Considered by many as Chicago’s First Great Hotel, The Palmer House is up for sale.
The historic hotel is probably most famous for the on-the-premises invention of one of America’s most beloved confections: the chocolate brownie. Bertha Palmer is responsible for our added waistline inches and dental caries, all of course well worth it. She was married to Potter Palmer, the man responsible for the success of the grand hotel. Here is how it happened:
“Bertha Palmer, who was president of the Ladies Managers of the World’s Fair, was doing box lunches for all the guests but she wanted something other than piece of pie or cake. So she came to the hotel and charged the chef to make something like a cookie. Denser, like a cookie, but chocolatier. She loved chocolate. And ergo, the brownie,” Palmer House historian Ken Price said.
It is not just brownies that has made Palmer House special. Less than two weeks after Palmer House opened on September 26th, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire left the hotel nothing but a pile of ash. From the ashes rose the second incarnation of the hotel two years later, setting several precedents for their new establishment.
Price explained: “First, totally fireproof building. Second, is first utilization of Edison’s invention the lightbulb, Bell’s invention of the telephone, and actually this contraption called the vertical railroad, which became the Otis Elevator.”