Chicago Landmarks

Blackstone Hotel

Michigan Ave. elevation     Address: 636 S. Michigan Ave.
Year Built: 1908 - 1910
Architect: Marshall & Fox
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: April 29, 1998

View from S. Michigan Ave. Considered the city's best example of a turn-of-the-century luxury hotel, the Blackstone also represents--both its exterior and interior--an excellent and rare example of the Modern French style of Beaux-Arts, (Classical Revival) architecture. Built by prominent hoteliers Tracy and John Drake, the Blackstone became known as the "Hotel of Presidents," serving as host to a dozen U.S. Presidents, including Woodrow Wilson, Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. The Blackstone was the location of the famous "smoke-filled rooms" where Warren G. Harding was chosen as the compromise Republican nominee for President in June 1920. (The term, which has since become a political cliche, was coined by a reporter covering the convention.) The hotel was named for Timothy B. Blackstone, a prominent railroad executive and the founding president of the Union Stock Yards, whose mansion had stood on the site.