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Statewide Endangered

2012 Ten Most Endangered Historic Places 












Hotel Guyon

4000 W. Washington, Chicago
(Cook County)


Completed in 1928 as a residential hotel, the Hotel Guyon is a prominent West Garfield Park neighborhood landmark, which has been vacant for almost a decade. Since a 1980s renovation, the building has had numerous owners and is currently in the city’s demolition court due to numerous code violations. Despite a need for affordable and senior housing in the neighborhood, the state of the current lending market makes a renovation of this nine-story building challenging for many developers.

The Hotel Guyon was built by J. Louis Guyon, a developer who helped establish the Pulaski Road corridor as an entertainment center for the entire West Side after building his Paradise Ballroom in 1916. The residential hotel was designed by noted architect Jens J. Jensen (not related to the landscape architect Jens Jensen) and is distinguished by red and cream brick and decorative terra cotta. Jensen is noted for having designed many elegant residential hotels and apartment buildings in the city, as well as the 300 W. Adams Office Building, which is a Chicago Landmark.

The building provided apartments for a growing West Side middle class and had two high-end penthouse apartments, one occupied by Mr. Guyon. There are two large ballrooms on the second floor, which were equipped for radio broadcasting from the 1920s until the mid-1950s. For those years, large antennae were located atop the Guyon, servicing various stations, most notably WGES from the 1920s to 1942. For several years, Mr. Guyon owned WGES and used it to promote the bands and dances performing at his nearby Paradise Ballroom.

In the late 1980s, the building was purchased and renovated by the non-profit housing developer Bethel New Life to provide affordable rental apartments. Without any subsidy assistance to maintain low rents, Bethel was unable to continue operating the building and it was taken over by the Chicago Equity Fund. Later the building was sold to a developer who was unable to make needed improvements and it became vacant. Since 2005 it has changed ownership four times. City attorneys and building department officials continue to monitor the building. It is not protected with local landmark designation but is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which would allow a future developer to utilize federal rehabilitation tax credits as part of a redevelopment project.

What You Can Do


Contact the Historic Preservation Division of the City of Chicago if you have inquiries regarding the building.
(312) 744-3200

To express your concern and support for rehabilitation of the building, contact 28th Ward Alderman, Jason C. Ervin
(773) 533-0900


Additional Links


Austin Weekly News
May 9, 2012

Chicago Magazine
April 27, 2012

Hotel Guyon on Flickr

Jens J. Jensen: A Chicago Architect in the Jazz Age
John Cramer, HPRES-IST
Part One, Part Two








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