Built by prominent hoteliers Tracy and John Drake between 1908 and 1910,
the Blackstone is considered one of the city’s finest examples of a turn-of-the century
historic hotels in Chicago. The Beaux-Art architectural landmark was designed by
the architectural firm Marshall & Fox and named for Timothy Blackstone,
the president of the Illinois Central Railroad, whose mansion had stood on
Recognized as America’s “Hotel of Presidents”, The Blackstone opened
April 16, 1910, with a gala supper party honoring opera legend, Enrico
Caruso, who had earlier performed at the Auditorium Theater. That elegant
debut in the Edwardian age of high silk hats and full evening dresses set an
singular tone and an international mystique for The Blackstone which was
to stage scores of glamorous parties and numerous significant political and
cultural events until its demise.
For many decades, The Blackstone was considered to be Chicago’s premier
luxury hotel, playing host to twelve U.S. Presidents (more below), royalty,
numerous celebrities including Rudolph Valentino, Joan Crawford, Lena
Horne, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Betty Davis, Truman Capote,
Tennessee Williams, and Carl Sandburg who celebrated his 75th birthday
there. It was a favored playground for America’s industrial scions as
well—the Rockefellers, Astors, Morgans, Vanderbilts and Whitneys.
The downtown Chicago hotel was shuttered in 1999 (it was briefly held by the Maharishi
Yogi, the Beatles’ guru), and acquired by Sage Hospitality, the Denver, CO
–based hospitality company that transformed the shuttered landmark into a
world-class luxury hotel with a benchmark $128 million renovation. Located
in the heart of the city’s arts and theatre district.
Located at 636 South Michigan Avenue, in the heart of the city’s arts and
theater district -adjacent to the world class Millennium Park, The
Blackstone represents yet another significant development milestone in the
renaissance of Chicago’s South Loop downtown.