Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cedar Hotel, Chicago
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Cedar Hotel, Chicago (ca.1924) Rissman & Hirschfeld, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Because of the ups and downs of the real estate market and the near collapse of the financial industry in the U.S. recently, this stunning work of white glazed terra-cotta can still be seen topping off the facade the the nearly abandoned Cedar Hotel in the heart of Chicago's decades old Rush Street entertainment district. The Cedar survived being torn down to make way for a luxury hotel because of an over-extended developer, bank forclosures, law suits, and the hunt for new owners. What will eventually become of the old SRO is anyones guess.

  [Cedar Hotel, Chicago, 1118 N. State Street, Chicago /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The Cedar was built in the mid-1920s as a 200 room hotel "with a bath or shower in every room," and offered accommodations by the day, week - $10.50-$16 per week - No extra charge for 2 in room - or month, and was known back in the day as a transient hotel. People could move through the building on an as needed basis and it didn't take a lot of money to secure a room, as long as you paid cash in advance. The Cedar had a "reputation" as a result of the number of times guest's names appeared in newspaper stories involving law enforcement. It was like reading the daily police blotter.

  [Cedar Hotel, Chicago, Rush Street Triangle, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Robert Bryce was arrested in his Cedar Hotel room where police found a string of pearls   and a diamond necklace in a woman's handbag, after being tipped off that Bryce may have been involved in the robbery of Marchessa Adelaide de Jannelli's jewels. Then there was the raid on the hotel when four men were arrested on suspicion of building a bomb, in an attempt on the mayor's life, when bottles of nitroglycerin were found in the room of George Rossi aka Freeman. Then there was the robbery at the hotel of the French Vice Counsel who was at the Cedar to meet up with his "woman friend." Former Chicago police officer Philip Denman was arrested by Federal agents for taking part in a counterfeiting ring in his room at the Cedar in 1935. Twenty years later Denman's name was in the paper once again, this time for taking bets in a restaurant located on the ground floor of the hotel that Denman still called home.
Many Chicagoans will remember the Cedar as the home of Melvin B's, which opened in the early 60s and closed in 2007. The food was nothing to write home about, but what made Melvin's Melvins' was the huge outdoor patio. It was a great place to sit and watch the streams of people pass by as they paraded up and down Rush and State at Cedar. And although the fate of the hotel is uncertain, a new bar and restaurant has opened in the old Melvin's space providing food and drink for another generation of Rush Streeters.

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