La Salle Chicago   Iroquois
Sheridan   Faust
Blackstone (IL)   Netherland
Rosslyn   Blackstone (TX)
Adolphus   Rice
Morrison   Book-Cadillac
Duluth   Hamilton
Lexington   Syracuse
Dayton Biltmore   Lamar
Schroeder   Pittsburgher
Maryland   Sherman
Breevort   YMCA
Bismarck   Deshler-Wallick
Atlantic   Biltmore
Bethlehem   Cornhusker



My experiences with old hotels is always the same: hushed awe over the public spaces, grim disappointment with the rooms. Nowadays we expect space, and amenities, big TVs, showers with pressure enough to paste you against the wall. Back then?

A bed. Perhaps a radio, when those became popular. Perhaps circulating ice water, to help with hot humid days. Oh, some suites were grand, if you had Rockefeller money, but the real grandeur was downstairs in the public spaces.

Every city of a certain size had one. It could be 15 stories. It could be forty. But they all had the same style, the same posture, the same commanding power. To this day the largest of the breed look impossibly huge; a forty-story brick tower with three wings looks far more massive than a sixty-story tower clad in glass.

Here's a few examples. The LaSalle collection has more pictures of public spaces than any other, because someone who collected them sold his stuff or passed them to heirs who could not care less. The great New York hotels are elsewhere for the most part; you'll find them here if you're still in the mood for more. The Minneapolis examples are here. Enjoy!