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Edgewater Beach Hotel

Edgewater Beach Hotel

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The Edgewater Beach Hotel was a hotel in the far-north neighborhood community
Community
The term community has two distinct meanings:*a group of interacting people, possibly living in close proximity, and often refers to a group that shares some common values, and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household...

 of Edgewater
Edgewater, Chicago
Edgewater is a lakefront community area in the North Side of the city of Chicago, Illinois seven miles north of the Loop. As one of Chicago’s 77 official community areas, Edgewater is bounded by Foster Avenue on the south, Devon Avenue on the north, Ravenswood Avenue on the west, and Lake Michigan...

 in Chicago, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

. Built in 1916 and owned by John Tobin Connery and James Patrick Connery, it was located between Sheridan Road and Lake Michigan at Berwyn Avenue. The complex had a private beach and offered seaplane
Seaplane
A seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are a subclass called amphibian aircraft...

 service to downtown Chicago
Chicago Loop
The Loop or Chicago Loop is one of 77 officially designated Chicago community areas located in the City of Chicago, Illinois. It is the historic commercial center of downtown Chicago...

. During its lifetime, the hotel served many famous guests including Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, singer, model and showgirl who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s....

, Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

, Judy Garland
Judy Garland
Judy Garland was an American actress and singer. Through a career that spanned 45 of her 47 years and for her renowned contralto voice, she attained international stardom as an actress in musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist and on the concert stage...

, Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

, Bette Davis
Bette Davis
Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis was an American actress of film, television and theater. Noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic characters, she was highly regarded for her performances in a range of film genres, from contemporary crime melodramas to historical and period films and occasional...

, Tallulah Bankhead
Tallulah Bankhead
Tallulah Brockman Bankhead was an award-winning American actress of the stage and screen, talk-show host, and bonne vivante...

, and Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole
Nathaniel Adams Coles , known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. Although an accomplished pianist, he owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres...

, and U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 and Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

. The hotel was known for hosting big bands such as the bands of Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
Benjamin David “Benny” Goodman was an American jazz and swing musician, clarinetist and bandleader; widely known as the "King of Swing".In the mid-1930s, Benny Goodman led one of the most popular musical groups in America...

, Tommy Dorsey
Tommy Dorsey
Thomas Francis "Tommy" Dorsey, Jr. was an American jazz trombonist, trumpeter, composer, and bandleader of the Big Band era. He was known as "The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing", due to his smooth-toned trombone playing. He was the younger brother of bandleader Jimmy Dorsey...

, Glenn Miller
Glenn Miller
Alton Glenn Miller was an American jazz musician , arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era. He was one of the best-selling recording artists from 1939 to 1943, leading one of the best known "Big Bands"...

, Artie Shaw
Artie Shaw
Arthur Jacob Arshawsky , better known as Artie Shaw, was an American jazz clarinetist, composer, and bandleader. He was also the author of both fiction and non-fiction writings....

, Xavier Cugat
Xavier Cugat
Xavier Cugat was a Spanish-American bandleader who spent his formative years in Havana, Cuba. A trained violinist and arranger, he was a key personality in the spread of Latin music in United States popular music. He was also a cartoonist and a successful businessman...

, and Wayne King
Wayne King
Wayne King was an American musician, songwriter, singer and orchestral leader. He was sometimes referred to as "the Waltz King" because much of his most popular music involved waltzes; "The Waltz You Saved For Me" was his standard set closing song in live performance and on numerous radio...

, which were also broadcast on the hotel's own radio station, a precursor to WGN
WGN (AM)
WGN is a radio station in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It is the only radio station owned by the Tribune Company, which also owns the flagship television station WGN-TV, the Chicago Tribune newspaper and Chicago magazine locally. WGN's transmitter is located in Elk Grove Village, Illinois...

 with the calls WEBH.

On June 14, 1949, Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team. They are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating to 1883. The Phillies are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

 first baseman Eddie Waitkus
Eddie Waitkus
Edward Stephen Waitkus was an American first baseman in Major League Baseball who had an 11-year career . He played for the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies in the National League and for the Baltimore Orioles of the American League...

 was shot and nearly killed by an obsessive fan at the hotel; this later would be a large part of the inspiration behind Bernard Malamud
Bernard Malamud
Bernard Malamud was an author of novels and short stories. Along with Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, he was one of the great American Jewish authors of the 20th century. His baseball novel, The Natural, was adapted into a 1984 film starring Robert Redford...

's novel The Natural
The Natural
The Natural is a 1952 novel about baseball written by Bernard Malamud. The book follows Roy Hobbs, a baseball prodigy whose career is sidetracked when he is shot by a woman who seeks to kill arrogant athletes to "better the world"...

.

The 1951–54 extension of Lake Shore Drive
Lake Shore Drive
Lake Shore Drive is a mostly freeway-standard expressway running parallel with and alongside the shoreline of Lake Michigan through Chicago, Illinois, USA. Except for the portion north of Foster Avenue , Lake Shore Drive is designated as part of U.S...

 from Foster Avenue
Foster Avenue (Chicago)
Foster Avenue is a major east-west street on the North Side of Chicago as well as the northwestern suburbs. Foster Avenue separates the Chicago lakefront neighborhoods of Edgewater to the north and Uptown to the south....

 to Hollywood Avenue cut the hotel off from the beach leading to a reduction in business. The hotel closed in 1967 and the main buildings were demolished shortly after. The Edgewater Beach Co-op or Apartments, built in 1928, is the only part of the hotel complex to survive and is part of the Bryn Mawr Historic District
Bryn Mawr Historic District
The Bryn Mawr Historic District is on the lakefront of the Edgewater neighborhood of far-north Chicago in Illinois, USA. It extends along Bryn Mawr Avenue between Broadway Avenue and Sheridan Road...

 where many Art Deco buildings can be found.

The developers also built a sister hotel, the Edgewater Gulf Hotel, in Biloxi, Mississippi
Biloxi, Mississippi
Biloxi is a city in Harrison County, Mississippi, in the United States. The 2010 census recorded the population as 44,054. Along with Gulfport, Biloxi is a county seat of Harrison County....

. Both projects were designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Marshall and Fox
Marshall and Fox
Marshall and Fox was an United States architectural firm based in Chicago from 1905 to 1926. The principals, Benjamin H. Marshall and Charles E. Fox, designed a number of significant buildings of many types, in Chicago and other cities, but they were best known for luxury hotels and apartment...

.

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