May 20, 2011

Apartment-Hotels, SRO's, and B&B's

Residential Hotel Living, to
 SRO's to Bed & Breakfast
1931 ad - The Chicagoan
Some Perspectives:
Apartment Hotel Reasons & Benefits
Residential hotels gave Chicago's 'residents of modest means' an access and social interaction with some of the wealthiest residents of the city Until 1930, people with comfortable incomes might move to Chicago and never live anywhere except in a hotel. A room or suite of rooms in a palatial hotel (for the rich) or a middle-priced hotel (for those of middle income) were luxurious, conveniently located, and cheaper than maintaining a private house in the city.
Where did the Residential Hotel Come from?
High profile high rise buildings in North Side (and lake shore) neighborhoods make up a big segment of Chicago’s most visible housing stock.  These days they tend to make headlines by being transformed from dingy and unsafe low-rent units into trendy micro apartments but where did these very small living spaces come from originally? Until the advent of the passenger elevator, nearly all multi-unit housing in the US was considered undesirable and low class. However, once residents no longer needed to hike up the stairs, the idea of living high above street level rapidly changed from a burden to a feature.  
1924 advertisement - unknown source
The new luxury apartment buildings constructed after 1880 allowed for all of the traditional trappings of wealth (people to answer the door, make deliveries, clean and prepare meals) to be efficiently combined the newest technology (electricity, central heat and cooling, telephones) that was difficult to install in existing grand homes.  Sharing the services of doorman, cooking and cleaning staff, even made the expected luxury service more economical, especially for owners of residences in multiple cities or countries who often left a household closed for much of the year. The new residential apartment buildings allowed people to live in the maximum amount of luxury they could afford – varying in size and scope. Some of the new residential high rises contained the full range of rooms found in an individual home. 
In the 1920’s new residential towers were constructed which matched the ornate exterior of their predecessors and kept up appearances with a well-staffed ground floor with ornate lobby and amenities, but had much smaller apartments above. Mid-priced residential hotels were ideal havens for young single workers of both genders who either lived in cities far from their families or simply wished for residential independence. Per Paul Groth’s Living Downtown, “the working women in the better hotels were predominantly teachers, buyers in department stores, executives in other businesses, writers, librarians, private secretaries, social workers, or women politicians.” Living in a hotel freed them from the duties of maintaining their own household. 
The Politics of Place: A History of Zoning 
in Chicago
The 'Intensive' 
Apartment Hotel
below are some excerpts
rendering - Art Institute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
 All About the Utilization of Space
The Murphy Bed 
A standard feature in apartment hotels that peaked in the 1920’s. The bed is named for William Lawrence Murphy (1876–1959), who applied for his first patents around 1900. According to legend, he was wooing an opera singer, but living in a one-room apartment in San Francisco, and the moral code of the time frowned upon a woman entering a man’s bedroom. Murphy’s invention converted his bedroom into a parlor, enabling him to entertain in one living space!’ Read more from link above. - Hotel World 1922

Finding the Right Apartment 
in 1927
Featured in this ad
Was the Largest Concentration 
of Luxury Apartment Hotels 
within District of
Lake View
The largest concentration of apartment hotels 
appears to be on Surf Street, Pine Grove Avenue.
Diversey Parkway, and Broadway
The Lessing 
Apartments & Annex
and across the street
located on both sides of Surf Street/Broadway
a 1910 listing from Chicago Blue Book
1910 photo - Chuckman Collection
Lessing Apt to the left & Lessing Annex to the right
and below The Lessing Annex along Evanston Avenue (Broadway)
1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
The Lessing/Commodore was built in 1901 while the Lessing Annex/Greenbriar was built in 1902
*new names per map*
2018 Google Earth view
view is east/south along Broadway
In Brief

The Lessing Apartments was marketed to an upscale clientele and had 86 apartments, some of them with as many as eight rooms. Architect Edmund R. Krause broke the huge six story complex into a series of projecting units with deep, but narrow, courts between them to provide light and ventilation.  The roman brick fa├žade is organized into the classic three-part design of the Chicago School and is minimally decorated although there is a nifty oculus [eye-like design] centered at the top of each projecting bay. - Windy City

