The following is a letter we received from a new friend in the neighborhood. Thanks GW.
I grew up in Chicago’s Del Prado Hotel in the 1940s and early 50s, when my father was general manager of the hotel. Today I was in contact with a sports autograph authentication company regarding my childhood autograph book with signatures of close to 50 American League players (especially NY Yankees, my favorites) and a Del Prado Hotel postcard written to me by Joe DiMaggio (addressed by my father). Nostalgia inspired me to Google the hotel’s history, and I perused the summary on your Mac Properties website, as well as others, and I was very disappointed to see that an important part of the hotel’s history seems to have been forgotten.
I believe starting in the late 1930s, but certainly through the 40s and into the early 50s, all visiting American League teams stayed at the Del Prado when they were in town to play the White Sox. When a team was in town, its huge banner hung near one corner of the lobby. Players ate in the dining room, most of them at a couple of large round team tables (though I do remember Ted Williams dining alone at a small table just inside the dining room). When the Athletics/White Sox games were in the afternoon, Connie Mack was often sitting in one of a pair of hi-backed chairs facing the dining room door, where he could greet his players as they finished dinner.
Many other notables visited the hotel. There was a cocktail lounge between the elevators and dining room that hosted Frank Sinatra on more than one occasion. The hotel was unique among its peers in having an almost total absence of crime, and we learned the reason when “Camel” Humphries (one of Al Capone’s henchmen) was seen visiting his mother, the sweet little old lady that lived down the hall from us; he was the hotel’s protector.
There was much that made the Del Prado a special place. I hope that you will consider researching and preserving more of its history, especially from the era when so many baseball greats stayed there on a regular basis.
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