Palmer House

From HistoryWiki

Palmer House Soundex Code P456

Wikipedia page about the Palmer House Hotel

Three Palmer House hotels have been located at the corner of State Street and Monroe Street in Chicago.

First Palmer House

The first (known as "The Palmer") was built as a wedding present from Potter Palmer, one of the owners of Potter Palmer and Company, to his bride Bertha Matilde Honoré. It opened on Tuesday, September 26, 1871, but burned down just 13 days later on Monday, October 9, 1871 in the Great Chicago Fire. At the time of the fire, many high-ranked Palmer Industries workers, including Potter Palmer, were living in the hotel as part of the opening celebrations. Fortunately for Palmer, he was warned of the fire and escaped unharmed. Palmer then immediately set to work rebuilding, and with a $1.7 million signature loan (believed to be the largest individual loan ever secured at that time), constructed one of the fanciest hotels worldwide in post-fire Chicago.

Second Palmer House

Designed by Architect John M. Van Osdel, the second Palmer House Hotel was seven stories. Its amenities included oversized rooms, luxurious decor, and sumptuous meals served in grand style. The floor of its barber shop was tiled and silver dollars were embedded in a diamond pattern. Constructed mainly of iron and brick, the hotel was widely advertised as, "The World's Only Fire Proof Hotel." Famous visitors included presidential hopefuls James A. Garfield, Grover Cleveland, Ulysses S. Grant, William Jennings Bryan, and William McKinley; writers Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, and Oscar Wilde; and actresses Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse. It was completed in 1875.

Third Palmer House

By the 1920s, the business in downtown Chicago could support a much larger facility, and the Palmer Estate decided to erect a new 25-story hotel. They hired Holabird & Roche to design the building. Between 1923 and 1925, the hotel was rebuilt on the same site site in the world.

In December 1945, Conrad Hilton bought the Palmer House for $20 million and it was thereafter known as The Palmer House Hilton. In 2005, it was sold to Thor Equities, but it remains part of the Hilton chain.

From 2007 to 2009, the hotel was completely renovated and restored by the architecture firm Loebl Schlossman & Hackl. The total cost was over $170 million. The hotel has a total of 1,639 guest rooms, making it the second-largest hotel in the city after the Hyatt Regency Chicago. It has recently had its name adjusted to Palmer House - A Hilton Hotel.