About This Item
documented 19th century ornamental cast iron interior freestanding staircase riser fragment salvaged from the non-extant historic chicago lexington hotel. the refinished iron fragment features a repeating dart and scroll design motif on both sides. the exact fabricator or foundry is not known. the neoclassical style hotel lexington building was designed by architect clinton j. warren. in a four-year span (from 1889 to 1893) warren designed the congress hotel, the leander mccormick apartments, the metropole hotel, the plaza hotel and the lexington. the congress hotel is the only extant building. opened in 1892 in anticipation of the worlds columbian exposition, one of the lexingtons first tenants was president benjamin harrison who stayed there while dedicating the chicago worlds fair. al capone moved his headquarters two blocks north from the metropole hotel in 1928, taking up residence on the fourth and fifth floors of the lexington. capones personal suite was on the fifth floor of the hotel, with a living room on the southwest corner of the building, featuring a prominent bay window that afforded him a view of michigan avenue and 22nd street. the lexington was renamed the new michigan hotel in 1938. the hotel became increasingly surrounded by blight after world war ii, and descended into a haven for prostitutes and transients. the hotel officially closed in 1980. by 1985, the endangered hotel was placed on the national register of historic places. yet it was an abandoned hulk and a blight on the neighborhood– covered by soot, boarded up on the ground floor, raided by vandals, and its upper floor windows broken and exposed to the elements. the building was finally demolished in 1996 by national wrecking.