H – HISTORY…A Little Girl Remembers: The Edgewater Beach Hotel

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.

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.

11 Responses to H – HISTORY…A Little Girl Remembers: The Edgewater Beach Hotel

  1. claowue says:

    Happy memories then. I can imagine that you spent very special days there.

  2. M Denise C says:

    Wonderful post of wonderful memories!

  3. Kathe W. says:

    love this tour of hotels!

  4. patgarcia says:

    No, I did not know about the shooting in the Edgewater Beach Hotel.
    I am enjoying your tour.
    Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.

    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

  5. John Holton says:

    I’ll check this with my cousin, but I think Charles E. Fox is my great-uncle. Small world, huh?

  6. noelleg44 says:

    Special days for you, Stephany. We drove by that hotel so many times – never even thought about it beyond just seeing it. Thanks for the introduction.

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