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Sherman House III
Life Span: 1873-1909
Location: NW corner of N Clark & W Randolph streets
Architect:W. W. Boyington
The Sherman House was one of the “Big Four” of the post-fire hotels including the Palmer House, the Grand Pacific and the Tremont House. It was the third Sherman House in Chicago on that location.
While the new hotel was being built, William Sherman rented the Gault House on Madison and Clinton streets. The frontage ran 181 feet on Clark Street and 160 feet on Randolph Street. It was replaced in 1911 by 11 stories of the fourth Sherman Hotel.
Bissell & Hulbert were the proprietors of the New Sherman House, which opened May 1873, Alvin Hulbert taking it alone in a few years. Later the property was bought from the Sherman family by J. Irving Pearce, who conducted it for several years until it was torn down and rebuilt in 1911.
The Sherman was a house for merchants and theatrical people. Here Long John Wentworth spent the last years of his life. Guests included Lincoln, Douglas, Andrew Jackson, Grant, Weston the walker, Paropa Rosa, Booth, Caroline Richings and many others of note. The Sherman House is one of two great resorts of chess-players, the other being the Tremont.
Sherman House III
The Land Owner
Sherman House III
Andreas’ History of Chicago
From the 1873 Official Catalogue of the International Exposition:
OPENING OF THE NEW SHERMAN HOUSE
The world-wide celebrated Sherman House, again rebuilt on the old site, was opened on April 10th, 1873.
The Sherman House, for many years having enjoyed the confidence and patronage of a very large portion of the American traveling public, and nearly all of the Foreign travel, again throws open its doors to the world under the most favorable auspices.
The House is built in the most thorough manner possible, and with all modern improvements;
Contains 300 of the finest Rooms in any Hotel on the Continent
and more expensively furnished. Every room has a fire alarm connecting with the main office. The entire house is fire proof, all partitions being brick, and all floors built in Paris style, with cement between all joists. The Rotunda occupies nearly the entire first floor. Two Grand Entrances, one on Clark and one on Randolph Street; Ladies’ Entrance on Randolph Street. Tuft’s largest size Passenger Elevator running from first floor. In fact, the house is fitted with all modern improvements that can add to the comfort of guests.
Lakeside Monthly, October, 1872
The old Sherman House was the pride of all Chicago people; and when it fell in the general ruin on the ninth of last October, probably no item of the long roll of destruction more thoroughly impressed the people all over the country with the profundity of our disaster, than the words which told that the Sherman House was no more. It was completed in the year 1861.
The reconstructed hotel has reached the completion of its walls. It stands on the same site as its predecessor, and has a frontage of 160 feet on Randolph street by 181¼ on Clark street. It rises to the exceptional altitude of seven stories above the basement, and will overtop the greater share of the buildings of the new city. It will contain 275 rooms. The exterior is constructed of a fine dark steel—colored sandstone, from the quarries of Illinois on the Kankakee river. It is built in accordance with the provisions of the will of the late F. C. Sherman, and is to be held in trust for the benefit of the heirs. Its cost will not be less than $600,000, while the land upon which it stands is valued at $400,000. This beautiful structure comprises, in its details, all the most recent improvements in hotel architecture, and is far superior, in its conveniences and in the elegance of its workmanship, to the hotel which stood in the same place one year ago.
Sherman House III
From Chicago’s First Half Century, 1833-1883
THE SHERMAN HOUSE.
AN HOTEL WITH A REPUTATION.
The history of Chicago could not be accurately written without a reference to the historical Sherman House and its proprietor, J. Irving Pearce, one of the oldest and best known hotel men in Chicago, who kept the Adams House, at the corner of Lake street and Michigan avenue, when the place where the new Board of Trade now stands was a cow pasture.
Mr. Pearce was for many years President of the Third National Bank of Chicago, but became proprietor of the Sherman House a little more than a year ago, and is now giving his whole time to the hotel business. Since he became proprietor, he has put entirely new furniture throughout the house, and it is now not surpassed by any hotel in the country for the attractions “and advantages it offers to tne traveler. Its rooms are larger and more convenient than those of any other hotel in the country and are luxuriously furnished.
The location, at the corner of Clark and Randolph streets, opposite the Court House, is in the exact center of the business district of the city, and within a block of the Beard of Trade and telegraph offices. The ticket offices of all the railroads are immediately under or around the Sherman House, and it is within two minutes’ walk of the principal theaters
The Inter Ocean, September 12, 1909
As the lights of Chicago’s rialto dim at 2 o’clock this morning the famous old Sherman house, for fifty-two years the resort of politicians and theatrical folk, became a thing of memory.
