“Benjamin Marshall’s greatest hotel accomplishment was arguably the Edgewater Beach complex (1916-28), of which he was president. Contract books show that, as with several of his other hotels, and even some large houses like the Eckhart mansion, Marshall Field & Company provided all the furnishings, from the silverware and china to the chairs and carpets, it being customary at the time for large department stores to have comprehensive decorating services.
“The two hotels – an eight-floor, X-shaped building from 1916 and an eighteen-story tower from 1923 – along with an adjacent apartment building/hotel built in 1927-28, encompassing more than 1,000 rooms, as well as a private beach, exotically detailed theme restaurants the Polynesian Room and the nautical Yacht Club, gardens, a golf course, radio station WEBH, motor coach services, and even airplane rides. These elements all combined to create a resort in the city, with the likes of Xavier Cugat, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Hoffa, and Babe Ruth as guests and participants in this urban theater.
“The Edgewater Beach was so well known that it had its own cookbook, Arnold Shircliffe’s popular Edgewater Beach Hotel Salad Book (1926). Sadly, nothing of either hotel survives today, except for the Edgewater Beach Apartments.”
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