HOTELS: Old Wine, New Bottle

For 75 years, Chicago's plush-and-horsehair Palmer House has been a gradually fading symbol of baroque elegance. It has also been a prime financial asset of Chicago's elegant Potter Palmer family. Last week, the Palmer House passed from the Palmers to Hotelman Conrad Nicholson Hilton, the latest addition to his $100,000,000 hotel chain.* In payment, Honore Palmer, son of the "titan of State Street" who grubbed up the family fortune, got $20,000,000 from Hotelman Hilton. The old hotel was the biggest item in the Potter Palmer estate.

In 1865, Potter Palmer, a bearded,...

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