The Shoreland Hotel, completed in 1926 on the lakefront in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, stands as one of the city’s largest and most prominent early-twentieth-century apartment hotels. Residential or “apartment” hotels like the Shoreland, which combined elements of apartment and hotel living and could be tailored to accommodate working-, middle-, and upper-class residents, emerged as a new urban residential building type in the late-nineteenth century and proliferated during the 1910s and 1920s in the city’s lakefront neighborhoods. The Shoreland Hotel is a reflection of the rapid growth and expansion of the city during the 1920s, when skyrocketing land values, advancing building technologies, and shifting tastes regarding apartment living made apartment hotels a popular housing choice. The thirteen-story, U-shaped Shoreland Hotel was designed by Meyer Fridstein with Spanish
Renaissance Revival style terra-cotta detailing. The Shoreland’s sheer size, its composition, and the quality of its overall design, which featured face brick and terra-cotta ornamentation on all four elevations, served to distinguish the building from other luxury high-rise apartment hotels that rose along the lakefront in communities north and south of the city’s central business district.
The Shoreland Hotel was a major center of Hyde Park social life during the first half of the twentieth century. During the fifty years that it served as a luxury apartment hotel, the Shoreland hosted such famous (and infamous) individuals as Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Al Capone, Jimmy Hoffa, and Elvis Presley. The originally lavish public spaces on the first and second floors—including a double-height lobby with mezzanine, opulent public and private dining rooms, and a large ballroom—also served as meeting and event spaces for Hyde 2 Park social circles.
Situated at the entrance to the Hyde Park neighborhood just north of Jackson Park and facing the lakefront across Promontory Point, the Shorel and Hotel is a distinctive visual presence on the lakefront. The Building was completed just as the last stages of the city’s massive South Park Development plans were being implemented, and the owners and operators of the Shoreland viewed their hotel as an integral part of the improvements along Hyde Park’s shoreline.