This is the lobby of the apartment hotel at 831 West Wilson in 1976. The building had obviously seen better days. The manager at the front desk hid behind a plywood and metal grate cage. Even the Chicago Tribune news box looked like it was reinforced with steel. They must have had a recent robbery. The hand painted sign above the front desk says, “Absolutely no cash accepted after February 1, 1976. Free money orders issued at the Wilson & Kenmore Currency Exchange.” Note the state of the plaster in the ceiling.
Ironically, hotels like this made Uptown an attractive place to live for young professionals in the area’s heyday back in the 1920s. As Uptown aged, the hotels began catering to the City’s less fortunate. The small apartments were all they could afford. Today, Google Maps street view shows that this building has been torn down. The address is a vacant lot. Some of Uptown’s other apartment hotels and properties have been renovated and updated by a company called FlatsChicago. I’m in Chicago visiting the old neighborhood as I write this and am astounded at how much it has changed.