Life Span: 1855-1871
Location: SW corner of Randolph and Wells streets
Architect: W. W. Boyington
Chicago Tribune, June 11, 1857
METROPOLITAN HOTEL SALOON
The opening of the new saloon at the Metropolitan Hotel, corner of Randolph and Wells streets, will take place this evening at 8 o’clock, when will be served up a Turtle Soup made from the largest Green Turtle ever brought to Chicago, weighing four hundred pounds. The proprietors extend this invitation to their friends and the public generally, to be present on the occasion, and partake of a Jorum of Punch, made in the genuine New England style.
Chicago Tribune, July 13, 1860
Within the past few weeks extensive interior and exterior changes and refittings have been lavishly expended upon the Metropolitan Hotel. The Randolph and Wells streets fronts, in mastic, have been colored to a deep brown stone tint, and their appearance much improved. B.H. Skinner, mine host, is one of our oldest hotel keepers, and has built up a popularity he knows well how to maintain. The Metropolitan is one of the best houses in its class in the West
History of Chicago; Its Commercial and Manufacturing Interests and Industry, Isaac D.Guyer, 1862
CHICAGO for many years has been famous for its Hotels. On the south-west corner of Randolph and Wells Streets, in former years stood the old “Planter’s House.” In the years 1855 and 1856, it was taken down, and on its eligible site was erected the present commodious building, known all over the North-West as the Metropolitan; kept by that social, genial and kind-hearted man, Mr. B. H. Skinner, formerly of Boston, who takes pride in being the keeper of one of the best Hotels in Chicago. He has a fondness for seeing everything go right; and it has long since ceased to be a burden to him to administer the affairs of a vast House. His equanimity is never disturbed; he is always happy to see his old friends, and every new guest feels, before they have been in his house twenty-four hours, that they may number him among their acquaintances.
In September, 1861, the Hotel May, adjoining on Wells Street, containing sixty rooms, was added to the Metropolitan, which now contains two hundred and twenty sleeping rooms, neatly furnished throughout, well ventilated, lighted with gas, and furnished with luxurious spring beds. Its table d’ hote is not only enriched by every luxury, but served as noiselessly and unostentatiously as a private table. Its head cook (Mr. John Murray,) for fourteen years occupied the same position at the Warriner House, Springfield, Mass., formerly so widely and favorably known to the traveling public. It is free from the rush or confusion of many other places, and while it maintains the celebrity it has so justly won, it will continue to be resorted to by those who think more of luxury and taste than of noise and parade of perfect cleanliness in everything, than of mere show.
This Hotel has long been known to the lovers of clean, neat and airy apartments, and “good cheer,” with a table d’ hote surpassed by no other and prices uniform and low. The names of those guests who have enjoyed the home-bred hospitalities of the Metropolitan, as recorded in the register by their own hands, amount to many thousands; of this great number, not one ever went away dissatisfied, unless he demanded what personal attention and ungrudging generosity could not give.
This House has all the charms of home, for it has all its comforts. It is resorted to by the Western people as a favorite and familiar spot, where all their taste for neatness and domestic economy is gratified. It is the resort of traders generally, being central and convenient, and the charges moderate for one of the best Hotels in Chicago. One dollar and fifty cents per day is the regular charge of the Metropolitan.
Rooms are always reserved for passengers arriving by the various trains during the night. The management of the Metropolitan could not be in better hands. May B. H. Skinner long continue to be its worthy Master.
Daguerreotypist, Alexander Hesler, had a studio in the Metropolitan Hotel from 1855 to 1858.
Weekly Democrat, December 1, 1855
Chicago Tribune, April 29, 1856
Guide to the City of Chicago, T. Ellwood Zell & Co., 1868
This popular house has recently been altered and greatly improved in all its internal arrangements. It has about two hundred and fifty rooms, fitted up with a view to comfort as well as elegance. The traveller who may be so fortunate as to select this house during his stay in the city will find its kind and courteous proprietor, Mr. C. W. Baldwin, ever ready and anxious to contribute to the comfort of his guests. The Metropolitan is situated on the southwest corner of Randolph and Wells streets, near the business centre of the city.
Chicago Tribune, November 23, 1870
FIRE IN A HOTEL.
Great Excitement Among the Boarders, and Several Narrow Escapes.
About half-past 2 o’clock this morning, a fire brook out in the Metropolitan Hotel, corner of Wells and Randolph streets. There were over two hundred boarders in the house, and a stampede and a throwing out of trunks followed the cry of fire. Several of the women fainted, and the most intense excitement prevailed. The fire broke out in the engine-room, in the basement, and all of the floors, with the exception of the front part of the first, were filled with smoke, consequently many experienced considerable difficulty in getting down stairs, several falling from the top of a flight in their eagerness to escape. Box No. 10 was turned in as soon as the flames were discovered. The steamers were quickly at work, but the flames spread rapidly, and in some inexplicable manner the roof ignited. The engine and boiler room is in the centre of the building, and in quarter of an hour the roof on abloy one-half of the building—the rear part—was on fire. There were quite a number of people on the fourth floor of this part who, unable to get down the stairways on account of stifling smoke, came to windows and cried out for assistance. The hose elevator box was run up and the safety ladder placed in the window frames, and all were got out of the building without injury. One woman who occupied a room on the upper floor got upon the roof, and was rescued in a partially suffocated condition. The fire was still burning at 3 o’clock, but the firemen had it seemingly under control. The building is owned by a Mr. Hoddrek, and is fully insured. The damage will not be over $4,000. Messrs. Kerby & Pulling are the lessees. Their loss on furniture will probably be $1,500, which is covered by insurance, The origin of the fire could not be ascertained.1
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
1 The fire took one life and seriously injured six persons. The origin of the fire in the basement ceiling, above the range, and spread rapidly to the upper floors.