Edgewater Beach Hotel

Without question, the Edgewater Beach Hotel was Edgewater’s most famous, well-known building. “Was” is the operative word here, for the hotel no longer stands. It was demolished over a 12 month period ending in the spring of 1971. The Edgewater Beach Apartments, with which it is often confused, however still stands at the southeast corner of Bryn Mawr and Sheridan (5555 N. Sheridan).

The first building, which was in the form of a Maltese cross and had 400 rooms, opened in June 1916 and was an instant success, so much so that just 8 years later, a second building with 600 additional rooms (initially called the Annex) opened in 1924. A passageway called the passaggio connected the two buildings. The newer, taller building was constructed south of the original building.

The Edgewater Beach Hotel was a resort hotel in a big city, set on spacious grounds and with its own private beach, and in that respect was unique.

Some photos show hardly any beach in back of the hotel; while others show a rather extensive beach.  The extensive beach came later (but before the Outer Drive, aka Lake Shore Drive, was extended from Foster to Hollywood).  It was due to the parkland created east of the drive when it was extended from Belmont to Foster in the early 1930s.  The additional land that was created had the effect in turn of creating an extended natural sand beach for both the Edgewater Beach Hotel and the Saddle and Cycle Club to the south of it.

We serialized in six segments in our newsletter an article by Adam Langer that first appeared in the Reader newspaper.  The article includes stories told to him by people who lived or worked at the hotel.  You can read the entire article by clicking the segments below in numerical order:

Click here for the article: The Edgewater Beach Hotel: From Idea to Reality.

Click here for an article on William Dewey, general manager of the hotel.

Click here to view a graph that shows the various buildings at key points of time.

Click here to view an image of the public rooms of the hotel circa 1960.

Click here for an article on radio broadcasting at the Edgewater Beach Hotel

Click here for a table of key dates in the history of the hotel.

Click here for floor plans of the original (north) building (not yet posted)

Click here for a floor plan of the Annex (south) building.

Click here for a first floor plan of both buildings set up for a convention

Click here for a compilation of Chicago Tribune articles about the hotel and apartments (not yet posted)

Click here for the story of the Edgewater Beach Playhouse (1955-1962)

Click here for Edgewater Beach Hotel Memories

Warren Phelps: My Semester at the Edgewater Beach Hotel

Lucia (Lucy) Gomez Price: The Edgewater Beach Hotel Changed My Life

Click here for youtube talk on the museum’s exhibit on the Edgewater Beach Hotel.

Click here to view a slide show of color postcards of the Edgewater Beach Hotel

Click here to view a slide show of real photo postcards of the Edgewater Beach Hotel

Click here to see newspaper ads for the Edgewater Beach Hotel (not yet posted)