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Friday, October 21, 2011

Today's OTR: NBC presents Jerry Gray and his Band of Today.....6-8-1951 Edgewater Beach Hotel-Chicago

A nice, smoooth one, today.........for your dancing pleasure.....the mellow, Miller-esque sounds of the Jerry Gray band, direct from the beautiful beach walk of The Edgewater Beach Hotel, in Chicago. June 8, 1951. Tommy Traynor, and Tony Gray on vocals. Very nice.

Jerry with Artie Shaw

A rare pic of the Edgewater from it's earliest years

A note on the Edgewater:

The Edgewater Beach Hotel was a hotel in the far-north neighborhood community of Edgewater in Chicago, Illinois. Built in 1916 and owned by John Tobin Connery and James Patrick Connery, it was located between Sheridan Road and Lake Michigan at Berwyn Avenue. 

The complex had a private beach and offered seaplane service to downtown Chicago. During its lifetime, the hotel served many famous guests including Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, Tallulah Bankhead, and Nat King Cole, and U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The hotel was known for hosting big bands such as the bands of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Xavier Cugat, and Wayne King, which were also broadcast on the hotel's own radio station, a precursor to WGN with the calls WEBH.

On June 14, 1949, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Eddie Waitkus was shot and nearly killed by an obsessive fan at the hotel; this later would be a large part of the inspiration behind Bernard Malamud's novel The Natural.

The 1951–54 extension of Lake Shore Drive from Foster Avenue to Hollywood Avenue cut the hotel off from the beach leading to a reduction in business. The hotel closed in 1967 and the main buildings were demolished shortly after.The Edgewater Beach Co-op or Apartments, built in 1928, is the only part of the hotel complex to survive and is part of the Bryn Mawr Historic District where many Art Deco buildings can be found.

The developers also built a sister hotel, the Edgewater Gulf Hotel, in Biloxi, Mississippi. Both projects were designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Marshall and Fox.

 The apartments today


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