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.