Wednesday, November 02, 2016


She sits along the river, overlooking a beautiful waterfront of Lake Michigan, filled with a history that goes back over 100 years. In those many year's famous people came to gather and plan the history of America and perhaps the world, too. Presidents such as Polk, Harding, Van Buren and Harrison all visited the Congress Hotel planning their political strategies.

Once upon a time she stood majestically on her footprint, overlooking the growing second city, the city in the garden as they say, and over the many years is now draught by the rising physical presence of upstarts and growing financial interests. She sought to overcome that presence and join the elite by building a tower to supplement her client's demand and keep pace within a few short years of her existence.

Congress Plaza Hotel holds many secrets, among them the aging charm is mixed within its walls with the rumors of ghosts without reservations, who roam the halls and create a sense of intrigue and folklore, maybe residents from days gone by?

But when you enter the Lady by the Lake, beware of her majestic charm which overwhelms you upon entering. The marble floors bustle with people coming and going, but the ceilings give testimony to another time and day. If there is one word that aptly describes the Congress Hotel, it is Gilded.

The ceilings were restored to their old world elegance and pre-20th Century charm, a gilded age of architecture and growth both for Chicago and the beautiful lady. Her room doors hold their numbers in brass plates with Times Roman-like fonts, lions etched out to fortify the doors with knobs so old that they must have been the original, only to be contrasted by the modern technologies of room keys that get one into his room by a tap on a pad.

Everyone should have the experience of going back into time, into the days when we did not exist but feel the reverence for the past, and the awe of its splendor and majesty. It reminds us of how far we have come from the past, but that the past was wonderful and beautiful in its own light.

I once visited the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. It too was in so many ways the same experience for me as the Congress Hotel. These old hotels are part of Americana, part of the glorious past of a growing America as she flexed her mighty muscles are and bared a chest of hard work and determination of her peoples. We need to restore that flavor of America to remind us of that past, no always good, but not always bad.


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