Welcome to the #AtoZ Blog Challenge and a Tour of Hotels & Inns
The Hotel Florence opened on November 1, 1881 as the hospitality showcase for visitors to George Pullman’s “perfect town” of Pullman, Illinois. The hotel was named for George’s favorite daughter, Florence. I selected this significant architectural hotel to honor all the hotels and Inns that have been renovated and given a second life.
The hotel building cost $100,000 to build and interior fixtures and furnishings totaled over $30,000. The original main building contains over 23,000 square feet, with the later “Annex” addition, built in the 1910’s. The original portion of the hotel had 50 sleeping rooms, a dining room, a billiard room, barber shop, separate men’s and women’s parlors and the only bar in Pullman.
The building was originally lighted with gas lights and heated with steam radiators, the steam generated by the Corliss Engine located across the street in the factory buildings.
The first floor and the Pullman Suite were trimmed with cherry woodwork and accented by multicolored stained glass windows. On the second floor, the Pullman Suite was kept for George Pullman when he visited the factory and town, as the Pullman family lived in the fashionable Prairie Avenue District, just south of downtown. The second through fourth floors housed the hotel rooms and suites. Each floor, similar to train cars, provided a different “class” of service. The more elegant and expensive rooms were located on the second floor, where they were closer to the lobby. These rooms were outfitted with Eastlake furniture and sometimes included larger suite layouts. The rooms on the third and fourth floors were smaller and furnished in different styles on each floor.
The Historic Pullman Foundation bought the Hotel Florence in 1975 to save the aging building from demolition and to renovate it.
In 1991, it was sold to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency as an integral part of the Pullman State Historic Site. Today, the Hotel is undergoing a major capital improvement program by the state to restore the Hotel for future use with the State Historic Site.