Mary Simon - Transcript

Transcript of “Special Evenings at the Edgewater Beach Hotel”
Interviewee: Mary Simon
Interviewer: Dorothy Nygren
Place: Chicago, IL
Date: June 18, 2012
Time: 3:18 minutes

MS: Well the first time I went, I was sixteen. I was invited to this dance. Then the fellow’s mother was going to have a brunch the next day because at that time everybody stayed until two or three in the morning and then had a nap. She would give everyone a brunch before they would go home. So because I was so far south in Blue Island, my mother called a woman who had an apartment here in the Edgewater Beach Apartments and asked if I could come after going to the boardwalk for the party.

DN: What was your impression when you walked into the Edgewater Beach Hotel?

MS: I didn’t have a lot of experience of hotels at that point. It was a lovely hotel and it was very elegant. It was also a lot of fun because of the beach walk aspect of it. You went though some of the public rooms and you went out onto a beautiful wooden platform that was very very large. There was room for the band; there was room for the dance floor; and there was room for tables. You were right at the lake. When the weather was good it was simply the nicest place to be. When it wasn’t good weather, the rooms that they had – the ballrooms – had a view of the lake. You could certainly see it. It was very nice.

There was really nothing like it in the whole Midwest that you could be at the water’s edge. They had a pier naturally. The people that were staying at the hotel could take a boat downtown. Later on, I would sometimes go for dinner there and dancing afterward at the Marine Dining Room. That was very formal, very lovely. The dishes… the service was very elegant. I never did drink but I wasn’t an inexpensive date because I like lobster.

Loyola often had dances there. By that time Loyola wouldn’t have the big band that used to be there which included Wayne King and Xavier Cugat. It must have been just about the time they put in the Outer Drive and the landfill and took away the access to the beach that the nightclub aspect became less exciting. The Edgewater Beach Hotel was still one of the most beautiful hotels that I’ve ever seen.