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A Vacation-Style Resort in the Big City

The Edgewater Beach Hotel was a popular place for
celebrities to stay at the time.
Some of them include Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra and civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.
Published by Curt Teich Co., Inc., of Chicago.

Soon after my grandparents were married in the 1940s, they took a cab to the 5300 block of N. Sheridan Road, just like so many other newlyweds living in the Chicago area did at that time, to celebrate their honeymoon. The Edgewater Beach Hotel was a vacation-style resort in the big city. The taller of the two sunset-pink French-Rivera style buildings had 400 rooms and resembled a cross. The building was constructed in 1916, and a second building with 600 additional rooms opened up just eight years later. It was designed by Benjamin H. Marshall and Charles E. Fox.
The hotel featured beautiful reception areas, ballrooms, hallways and promenade areas. It also had restaurants, cocktail lounges and a dance floor with live entertainment every evening. In later years, the outdoor area of the hotel featured a large swimming pool, tennis courts and a playground. A sandy beach to the east was available after the city dumped landfill to create more parkland there. The hotel even offered seaplane service to downtown Chicago.

A beautiful lobby with a fireplace was inside the west building.
Published by Max Rigot Selling Agency of Chicago.

The swankiness of the Edgewater and Uptown neighborhoods slowly began to change after World War II, when housing shortages suddenly made the neighborhood more crowded and many of the mansions along the lakefront were torn down for the construction of tall residential buildings. The extension of Lake Shore Drive further north and behind the hotel also cut off easy access to the beach.

The entrance of the hotel with tropical
.Published by Max Rigot Selling Agency of Chicago. 
The hotel went bankrupt and closed in 1967. The south building was demolished in 1971 after serving as dormitories for students at the nearby Loyola University. 

I own four postcards depicting images of the Edgewater Beach Hotel. The postcard with the pool is a photochrome postcard likely from the middle 1950s to early 1960s. The "photochrome era" began in 1939 and stretches to the present day.

The second outdoor image on the bottom of this post is from the linen era, which lasted from 1930 to 1945. Linen postcards have a rough texture that use a linen-like paper containing a high rag content that helps absorb very cheap inks. Many collectors at the time considered these postcards to be “cheap” due to their dull blurry finish. However, one of the positive aspects of these postcards is the very rich colors that even seem to illuminate and jump off the paper.

I found the two postcards with the images of the interior of the hotel in a scrapbook belonging to my grandmother. These two postcards helped spark my interest in my collecting many years ago. I later bought more after finding an antique store that had thousands of postcards. The vendor sold them for a few bucks each. My collection began to grow quickly. Most vintage postcards cost just a few dollars and can be collected by almost anyone, even with a small budget. Prices are probably not likely to increase due to the large quantity of existing vintage postcards and a lack of buyers and collectors. 

Looking south at the exterior and grounds
of the Edgewater Beach Hotel.
A glistering beach was created behind the hotel after the city
dumped landfill there.
Published by Tichnor Bros., Inc., of Boston.

The writing on the back of the postcard from 1944 indicates
that it was likely mailed to a collector in New Jersey.



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