The Blackstone Hotel

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 Chicago.” The April 17, 1910 article praised the design, the amenities, and the location, and while its anticipatory statement proved true, it’s doubtful the reporter had any idea just how important this hotel would become. 

Or maybe he did, because The Blackstone was the dream of Tracy and John Drake, sons of John Burroughs Drake, whose Grand Pacific Hotel had been a political hub in a city that hosted more national political conventions than any other. It also didn’t hurt that the hotel was named for one of the biggest movers and shakers of 19th century Chicago.

Read more about this landmark in Living Landmarks of Chicago.

Completed: 1910
Architect: Marshall & Fox
Address: 636 S. Michigan Ave.

Discover more of Chicago’s living landmarks

Sources for The Blackstone Hotel

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.

  • Architects’ And Builders’ Magazine. [New York, N.Y.: W.T. Comstock Co.], October, 1910.
  • Blackstone Hotel. Urban Land Institute Case Study CO39007. Apr – Jun 2009.
  • City of Chicago Landmarks Designation Report
  • “‘Different’ Hotel Makes its Debut.” The Chicago Sunday Tribune, 17 Apr 1910.
  • Drake, Tracy C. “The Blackstone Hotel.” The Architectural Review. [Boston, Mass.: Bates, Kimball & Guild, Vol. II Number 4 April 1913.
  • Hinman, Ida. Biography of Timothy B. Blackstone. New York: Methodist Book Concern Press, 1917.
  • National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form
  • “Will of Timothy B. Blackstone.” New York Times, 19 Jul 1900.
  • Zukowsky, John, and Guarino, Jean. Benjamin H. Marshall: Chicago Architect. United States, Benjamin Marshall Society in collaboration with Acanthus Press, 2015.

Leave a Comment