Postcard of the Lessing Annex/Green Brier 
along with a postcard view of the 
Annex/Commodore below
both postcards - Ebay
2016 photos - Garry Albrecht
 view of the Green Brier Apartments 
and below with the view of the 
former Surf Ridge Apartments to the left of the photo

Both Buildings
Sold in 1916
known at that time 
to be the largest luxury apartment buildings in the city
Sold again and 
with smaller apartments in mind
in 1942
And by 1944
Same Owner New Purpose
Luxury Living 
for over $1.2k per Month
in 1986
The Surf 
Apartment Hotel
currently called
(enlarge with link)
 a 1918 advertisement below
postcard below - Chicago Ancestors 

 matchbooks - Ebay
1934 ad below - Chicagoan Magazine
This 1923 Sanborn Fire Map highlights 
both the Surf Apartment Hotel
Pine Grove Apartment Hotel

The Pine Grove 
Apartment Hotel
2828 N Pine Grove Avenue
currently called
2828 N Pine Grove
rehabbed in 2011
2009 view - Google Maps
2018 photo - Jackie Jones via Pictures of Chicago-Facebook
below photo - Chris Cullen
Respectful of its Nieghbors
in 1923
The Surfridge Apartments
currently the 
Some Excitement
in 1929
photo below - Surf Hotel
Hotel Apartments
currently called
 from a 1922 advertisement
and then across the street 
The Surf Shore 
currently called
426 W Surf
a 2018 Google view below
Wellington Arms Hotel
currently called

The Cambridge
 Apartment Hotel
postcard - Calumet 412
1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
zoomed below
The Brewster 
originally called
The Lincoln Palace
photo - Wikipedia
'The rough-hewn Brewster Apartment Building dominates the area around Pine Grove and Diversey where I often shop.  An early residential hi-rise built in the Romanesque style, it was touted at the time of its 1893 completion as “the world’s most perfect apartment house.”' - Celia: Her City
postcard - Chuckman Collection
view north on Pine Grove Avenue
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
zoomed below
zoomed below
with a 'house on roof'
The construction of the Lincoln Plaza 
was delayed for years due to a death
A Charles R Childs Postcard - Ebay
view north on Pine Grove Avenue

a penthouse restaurant 1946 view - Chuckman Collection
photo - Chicago Bar Project
Apartments to Condo's
in 1979
photo - Connecting the Windy City
The Romanesque-Revival building was landmarked in 1982 and has maintained its original architectural integrity. The preserved interior features a manually-operated cage elevator and suspended glass-block walkways in a glass-roofed central atrium. 
Open House Chicago
A 1979 Chicago Tribune advertisement
photo - Yo Chicago
photo - RentCafe
photo Celia: Her City
photo below - Joanne Nemerovisk
Interior Views
 both 2017 photos by Scott Cummings
photos - Open Chicago 
 photo - Celia: Her City
2018 photo - gregrobertssktepmt via Instagram  
2018 photo - Chris Cullen Photography

both photos - Celia: Her City
When the Water Tower
fell to the parking lot
in 2013
ABC Witness News video
photo - ABC 7 Chicago
photo - Architecture Chicago Plus Blog 
 photos - CBS Chicago local
 photo - Chicago Tribune
 photo above - DNAinfo
photo below - Huffington Post

The Rienzi 
Apartment Hotel
from cafe to hotel
The Rienza began as a beer garden cafe by the turn of the 20th century and then developed to a hotel by the mid 1920's
postcard - Chuckman Collection
The Rienza Company owned land on northeast corner of 
Evanston Avenue (Broadway) and Diversey Parkway
Hotel was Constructed 
by 1923
postcard - Chuckman Collection
business card - Ebay
matchbook - Ebay
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
zoomed view below
Before 1923
The Rienzi Company owned the 
Rienzi Cafe 
with a beer garden
Seasonal Views
postcards - Chuckman Collection

