Council approves landmark status for Shoreland Hotel

September 8, 2010

Building represents heyday of apartment-hotel living

Peter Strazzabosco    312.744.9267

Host to luminaries like Amelia Earhart, Elvis Presley and visiting professional baseball teams, Hyde Park's 1,000-room Shoreland Hotel was approved by City Council today as an official Chicago landmark.

One of most well-preserved representations of the apartment-hotels that proliferated in Chicago during the 1910s and '20s, the 13-story building at 5454 S. Shore Drive was the third largest hotel in the entire city at the time of its completion in 1926.

"The Shoreland has contributed to the grandly scaled character of Hyde Park for decades. The landmark designation ensures its presence in the community for generations to come," said Mayor Richard M. Daley.

The U-shaped building was designed for the Shoreland Hotel Company by Meyer Fridstein, architect of the Belden-Stratford Hotel in Lincoln Park and the landmark Congress Theater in Logan Square. Its Spanish Renaissance Revival-style exterior features a terra cotta base, a masonry mid-section, and an elaborately decorated, two-story top. The interior includes several dramatic spaces, including a two-story lobby, second-floor mezzanine, and the ornately designed Crystal Ballroom.

As an apartment-hotel, the building catered to short- and long-term, middle- and upper-class guests. It also hosted lavish parties, large receptions and prominent entertainment acts, including live "Big Band" radio broadcasts in the 1940s.

After apartment-hotel living waned citywide after World War II, the Shoreland went through a variety of related uses. From 1973 to 2009, it was used by the University of Chicago for student and staff housing. It is currently being rehabilitated as rental apartments and affiliated uses.

As an official city landmark, the building is protected from significant alternation or demolition and eligible for a variety of tax and financial incentives. The designation involves its exterior elevations, main lobby and Crystal Ballroom.

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