Southmoor Hotel


In 1924 the Southmoor Hotel opened on the northwest corner of Stony Island Avenue and 67th Street. With 300 elegant rooms and a prime location at the southwest entrance to Jackson Park, it soon became a jewel of the South Shore community.

The Southmoor was one of many residential hotels that once dotted Chicago’s finer neighborhoods. Two historic events distinguished the Southmoor from the others. Most famously, The Woodlawn Organization was formally organized during a meeting at the hotel in 1962. A lesser-known incident occurred seven years earlier–during his first Chicago concert tour, Elvis Presley hid out from his fans in the Southmoor.


The hotel started to slide in 1969, when management unknowingly hired some members of a local street gang. Within months the gangbangers had run off the residents and the other employees, and established the Southmoor as their headquarters.

A Time magazine story on this particular form of adaptive re-use didn’t sit well with Mayor Richard J. Daley. The city seized the building, kicked out the thugs, and launched a fruitless search for someone who’d restore the property. In 1977, shortly after I took the photo of the vacant hulk, the Southmoor was demolished.





4 Responses to “Southmoor Hotel”

  1. 1 Rochelle e June 25, 2015 at 7:43 am

    My Dad had a cleaning plant there and we lived on the ninth floor. His name was Frank Masters Johnson. I remember Jeff Fort, one of the leaders of the Black StoneRangers use to come there to get his clothes cleaned. My Dad was able to establish a respectable business relationship with him and they never did anything to harm the business. They would march down Stony Island. It was a beautiful residential hotel. Next door was Cloud Nine a nite club where he met a beautiful woman and married her. He was a respected business man. After the hotel was closed he opened several businesses in the South Shore community and remained there for thirty plus years.

  2. 3 Antonia August 10, 2015 at 2:49 am

    Yes indeed!!! Embracing the memories of the prestigious Southmoor Hotel on ChiTowns southside…showcasing an elegant reception area adjacent to the meeting and banquet halls complimented by great rooms/suites, convenient restaurants and valet shop own by Frank Johnson which attracted the professional boxers, M. Ali, E.Charles, pro golfers stopping in after 18 holes at the Jackson Park Golf Course, Frank was a golfer and master tailor…Cloud Nine lounge shared the same clientel next door…politicians, jazz musicians, business men and nearby merchants served by the angelic waitresses adored in leotard suits and lighted halos. Also, need to mention the dropping in of those big shot racketeers and Italian mafia. The hotel was jumping BUT as the neighborhood declined with the infiltration of the Blackstone Rangers, Drugs and Prostitution….. area businesses closed and moved on. The Southmoor Hotel still stood tall and proud treasuring the memories until it’s demolition… Gone but not forgotten!!!

  3. 4 Johnnia Finch March 1, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Omg was a great child hood memory

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