I planned to make a couple stops Wednesday to create some images for my series The White City. The Palmer House was my first stop as this was a very prominent hotel at the time with many notable guests of the 1893 World’s Fair staying here. Potter Palmer built the original hotel as a wedding gift to his wife Bertha, which unfortunately burned down shortly after its completion in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Another was quickly built as its replacement. While the current hotel is not the 1893 rendition, Bertha still had a say in the current hotel’s design, even if she didn’t live to see its completion.
She was also tasked by Daniel Burnham to head up the Board of Lady Managers at the fair, where she was responsible for women’s issues and choosing the female architect to build the Women’s Pavilion. She’s even responsible for the invention of the brownie! She wanted a dessert for the ladies attending a special event at the Women’s Pavilion that was portable and easy to eat so she had the Palmer House pastry chefs create this new dessert.
If you’ve never been in here, at the very least, you need to walk through the lobby. Honestly, it’s quite possibly the most beautiful hotel lobby ever created. I could sit in here for hours admiring all the details, ambiance and history.
At this point I’m not quite certain which image(s), if any, to include as part of the series. As with many of the newer images I’m creating for this I need to piece everything together once I’m completely done creating the work. See what fits and what doesn’t. I’m still going to share what I’m working through with this. For some reason this just seems to help me with the process, hopefully you enjoy them.
P.S. I have to give a huge thank you to Wendy Bright of WendyCity for all this detailed information…she is a wealth of Chicago history and does tours of the Palmer House as well as many other historical Chicago sites, be sure to check her out!
Although these color versions will not be part of The White City series, I thought they might be interesting to see a more realistic representation of what part of the hotel looks like.