FrouFrou 4 YouYou

Chicago Millinery History: Pretty Lady Picture- The Orpheum Photo Studio April 10, 2011

Filed under: Chicago Millinery History — froufrou4youyou @ 9:33 pm

It’s a fun day for vintage when the folks at Antique and Resale on Harlem in Chicago have the annual 20% sale in spring. LOTS of hats, but other goodies too. Plenty of vintage photo from Chicago were most intriguing.

A woman of several decades is standing in her wide lapeled coat, and wearing a hat that was more than tall, it was much bigger than her head. It seems the feathers will really do that.

It was taken in an unknown year at the Orpheum Photo Studio at 110 & 112 S. State, opposite the Palmer House, Chicago. That Palmer House of much notoriety.One wonders if she was a guest at that hotel, or a Chicagoan.

Perhaps it is time to put in a good word for Palmer perseverance. The original Palmer House was built and finished just  days before the infamous Chicago Fire of 1871.

Wikipedia gives us this background:

There have been three Palmer House Hotels at the corner of State and Monroe Streets in Chicago.

The first (known as “The Palmer”) was built as a wedding present from Potter Palmer to his bride Bertha Honoré. It opened on September 26, 1871, but burned down just thirteen days later October 9, 1871 in the Great Chicago Fire. Palmer immediately set to work rebuilding, and with a $1.7 million signature loan (believed to be the largest individual loan ever secured at the time) constructed one of the fanciest hotels in post-fire Chicago.

Designed by architect John M. Van Osdel, the second Palmer House Hotel was seven stories. Its amenities included oversized rooms, luxurious decor, and sumptuous meals served in grand style. The floor of its barber shop was reputedly tiled with silver dollars. Constructed mainly of iron and brick, the hotel was widely advertised as, “The World’s Only Fire Proof Hotel.”[1] Famous visitors included presidential hopefuls James Garfield, Grover Cleveland, Ulysses S. Grant, William Jennings Bryan and William McKinley; writers Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, and Oscar Wilde; and actresses Sarah Bernhardt and Eleanora Duse.[citation needed] It was completed in 1875.

By the 1920s, the business in downtown Chicago could support a much larger facility and the Palmer Estate decided to erect a new 25-story hotel. They hired Holabird & Roche to design the building. Between 1923 and 1925, the hotel was rebuilt on the same site — in stages so not a single day of business was lost. At the time it was touted as the largest hotel in the world.[2]

In December 1945, Conrad Hilton bought the Palmer House for $20 million. In 2005 it was sold to Thor Equities, but it remains part of the Hilton chain.[3

Time to rekindle that hope for a hat shop in the Palmer House? Why not, it must be meant to be if it that name keeps showing up everywhere one turns.

Happy 100th day of 2011!


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