Ohio House Motel Chicago – a survivor

Distinguished by its fabulous diamond shaped exterior, the Ohio House is a fabulous example of mid-century architecture right in the middle of downtown Chicago.

historic-postcard1Other architectural points of interest include the matching suspended sign, held up by a geometric metal grid which is itself reflected in the pattern block fence that runs along Ohio Street. Rough-faced stone walls and a large stainless steel sign on the east facade add to it’s distinctly Chicago Mid-Century design.

The architect for the motel was Arthur Salk of Shayman and Salk, who also designed the Summit Motel on Lincoln and the LaSalle Motor Lodge at LaSalle & Superior (now a Howard Johnson); the firm’s stamp was also on many apartment buildings in the inner suburbs.

ohio-house-motelAccording to the webite, in the late 1990s, as the neighborhood transitioned from seedy to gentrified, the motel’s owner planned to demolish the motel and replace it with a far larger chain franchise. The building’s demolition was announced as imminent in 2001. Yet the plans never went through, and the motel still offers clean and remarkably affordable rooms right in downtown.

Again in 2013, there was some discussion about where the restuarant part of the motel would go, when a Chicago Business Publication wrote about the restaurant closing. Area residents guessed that it would go the way of the chains “With the growth of corporate chains with deep pockets like Corner Bakery and Panera Bread, independently owned diners are finding it harder to hang onto their perches.“They’re trying to close places like this down (because) these places cut into their profits,” said Ms. Roquemore, who began waiting tables at Ohio House 30 years ago before buying it in 2004.”” However in 2014 another article predicted the new “hip, happenin’ fried chicken joint” could be it’s savior.

By all reports it’s still going – anyone been to visit lately?


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