Entrepreneur Marshall Field introduced business partner Potter Palmer to Socialite Bertha Honore and they quickly fell in love. As a wedding gift to his new wife, Palmer built the first Palmer House Hotel, a three story edifice that opened on September 26, 1871. Unfortunately, the Great Chicago Fire occurred thirteen days later and the hotel burned down. Palmer quickly rebuilt the hotel, this time it was seven stories, with oversized rooms and luxurious decor. Constructed of iron and brick, Palmer advertised it as "the world's only fire proof hotel." This second Palmer House Hotel opened in 1875. Visitors included U.S. grant, James Garfield, Mark Twain, Grover Cleaveland, Oscar Wilde, L. Frank Baum, and Sarah Bernhardt. By 1925, a new 25 story hotel was constructed on the same location as the second Palmer House. Conrad Hilton bought the hotel in 1945. Then in 2005, it was again sold, this time to Thor Equities, and the hotel was completely renovated. Now containing 1639 rooms, the Palmer House is the second largest hotel in Chicago (after the Hyatt Regency).
Exploring the neighborhood around the Palmer House, we discovered some very interesting sights;