Submitted by Geneva History Center
Do you have a story, memory or tale about Hotel Geneva? It may appear in a book with photographs and historical information from Geneva History Center archives, along with photographs taken by local photographer Brian DeWolf.
Visit Brian's Blog, www.briandewolf.com, and share your story. Your name will appear in the book with the story you write, or you can choose to have your name withheld. If you'd prefer not to blog, call the Geneva History Center (630) 232-4951 to arrange a phone interview or a personal interview with Brian.
The book will be available for sale and all proceeds will benefit the Geneva History Center.
According to the Geneva History Center's "Geneva History Minute," the building was built in 1866 at the corner of State and Third streets. Walter D. Turner, with the help of other businessmen, purchased the building and converted it into a hotel with 16 bedrooms on the third floor and five suites, with parlors and bedrooms attached, on the second floor.
In 1872, renovations were completed and the building was rented to George Hyatt of Elgin, who opened the Hyatt House Hotel with a grand opening on New Year's Eve 1872.
The property would change hands several times over the years and become the Hotel Geneva. In 1924, Oscar Nelson purchased and remodeled the hotel, adding two wings of additional rooms.
In 1937, the hotel was purchased by Dr. P. Clifford Fletcher and his wife May, who managed the hotel for 55 years, even after her husband's death.
May never modernized the Hotel Geneva, which added to the romantic charm of the old hotel. Rooms had no TVs or radios, there was no central air, no ice machines, and telephone calls were routed through a central switchboard at the front desk. May even refused to accept credit cards.
The Hotel Geneva remained a quaint reminder of simpler times. After being in operation for 120 years, the last guests checked out of the Hotel Geneva in May 1992. Today, the building provides retail space for local downtown businesses.
The hotel building, which retained much of its original furnishings, was featured in the 2002 film "Road to Perdition," which was set in the 1930s and starred Tom Hanks, Jude Law and Paul Newman.