Welcome to the #AtoZ Blog Challenge and a Tour of Hotels & Inns
It is not surprising that a little girl would remember visiting this famous Hotel. A school friend’s father lived at the hotel. When it was his visitation time with his daughter, I was often asked to join them. Swimming at the pool, eating a meal in the sumptuous dinning room were occasions that made me feel grown up. You know a story about the Hotel, but may not realize it. Eddie Waitkus, whose 1949 shooting at the hotel by a deranged female fan formed the basis for Bernard Malamud’s novel “The Natural,” which later became a 1984 film starring Robert Redford.
A city is an organic thing. Change eradicates important and vibrant parts of the past, but in the case of The Edgewater Beach Hotel, it is not forgotten. This was a resort hotel complex in the far-north neighborhood community of Edgewater in Chicago, Illinois. It was designed by Chicago-based architects Benjamin H. Marshall and Charles E. Fox. The first section was built in 1916 for its owners John Tobin Connery and James Patrick Connery. It was located between Sheridan Road and Lake Michigan at Berwyn Avenue. An adjacent tower building was added in 1924. The hotel closed in 1967, and was soon after demolished.
When I wrote my second novel, Facing East, I worked the story of the shooting of Eddie Waitkus into a scene in the book to honor a great city and a beautiful historic hotel. My memories of riding on the back seat of my parents car, looking out at the architecture along the way, are all a part of my DNA. In my mind’s eye, the ghost of The Edgewater Beach Hotel remains, though its demise closed an important chapter in the cities story.