The Sherman house, in which the nation’s notables of the political and theatrical world were frequent guests, is no more. The Sherman house in time to come will become the Hotel Sherman, but never again will it be the Sherman house, and today nearly all Chicago’s actors, actresses, soubrettes and near soubrettes will weep.
It was big night, was this formal closing of Chicago’s famous hostelry, for it meant the passing of an inn that had withstood Chicago’s fire and the modern builder’s art.
The tables at the College inn last night were all reserved and around them were gathered those who have watched the Sherman house grow for years. All the theatrical stars at present in Chicago were present. Raymond Hitchcock and his wife, Flora Zabelle, Lawrence Wheat and Walter Jones, Henrietta Crissman, Elsie Janis, Macklyn Arbuckle, Edmund Breese, Helen Ware, Herbert Waters, Paul Dickey and a hundred more whose names are known throughout the land of theatricals were all present.
Randolph and Clark streets has made a name for itself in the West and Middle West. Through the Chicago fire, through the vicissitudes of financial panics and change of owners the name of the Sherman house had stood foremost in Chicago among members of the theatrical profession and among politicians, especially among Democrats.
Last night the closing of the register denoted the formal closing of the hotel until the present structure has been torn down and a new $3,000,000 building is erected on the present site. The building, it is expected, will be done in fifteen months.
The history of the Sherman house in a way is the history of Chicago. Farther back than the remembrances of Fernando Jones reach the site of Clark and Randolph streets has been used for a hotel.
In the Chicago fire the old building was burned, and after it the Sherman house was built. Three generations of Shermans, all Franks, were proprietors in succession, and gave their name to the hotel. After them came J. Irving Pierce, who was in charge of the hotel for nearly twenty years, or until his death. Joseph Beifeld became the owner of the hotel five years ago, and will be in charge of the new building when it is finished.
The Sherman house has always been associated in name with the theatrical profession. Joseph Jefferson, Maurice Barrymore and others of the old school of dramatists always made it their home. And in the later days many a star has made it a point to register from the Sherman house.
For years the hotel has been the headquarters of the Democratic party in Chicago, both for state, county, or national gatherings. William Jennings Bryan has been at the hotel during each of his trips to Chicago, and Roger Sullivan’s “round table” has been one of the features of the hotel.
The “round table” was the table set apart each day for Mr. Sullivan at noontime, during which he, J. J. McLaughlin, John P. Hopkins, Walter Lantz, Bernard J. Mullaney and other lieutenants of Mr. Sullivan had their luncheon and gossiped concerning things political. Many a shrewd political deal, it is said, was conceived over the tables of the Sherman house.
When the hotel closed last night there were several employes whom left their posts with something more than regret. Edward Denahy and Michael O’Brien, the clerks, had both been employes of the hotel for more than a quarter of a century, both having worked up from bell boys. Frank Manton, steward of the hotel, has just finished twenty-seven years of service for the Sherman house. All of these employes will take vacations and return to the new hotel in their old capacities.
Manager to Remain.
Frank Bering, manager of the hotel, will continue to superintend the construction of the new building.
Besides these employes, there were several chambermaids, cooks and porters who have been at the hotel for years. Just before the hotel was formally closed Mr. Beifeld gathered all the old employes together and said good-by to them, and told them that he expected to see them all again when the new building opened.
During the construction of the new Sherman house the College inn will be runb at a new builsing at Clark near Washington street.
The Inter Ocean, March 10, 1909
The first step toward the rejuvenation of the Sherman house was taken yesterday when Joseph Beifeld, its owner, signed a lease for the property at 122 and 124 Clark street, known as the “Round Bar building,” where the new College in will be located after Oct. 1, 1909.
The building is five stories high, with a basement, and the rental will be the $13,000 for the first ten years, $12,500 for the second ten years, and $15,000 a year for the remaining ten years. Mr. Beinfeld will spend $20,000 remodeling the building for the buffet on the first floor and the New College inn on the second floor. The other floors will be used as offices of the new Sherman house. The restaurant will be continued after the new Sherman house is erected.
The work of wrecking the Sherman house will be begun Oct. 1.
Sherman House III
Robinson Map 1886
Volume 3, Plate 1