Sunday, June 08, 2008

Purple Prose

Not long ago, I wrote professionally about the Purple Hotel in Lincolnwood, Illinois. Lincolnwood is a small inner suburb north of Chicago, barely distinguishable to the untrained eye from, say, Skokie.

The Purple Hotel itself is in fact purple on the outside. On the inside, it's a realm of mold, mice and other tenants of a vacant building, and it will soon be demolished for new development. As far as I know, few mourn its loss, though people who grew up in the northern suburbs reportedly feel a touch nostalgic for the property, which reportedly had a heyday in the 1960s and '70s.

Not long after I filed the Purple Hotel story, I happened to go to a park in Skokie to attend an outdoor festival, and figured out that the Purple Hotel wasn't far away. So I went by foot the half mile or so to the site and took pictures. Here's the main entrance:

And other views.

It looks more gray than purple in these photos, but there's no doubt of the color when you're standing right next to it. Purple. Maybe it was the next big thing in 1960: hued hotels. But the concept never caught on, except for the Hotel Indigo, a small boutique chain that's part of the much larger InterContinental Hotel Group, and apparently doing a lot better than purple. There's even one near me. (The web site will talk to you, though in a pleasant voice.)

Here's the backside of the Purple Hotel. It's a little hard to see, but there are a couple of tennis courts in the picture, behind the fence. Weedy, unkempt tennis courts for post-apocalyptic games. Zombie tennis, anyone?

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At 6:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bricks were an accident. They ordered blue bricks, but the wrong color was delivered. They didn't have time to reorder, so the used the purple bricks.


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