Valentine’s Day 2011

It may seem odd that I chose to follow up my valentines day cynicism with a post about my Valentines Day, and it is. But, this post is not truly about my Valentines Day– it is about another treat in the “year of the honeymoon”.

On Friday afternoon, my husband surprised me with a hotel key. The key was for a room at the Palmer House in Chicago. I was ecstatic. The Palmer House is a historic hotel in Chicago and I wanted to stay there since I heard its story three years before.

Potter Palmer is one of the Chicago legends; his money, ideas, and luck helped create Chicago. For years he was successful in business ventures, amassing the fortune. Yet, for all his luck in business, he was not so lucky in love. He was 44 years old before he finally married. His wife was 21-year-old Bertha Honore. Yet, despite the age difference, their marriage was a love match.

As a wedding gift to Bertha, Palmer built the Palmer House. Tragically, it burned down shortly after in the Great Chicago Fire. However tragedy did not stop Potter Palmer from giving the gift to his wife. He immediately set about rebuilding the Palmer House, taking out an immense loan to cover the costs. He built the Palmer House bigger and grander than the original; installing marble floors, an entrance for women, and luxurious surroundings.

And, although it was rebuilt again in 1925, the Potter House still stands in Chicago. A testament of Potter’s love for his young bride.

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