A Chicago Daily Tribune 
Advertisements below
1903 advertisment above
 1904 advertisement below
1905 advertisement below
 1914 advertisement below
began in 1919
postcards - Chicago History in Postcards
a beer garden postcard below - Chuckman Collection 
The Rienzi Cafe 
was Sold
but the property remained in the company's hands
The Rendez-ous Cafe was one of many owners during the roaring 1920's most with dubious historical accounts
1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
zoomed below
Some Drama
in 1923

A Mob Story 
at Rendez-vous Cafe 
 Joe Lewis was for famous comedian of the roaring 20's who after his contract expired told the manager of the Green Mill that he was to sign a new contract with the manager of the New Rendez-vous. The Green Mill, located in Uptown, was sponsored by the infamous Al Capone while the New Rende-zous was under the control of his rival Bugs Moran. Both establishments were very popular. 
narrative of that drama during the roaring 1920's was made into a movie starring Frank Sinatra in 1957.
The Corner's Evolution
The corner of Broadway and Diversey where the Riezni Cafe once stood was replaced by the Curtiss Candy building by 1929
photo - Made in Chicago Muesum
with the Rienzi Hotel at the far right edge of photo
A Re-development of the Corner 
once again in 1982
to be later called Lincoln Park Plaza
with this latest development all trace of the corner, the cafes & hotel were gone only the name remained but only temporary

The Evolution of this Corner 
Continues as of 2018
This planned development was planned before Walgreens moved directly across the street on Broadway
photos - 44th ward development page
Still no new development
per this 2021 Google view
The Apartment Hotel 
that was just wasn't
Much like the Lessing Apartments the Lehmann Family owned countless properties in Lake View from grand apartment hotels to not very modest estates near or on inner Lake Shore Drive. My guess is the project was too ambigious and ulimately too costly do development. The 1950 map almost mirrors the 1923 map below.
To Build Soon
as of 1911
the Lehmann Family owned a lot of land 
in Lake View
The Park Lane 
Apartment Hotel
currently called
2842 N Sheridan

the hotel to the middle left of postcard in orange
postcard - Ebay
1927 photo - Chicago and Midwest/Newberry Library
The Chicagoan 1929
The Chicagoan 1930
Matchbooks  - Ebay
one of their dining rooms 
both images - Ebay
currently called
postcard - Chicago History in Postcards
Property held for over 60 years
when Lake View was a township
sold in 1916

That Area
in 1869
According to the article above the Young Family apparently purchased the land by the mid 1850's decades before the extention of Lincoln Park northward and the construction of Sheridan Road
 and Lake Shore Drive
The Young property, the future Hotel Belmont, is marked with a X
A Planned Development 
in 1923
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
zoomed view below
1927 photo - Chicago and The Midwest/Newberry Library
1928 photo - Chicago and The Midwest/Newberry Library
along with the Lochby Apartments to the right across 
from Belmont Avenue
 view on the left with a canopy entrance on Belmont Avenue
1936 photo - UIC via Explore Chicago Collection
1927 advertisement
1924 blueprint advertisement
first floor and typical apartment level floor plan
1924 photo - Chicago History Museum via Explore Chicago Collection with the General Sheridan monument in the forefront, The Belmont Hotel to the left, 
and the Lockby Apartments to the right
The Lockby Apts were once the home of Mayor Big Bill Thompson
1923-36 photos - Chicago History Museum
upper floors exterior view
the main dining room 
The Chicagoan 1931
1924 photo of 'Directoire Dining Room' 
via Reside Living
postcard - Chicago History in Postcards
the then and the now view 
of the English Cocktail Lounge
photos - Yo Chicago & Chuckman Collection
advertisements from the magazine 
called the Chicagoan

1927 postcard - Chuckman Collection

a vintage teapot - Ebay
 images - Ebay

 images - Ebay

photo - Ebay
 100% cotton cloth guest towel
It measures approx. 27" long by 17" wide
images & text - Ebay

