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Magic by the Lake: The Edgewater Beach Hotel

Daniel Hautzinger
The Edgewater Beach Hotel.
Image: From WTTW's 'Chicago Stories'

The Edgewater Beach Hotel was once one of the most iconic destinations in Chicago. The luxurious, pink building on the lake by Foster Avenue hosted weddings, proms, big bands, and celebrities such as Nat King Cole, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, and Babe Ruth. Its 1,000 foot beach-walk and dazzling Marine Dining Room provided a glamorous setting for local dates and foreign visitors alike. It included its own radio station, a chocolate factory, print shop, and heliport, and was the setting of a scandalous crime that nearly killed famed baseball player  Ed Waitkus. But when the city extended Lake Shore Drive north in 1953, the hotel was cut off from the lake. As social norms changed, its popularity declined, until it was suddenly closed in 1967 and torn down. Experience the wonders, stories, and glitz of the Edgewater Beach Hotel in this Chicago Stories episode from 2001.