Yesterday I took a Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) tour of the North Loop, home to several landmark buildings. Like the other CAF tour I went on the docent was knowledgeable, approachable and welcomed questions. Here’s a few of the many facts I learned:
- When Potter Palmer started buying land on State Street it was a dirt road of little note. People thought he was crazy as the place to make money was on Lake Street.
- The Palmer House has operated as a hotel at one location longer than any hotel in the country.
- When the Palmer House was sold to Conrad Hilton, Hilton put an assistant in charge of overseeing the details of the purchase. The assistant then sold the two chandeliers (one shown above). Hilton came back to see the hotel and asked where the French chandeliers were. He made the assistant buy them back. The price was five times what he’d sold them for.
- The Chicago Cultural Center’s mosaics were inspired by Medieval mosaics.