rebuild his hotel, Potter secured a $1.7 million loan–negotiated on his signature alone. While Hilton still operates the Palmer House under a management contract, it has no ownership in the actual building after selling it to Thor Equities in 2005 for $230 million. The Palmer House Hotel was long the pinnacle of grandeur and luxury in Chicago and was for decades the hotel of choice for visiting presidents, dignitaries, and businesspeople. Celebrating nearly 150 years, Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, as well as a Chicago landmark designated by the Chicago Landmarks Commission. HB-05894-M, CHM, Hedrich-Blessing Collection. Oozing Chicago history: Palmer House A Hilton Hotel - See 11,071 traveller reviews, 3,837 photos, and cheap deals for Palmer House A Hilton Hotel at Tripadvisor. CHM, ICHi-026749; P. B. Greene, photographer. And there’s a lot more history … It is run by Ken Price, the director of public relations at the historic hotel. Thus, the Palmer Estate decided to raze the Palmer House for a new $20 million rendition on the same site. Eclipsed in the 1980s by posh hotels on North Michigan Avenue closer to fine shopping, the Palmer House—a part of the Hilton Hotel chain since 1945—continued to attract guests because of its proximity to the Loop business district, the Art Institute of Chicago, and downtown theaters. However, only 13 days after its grand opening, the Palmer House fell victim to the Great Chicago Fire. My Latest Book: "Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt and Oscar of the Waldorf" By Stanley Turkel, CMHS 1. [Notes: Wikipedia states Palmer House was a 25-story building. The First Palmer House (1870) On September 26, 1870, the first Palmer House opened for business at State and Monroe Streets. She eventually accumulated the largest collection of impressionist art outside of France. The hotel today has 23 guest floors. 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