The Black Hawks Girls
patronized the hotel 
in 1947
photos - Ebay

1933 advertisements
from the Chicagoan
Home of Angelo Genna
‘The Belmont [Hotel] was the home of Angelo "Bloody Angelo" Genna (February 3, 1898 - May 26, 1925)  a Chicago bootlegger and organized crime leader during the Prohibition Era [1919-1933]. 
The leader of his own Sicilian crime family, he was best known for his war with the North Side Gang leader, Charles Dean O'Banion. Genna masterminded the assassination of O'Banion in November 1924. On May 26, 1925, Moran, Vincent "The Schemer" Drucci, and Hymie Weiss shot and wounded Genna numerous times during a high-speed car chase, causing Genna to crash his car into a lamp post at Hudson and Ogden Avenues. Angelo was rushed to the Evangelical Deaconess Hospital. When police asked Genna who shot him, he merely shrugged. He died shortly afterwards.’ 
-  via David M Laz /Original Chicago-Facebook
A Showroom
in 1935
1932 advertisement 
from the Chicagoan
Hotel Matchbooks
images from Ebay 

matchbook - Chuckman Collection
The Cove 
in the Belmont Hotel
Bar Menu as of 1943 - Chuckman Collection
 image - Chuckman Collection
1930's plate 
photos - James Hiller
a 1942 advertisement
in 1954
The Mansion House
1961 ad - Ebay
photo - Ebay
Tango opened in 1973 in the Belmont hotel, a very attractively designed double-room large place which combined a very good and creative blend of contemporary seafood and " nouvelle" cuisine and high quality entertainment. The art on the walls, parts of his own collection, and some occasional famous entertainers such as "Bricktop", a spectacular singer who had a great early career in Paris contributed to some of our memorable dinners in the 70s. The restaurant later on had financial and lease problems and had to close abruptly in 1986.

photo - 'After the Pop'  
Wine stewards, salad waiters, maitre d' with great escargot and Duckling A L'Orange and a list of 200 wines
A Renovated Again
in 1972
a 1974 advertisement below
1975 ad - Chicago Tribune
1976 ad - Chicago Tribune
Apartment Hotel to Residental 
in 1995
A Then and Now View 
of the Main Lobby
when a company called Reside Living 
bought and renovated
more views
 a view from the penthouse
then in 1929 and now
negative - Chicago History Musuem
photo - Yo Chicago
The Montfield 
3146 N Sheffield Avenue
(the hotel sign lower right)
Alan Halfen via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook 1950's
photo below - Chicago in Photograph
The Montfield Hotel which used to be located at 3146 North Sheffield on floors four through six struggled with vacancy until 1984, when a developer received a federal loan to convert the Montfield Hotel into 54 apartments, maintaining stores on the ground floor. Apparently the former hotel and then later the entire upper floors were converted to rental apartments by 1984. The building was sold again to another developer and the upper floors were converted into loft condos in 2005, which were listed with the address of 3150 N Sheffield
current views
by Zillow
Rex Hotel
3118-28 N Ashland Avenue
probably turned into a SRO but not sure
photo - Ron Tee via 
Chicagoland Before We Were Born History Group
Ron Tee 
via Chicagoland Before We Were Born History Group
1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map below of the general area that included Belmont Theater and Burley Public School
zoomed below
that included a bowling area and billards
The Diversey Arms 
was marketed as just a hotel 
currently called
postcard - Chicago History in Postcards
business card - Ebay
1925 photo - Calumet412 
and below
a 1951 east view on Diversey Parkway 
west of Broadway 
via Gregg Russell/Forgotten ChicagoSanborn Fire Insurance Maps
one year before the building construction
zoomed view below
1958 photo below - Chicago Past Collection
 also once known as 
The Day's Inn
referred to as 
'Rock 'en Roll Days Inn'
2016 photo - Day's Inn
'The Days Inn Chicago has been known by many names, like the "Rock and Roll Days Inn" and the "Chicago Boutique Hotel - Days Inn on Diversey," but its history is entirely one of a kind. Many performers have stayed at our Chicago hotel throughout the years, and few hotels can boast a guest list that includes Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Wilco, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Black Keys, to name but a few. Back in the day, bands staying at the hotel meant discolored bathtubs from hair dye, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love…, Sheryl Crow rollerblading through the hotel lobby (not permitted), a front desk clerk doing laundry for the Goo Goo Dolls, Alanis Morissette bringing sushi to a front desk clerk, musicians sitting in the lobby playing the guitar.
Rock Performers Who Stayed Here
The famous 'rockers' who have patronized the hotel are the following: Greg Allman, John Lee Hooker Jr, Radiohead, Alanis Morissette, Dave Mathews Band, Wilco, Foo Fighters, Goo Goo Dolls, Cardigans, Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana,Sheryl Crow, Nelly Furtado, Greg Allman, Ben Harper, and Ziggy Marley.' - from Day's Inn website as of 2016
main lobby 
2016 photo - Garry Albrecht
 main lobby 
 2016 photo - Garry Albrecht
2016 photo - Day's Inn
breakfast area next to a mini gym
photo - Day's Inn
the suite welcome booklet
2016 photo - Garry Albrecht
currently called
The name, Hotel Versey, pays tribute to its original namesake 
(The Diversey Arms), while playfully fusing in a tie to the hotel’s V-shaped structure of its triangular city block, on the highly visible corner of Clark Street, Broadway, and Diversey Parkway according to their website.
The Palis Brompton 
currently called 
and marketed as just a hotel
Website Photos
A Modern 21st Century Hotel
This hotel was part of the Wrigley Field renovationsedited map - Chicago Tribune
illustration - Curbed Chicago 
illustrations - Hotel Zachary website 
Interior Views
Construction Photos
photos - buildingupchicagodotcom

