Friday, May 10, 2013

6801 N. Sheridan- Rogers Park Hotel, 1922

  I've always been interested in the apartment hotel phenomenon in Chicago.  Two years ago I wrote about the Stanleigh Apartment Hotel built in 1917 at the northwest corner of Pratt and Sheridan.  But a much more ambitious version, the Rogers Park Hotel, can be found at the northeast corner of the same intersection. 

Apartment hotels came with furnishings and maid service, so all you really needed was a suitcase.  Often there were shared dining or entertainment facilities.  Some may have lived in them year-round, but they were designed to appeal to short-term renters, such as vacationers.

It's hard to imagine Rogers Park as a vacation destination, but Sheridan Road had a different character at that time.  It was less developed, with more green space and primarily single family homes. But it already had good transit connections to downtown, popular beaches, and some bustling commercial areas.   In 1922 this building would have signalled a shift in the scale of development.  This change was acknolwledged in the Chicago Zoning Code of 1923, which earmarked the areas adjacent to Lake Michigan for greater density. And luckily, it was featured in the July 10, 1922 edition of Buildings and Buildings Management, which is available through GoogleBooks.
To the left is the ground floor, showing the retail spaces, and a typical floor of apartments.  There were 21 apartments per floor on eight floors, totaling 168.  The four sizes of apartments ranged from 600 to 280 square feet.  These had bed closets, which would have contained a Murphy-style bed.

The article makes special  mention of the wall-to-wall carpeting in the corridors and in the units, which would have been imporant for a concrete frame building built on a budget.  Although air conditioning wasn't provided, there was a "cooling coil" for water and food, which I take to be an early form of refrigerator.

The architects for this project were B. Leo Steif & Co. in association with Walter W. Ahlschlager, Inc.  The article proudly notes the absence of useless decoration, which is offset by the use of high quality materials, such as the light buff brick and Bedford stone.  The building nods to classical design, with stone string courses, balconies and architraves at the eighth and ninth floors.  If you look on the Sheridan side at the center of the building there's a larger classical surround with a decorative medallion above which prominently features "RP". 

And with that I'll leave you with some interior photos, showing the original character of the building, although with fairly poor resolution.


  1. I live next door to this building and have always been fascinated by it. The dining room is now Aqua, and looks basically the same as it has for the past 90 years. From the windows, I can tell that the ballroom is on the second floor directly over Aqua. I've never been in that space. I wonder what sort of level of disrepair it is in.

    The ground floor along Sheridan, it's hard to visualize the walls lining up with where Oasis and Hana are now. I think the Sheridan entry was changed at some point, it now goes straight back into the lobby. I'm confused on how the north(west) corner aligns up to the Oasis, I'll have to check that out when I'm next inside there.

    The lobby, you can recognize it from this picture, but it certainly looks nothing like this today. If you'd like a pic of the lobby, let me know, I'm sure I can get one.

  2. So the 7-11 takes up shop spaces #6 and #7. Shops #4 and #5 are the cell phone store and japanese restaurant Hana, respectively. Oasis must be all of shop spaces #1, #2 and #3, but I'm struggling to visually how far into space #1 it goes.

  3. Al, I would love to see a photo of the current lobby. If you can match the angle shown above maybe I can do a good side-by-side composite. My email is larryshure(at)

  4. I live in this building, on the 8th floor now and would be able to take pictures if anyone would be interested.

  5. I do wonder what happened to the old ballroom. I'm guessing nothing good.

  6. I'm surprised that Loyola hasn't bought this for a dorm.
    They constantly are expanding & Campion Hall on Sheridan, between Loyola & Albion not an efficient use of the land. So buy & refurbish the hotel, tear down Campion & replace it with another university function.
    Just make Loyola keep the hotel on the real estate tax rolls.

  7. I currently work in the old ballroom space. It's been converted into office for the last several years, and right now the company I work for is its current resident. Our company has been there for the last 6 or 7 years, I believe. There are cubicles, and a general office vibe but the integrity of the space seems relatively unaltered. It has very high ceilings, and hardwood floors and the large windows open onto Pratt. It's a great space. I'm not sure how long it's been used for an office. I'd heard at one point it was a loft space but I'm not sure if that's really true. I imagine the building management would have those details.

  8. Thanks Derrick. Rare for ballrooms to make it past mid-century in any building. I know there are a number of them in Rogers Park that have been covered up or repurposed. I used to live in an apartment building that converted their ballroom into a laundry room...