Life Span: 1848-1871
Location: SE Corner of State and Lake Streets
Architect: John M. Van Osdel
History of Chicago, A. T. Andreas, 1884
The new City Hotel which stood on the corner of Lake and State streets, was erected in 1848. Before this, for some years, a wooden building under the same name occupied the same ground. When the new house was built, Jeduthan Brown was its proprietor, and the next year A. H. Tuttle became a partner. They conducted the house until 1851 when they went to the Sherman House. In 1856 the City Hotel was kept by John H. Thorn and William F. Orcott, the next year by Orcott & Sutherland, and in 1858 by Richard Somer’s & Co.
History of Chicago Illinois, Moses Kirkland, 1895
The City Hotel was built by Stiles Burton in 1848, at the southeast corner of State and Lake streets. It had a front of brick, and was four stories high, with three story frame wing on the alley. Its first proprietors were Jonathan Brown and Frederick Tuttle, formerly of the old American Temperance House, at Lake street and Wabash avenue. Later it was kept by J. H. Thorn, W. F. Orcutt, Richard Somers, Cyrus Adams, L. H. Ainsworth and Joseph W. Towne, and was destroyed by the fire of 1871.1
Chicago Illustrated, June, 1866
Lake Street from this view will be readily recognized by any one who has ever visited Chicago. It is represented east from State street to the Great Railroad Depot.
On the north side of the street is the row of ten iron-front buildings. The buildings extend from Lake street 180 feet to an alley 30 feet wide. These were the first iron-front buildings erected in Chicago, and they were commenced in 1857-8. These buildings are owned by various persons, and are occupied by wholesale establishments. East of the iron buildings are three stores with marble fronts. East of Wabash Avenue, extending to Michigan Avenue, is a marble block occupied by wholesale establishments. At the corner of Michigan Avenue, is the Adams House, a large five-story hotel, which extends to Depot place, upon the east side of which is the great depot of the Illinois Central, Michigan Central, and other railroads. The south side of the street is improved by buildings of the same class, and occupied also by wholesale houses.
At the south-east corner of State and Lake streets is the City Hotel, a celebrated hotel in Chicago in former days. It is the only one of the comparatively small buildings of former times that has not been replaced by the stately and costly edifices which adorn the other parts of the street.
James W. Sheahan, Esq.,
1867 Edwards’ Directory of the City of Chicago
Map of the Business Portion of Chicago
Lake Street east from State in 1868. At the northeast corner of Lake Street is the hardware store of Seeberger and Breakey, next is the clothing jobbing house of Tuttle, Thompson and Wetmore. At the northeast corner of Wabash Avenue the wholesale drug house of J H Reed and Company appears. At the southeast corner of State, on the right, is Stiles Burton’s City Hotel, J. W. Towne, proprietor.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
The Land Owner, January, 1873
THE OLD CITY HOTEL BLOCK.
The “old city hotel,” located at the southeast corner of Lake and State streets was, before the fire, one of Chicago’s landmarks, as its erection dates back to the early days of the growing city. Around the old structure cluster many fond memories, still cherished by our early citizens, so many of whom lately have passed off the stage to give place to the rebuilders of the city they saw grow up so rapidly and destroyed to suddenly. But the “old city hotel” is no more. On its site the Burtons have erected a magnificent mercantile structure, which our artist has carefully shown in the engraving shown herewith. This building was, immediately upon its completion, or in fact before it was completed, so imperative are the demands of trade, taken possession of by the extensive and well-known leather firm of Page Bros. & Co., who we know are located there, and carrying on their large business within its walls, with everything as comfortable and pleasant about them as if they or the leather houses of Boston, with whom they compete successfully for the trade of the West, never had been burned out.
Before the fire, this house was located at 50 Lake street, where their large stock was consumed. But they immediately established themselves at 35 and 37 South Canal street, soon had the most complete stock in store, and went on with their business again its old channel. At the latter location they remained until the new building was ready for their occupancy.
In the this connection, and while congratulating Page Bros. & Co. upon their elegant new quarters, it may not be amiss to speak somewhat of their antecedents. The senior member of the firm, Wm. W. Page, Esq., is a member of the great leather house of Cragin Page & Co., of Boston, where he resides, and where he has been engaged in the leather business for 25 years. The other members of the firm, who manage the house here, are Orville Page and Clinton E. Page, both gentlemen well known in both commercial and social circles in Chicago. Both have been engaged in the leather trade all their lives, and are perfectly familiar with the business in all its various details. They are gentlemen of integrity, close business habits, and have but one object in view, and that the success of their house, it being their ambition to lead the leather trade of the West, which they undoubtedly do.
The large new building which we illustrate is crowded with an immense stock of leather, findings, all kinds of boot and shoe manufacturers’ goods, etc., fresh and complete. Here they have ample room for their trade. The building is provided with steam elevators, heated by steam, and in arranging their stock they have had especial care to so place their goods that the buyer has little difficulty in personally seeing whatever he wants.
The “old city hotel” corner is one of the very best in the city. Here is the junction of all the west and south side lines of street cars, the depots and hotels are convenient, and the site is in every way a peculiarly desirable one.
The Land Owner notes with much satisfactory the re-establishment of such houses as this in better quarters than before the fire. It is an evidence of our wonderful growth and vitality as a city, and the staunch character of our leading merchants, always the life of the metropolis.
Chicago Tribune, November 22, 1872
Almost immediately after the 1871 Chicago fire, Mr. Towne reopened the City Hotel on the SE corner of State and Sixteenth streets. It had accommodations for 100 guests.
1 Stiles Burton purchased the lot on the southeast corner of State and Lake streets from the U.S. Government.