The Vanishing
SRO's in Lake View
 Single Room Occupancy Apartments
An advertisement from the magazine called Gay Chicago (1970's?) highlighted the single rooms to rent that had locations 
across the landscape of our neighborhood. 
These former 'apartment hotels' were most often neglected buildings. Landlord owners, in my opinion, would 'milk' from the poor or homeless on a day-to-monthly rate basis. Most if not all the mentions in the segment have been converted to market rate accommodations. while a very few are still affordable to the working poor & transient.
in 2011
in 2013
photos - Lake View Patch 2013

Belleaire Hotel
built in 1925 according to Sanborn Fire Map

... and then a slight name change to
The Belair Hotel
postcards - Chicago History in Postcards 
 Back of postcard reads: 
Belair Hotel - 300 Rooms; each equipped with Private Bath, Single Rooms from $2.50 to $4.00. Excellent Transportation 
- only 15 minutes to Down Town. 
Many of these 'apartment hotels' were grand in style and amenities while many others were more simpler in design and luxuriates. 
Kitchenettes were the rage in Chicago in 1930's
matchbook - Ebay 
Sheffield House Hotel
the former Carlos Hotel
once the home of the Cubs when in town
currently called
 3834 Sheffield

photo - Lake View Patch

The Sheffield House was once known as the Hotel Carlos where the Cubs would stay in the early 20th century when in town for a game and was featured in the 1984 movie called The Natural
July 6, 1932 - Cubs shortstop Billy Jurges is injured by a gunshot in a struggle over a handgun with showgirl Violet Valli at the Hotel Carlos (where Jurges lived during the season). Jurges was romantically linked to Valli and he refused to press charges against her. He returned to the Cubs to play in the 1932 World Series. 
- Greg Stewert via Original Chicago-Facebook
The Abbott Hotel
referred as a
 Abbott Hotel is located across the street to Mt. Carmel Parish and school with its' vintage marquee now just a memory
photo below - Connecting the Windy City
1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
zoomed below
Abbott Hotel - 2012
  Richard Harold via Pinterest
 above photo - Jeff Z via Yelp
below photo - Richad Dixon
Hotel Chateau

3838 N Broadway

currently called the same as the addressphoto - Lake View Patch

photo below - Jeff Z via Yelp
A School Proximity in 1982
Initially called 
The Broadway-Sheridan postcard - Ebay
The complex of buildings 
struggled to survive in 1933
An Artist View
via Flickr
Gang History
in 1934
 unknown source & date photo
The Protest 
about the Loss of Another SRO
in 2014

photos - Lake View Patch 
 the final days 
in 2014

residents before the transition
a protester in favor residents tenant rights
photo above - DNAinfo
photo below - Ebay
The name of renovated building 
is now the address of it
BJB photos below

