Like most of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, the Chelsea Hotel at 924 West Wilson had a history that resembled a roller coaster. After a slide into decay after World War II, real-estate developer Leonard Richman bought the building in 1967 and converted it into a retirement hotel for seniors.
During the mid-1970s when I was photographing in Uptown, the Chelsea was one of the more upscale properties in Uptown as evidenced by this uniformed doorman. I took this shot because he seemed like a symbolic counterpoint to the poverty in much of Uptown at the time. His cape had so much panache!
In 1990, the Chelsea was purchased at a cost of $1.75 million by Jesus People USA, who refurbished it and turned it into The Friendly Towers. Today it offers affordable senior housing for “low-income, homeless, neglected, or abused senior citizens.” Another 20 years later, here is what the property looks like now in Google Maps Street View.