E – The Evanston Orrington Hotel – Evanston, IL.

Welcome to the #AtoZ Blog Challenge and a Tour of Hotels & Inns


When I grew up in Evanston, IL,The Orrington Hotel reigned in the historic core of downtown. There, I attended dances and many other special occasions. Evanston was a great place to grow up at a time when children rode their bicycles all over town and no one worried. The hotel has always been important to the Northwestern University community. Countless parents stay there while visiting their college children. It is a significant part of a stable community. In time, The Orrington was the scene of the rehearsal dinner for a daughter’s wedding.

A bit of history: In early 1920, business developer Victor Carlson, of the Carlson Corporation, had a vision of a full-service luxury apartment/hotel with all the amenities and modern conveniences of the day. Having already opened the Library Plaza hotel at 1627 Orrington in 1922, The Orrington Hotel was the second in Carlson’s series of buildings that would make up “Library Square” in Evanston’s downtown prime business district. After a record time of only ten months in construction, the brand new, $2 million Orrington hotel hosted its grand opening to over 500 guests and invitees on Saturday, September 22, 1923. Equipped with 300 transient rooms, 75 apartments, and a rooftop garden overlooking Lake Michigan, the Orrington had staked its claim as “Evanston’s Finest Luxury Hotel”. The hotel was named in honor of Orrington Lunt, a generous, well-known philanthropist and co-founder of Northwestern University.

In researching the hotel for the #Challenge, I was dismayed to find exterior changes that no one checked with me about. (I was reminded of “the genius” that thought changing the name of Marshall Field’s on State Street was a good idea.) If you haven’t been to Evanston, here is a Youtube video for a quick look around. I highly recommend you spend some time at The Orrington. Use it as your base camp for exploring The North Shore, a beautiful lake, further fabulous architecture, and the ease of walking around the downtown area, which you will enjoy.


About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
This entry was posted in A to Z Blog Challenge April 2016 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to E – The Evanston Orrington Hotel – Evanston, IL.

  1. trishafaye says:

    You keep showing me more places I’d like to see.

  2. It’s called progress, but one of the great sadnesses of our day is that we have to use phrases like “a time when children rode their bicycles all over town and no one worried”.

    Keith Channing A-Zing from http://keithkreates.com

  3. Lori Carlson says:

    Another beauty.. shame they had to make exterior changes to it.
    Many Blessings,

    My A2Zs @ As the Fates Would Have It & Promptly Written
    Follow Me (Ravyne) Twitter|Facebook

  4. noelleg44 says:

    Do you know that all the time we lived in Evanston I was never once inside the Orrington?

  5. HangryFork says:

    What a grand old hotel!

  6. Ula says:

    I wish I’d known about the Orrington when I was living in Chicago. I’ll have t go visit.

    I think they are thinking of going back to the Marshall Field’s name.

    • Evanston has grown and changed, but the hotel stands for the past, which Evanston continues to build upon.

    • Do you mean it? Going back to the Field’s name? I haven’t kept up with it since publishing a second novel last April where I wrote about Field’s etc. in a scene in the book. Keep me posted if you run across some info. They have redone some hotels in Chicago now that are amazing. Old historic places. I follow a Facebook page called, Forgotten Chicago. If you like architecture, the history, I recommend it to you.

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