The Diplomat Hotel
currently called
This hotel was originally called the Sheffield Hotel 
photo unknown date - Ebay
in 2014
The Diplomat one had 99 units of affordable rental housing until it was shut down and vacated by the city in 2009 for numerous code violations. Former owner Jack Gore eventually lost the building to the city after accumulating more than $1 million in fines. - DNAinfo
photo - Allan via Flickr
photo below - Bert Haird via Flickr

In 2011 the Department of Housing and Economic Development sought proposals for the development of the former Diplomat Hotel into subsidized, studio supportive housing (SRH). The building was at the time vacant and required extensive remodeling. Successful respondents were to be able to demonstrate experience in developing and managing supportive housing. The City department will work with the successful respondent in structuring a financial package using various forms of tax credits and other financial assistance including sale of the property for $1.00. - DNAinfo

2005 photo -
Formerresident Efrem Simmons homeless 
once again this time from the Diplomat Hotel 
a transitional photo - Streetwise
The Ambers Hotel 
currently called
photo - Yelp
photo below - Sam Harrod via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
BJB Photos
Lincoln-Belmont Hotel
3245 N Ashland
This hotel was closed in 2006, demolished 
and a condo building was built in its place by 2009
1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
zoomed below
Hotel Julian
924 W Belmont Avenue
referred to as 
This hotel was next to the Julian Theater
This SRO last operated in 2005 and was replaced by a Pot Belly and Jamba Juice on street level with condos above. The Julian used to be owned by the Labunski family, who ran Cedar Realty. They also owned The Ambers Hotel, but sold both to alleged slumlord & political connected Jack Gore. The former hotel was adjacent to the Julian Theater that was also demolished in 2005 according to Chicago Now
1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
zoomed below
with the theater of the same name east/right on map
510 W Belmont Avenue
photo - Zumper
3150 N Racine
currently owned and 
operated by Mercy Housing
Updated details have been revealed for a new residential expansion to an existing building at 3150 N Racine Avenue in Lake View. Located on the southwest corner with W Belmont Avenue, the existing building is owned and operated by Mercy Housing as supportive apartments. Developer Belray Limited has tapped local designer Landon Bone Baker for the expansion to the affordable housing project that will replace the adjoining parking lot with added units. Located directly west of the existing structure, the four-story addition will match the roofline without any ornamentation and bring an additional 35 SRO units while completely removing all of the on-site parking. With a total of 95 units in the end, it is unsure if Mercy will continue to offer supportive housing for the homeless on-site, but residents will continue to have access to laundry facilities, communal rooms and kitchen, art therapy, and leadership programs.
  BJB Properties SRO's
as of 2010's
images - BJB Properties
BJB Properties bought a number for SRO's and renovated them during the 2010's. Below is their list in Lake View.
From a Apartment Hotel 
to a SRO to a Hotel +:
formerly called
 Hawthorne Arms Hotel
photos - Tripadvisor
1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Mapzoomed below
Notice of a New Hotel on Broadway
in 1926
This blogger remembers in the early 1990's that his building located between a public parking garage and a grocery store was a less than colorful segment of Broadway Avenue located 1 1/2 blocks from my studio apartment building. Across the street is the Hawthorne Historical District. In 2005 Frommer's Guide called it a former flop house. This hotel chain did an excellent job rehabbing this eye sore of a building in the mid-1990's. 
This Apartment Hotel's Newsworthy Past:
A Gang Shooting 
in 1929
A Bank Forgery Resident
in 1931
Bandit Shots a Clerk
 in 1935
Resident Rob in Hotel
in 1949
Rob Clerks
 in 1950
An Expansion Next Door
a planned development
in 2021
 Bed & Breakfast's 
of Lake View:
I have walked along Halsted Street past this vintage house for the last 20 years and always thought this should be
 my 'in-state' vacation get-away
The guesthouse, built in 1892, is situated in the back of the property with a beautiful seasonally-landscaped front yard where you can relax or have breakfast in the morning - their website

photo - Open House Chicago
Artwork - Misc. Work
 photo - Groupon
 photo - Time Out Chicagophoto below - Chicago Architecture Fountain
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