Bismarck Hotel (Allegro Royal Sonesta Hotel Chicago)

Like so many other Chicago Landmarks, The Allegro Royal Sonesta Hotel Chicago can trace its beginnings to the 1893 Columbian Exposition. This landmark’s story began when Emil Eitel, the oldest of eight siblings, arrived in Chicago from Stuttgart, Germany in 1890. The next year his brother Karl followed him to the states and the two started their own company, naming it—what else—Eitel Brothers. They imported wine, beer, and liquor, and during the fair they represented several German companies exhibiting items as diverse as jigsaw blades, bandages, and harmonicas. The brothers also saw a fantastic opportunity, and it would write their future. Millions visited the World’s Fair and they needed someplace to stay, so the brothers converted an apartment building at Cottage Grove and 63rd Street into a hotel with a hundred and fifty beds. 

And that was all she wrote. The year after the fair Emil and Karl bought the Germania Hotel at Randolph and Wells and renamed it the Bismarck Hotel.

Read more about this landmark in Living Landmarks of Chicago.

Completed: 1926
Architects: Rapp & Rapp
Address: 171 W. Randolph St.

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Sources for Bismarck Hotel (Allegro Royal Sonesta Hotel Chicago)

This is a selection of specific sources used to provide details while researching this landmark. Additional sources, including books and websites, can be found on the Resources page.

  • “The Allegro Royal Sonesta Hotel.” 25 Jan 2021.
  • The Chicago Blue Book of Selected Names of Chicago And Suburban Towns. Chicago: The Chicago directory company, 1897.
  • The Lakeside Annual Directory of the City of Chicago. Chicago: The Chicago Directory Company, 1896.
  • Marquis, Albert Nelson, and John William Leonard. The Book of Chicagoans: a Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men And Women of the City of Chicago. Chicago: A.N. Marquis, 1905.
  • Willy, John. “Chicago’s New 600-Room Bismarck Hotel.” The Hotel Monthly v. 35. Chicago: J. Willy, 1927.
  • World’s Columbian Exposition Chicago. Official Catalogue: Exhibition of the German Empire. Berlin: Imperial Commission, 1893.