I went to Chicago this weekend, supervising a student Model UN trip, so I wasn’t able to do much of anything like Great-Grandma. I stayed in an excellent historical hotel but it is highly unlikely that any of my Great-Grandmas would have ever stayed there. None of them were posh, society types.
The Palmer House was a wedding gift from wealthy department store businessman Potter Palmer and his young (very young – 23 years younger, in fact) bride, Bertha. It was built in 1871, but only 13 days after opening, it fell victim to the Great Chicago Fire. Potter Palmer, not to be deterred by natural disaster, rebuilt and reopened in 1873.
The hotel is a palace hotel, named as such because of the elaborate, opulent decoration of every detail. My photos are only from the lobby.
Every elevator bay on each level has it’s own design scheme and the $107 million refurbishment of the hotel has adopted a peacock theme to honor the huge, half-ton decorative peacock doors that surround the hotel (designed by Tiffany, of course). Each set of doors (there are 3 sets) are worth $1 million.
So yes, I don’t think that my great-grandmothers would have stayed here. Regardless, it was the closest thing to historical research that I had time for this weekend.
I’ll make up for it this weekend when I go to Duluth to fish through my grandma’s photos and to interview my second cousin about my paternal-maternal great grandmother (GG Olson).