Benjamin Marshall

The Drake Hotel

On January 17, 1920, Tracy and John Drake laid the cornerstone for their new hotel. It had been a decade since they opened the Blackstone and in that time the brothers had established a reputation as men who knew a thing or two about innkeeping. To be fair, that was expected. Their father, John Burroughs …

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Federal Life Building (Hotel Julian)

In 1916, Rand McNally & Company published a panoramic photo of Michigan Avenue. The image stretched across two pages of their annual compendium, One Hundred and Twenty-Five Photographic Views of Chicago, and captured a row of buildings that overlooked Grant Park. The scene was a man-made cliff with beginnings in 1885, and if you compare …

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The Blackstone Hotel

Blackstone Hotel, photo courtesy Library of Congress

The Blackstone Hotel is woven into the mythology of Chicago. It’s hosted politicians, gangsters, movie stars, jazz greats, and royalty. It’s the Hotel of Presidents and claims the original smoke-filled room. The day after it opened, the Chicago Tribune declared: “The Blackstone is to be, in fact it already is, one of the landmarks of …

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