The Mary Walker Hotel is a classic example of the Commercial Classical style from the 1920's. The Walker Hotel was the grandest highrise residential hotel and apartments Joliet ever had. The hotel was constructed from 1922 to 1924 and was originally announced in the newspapers as the Ambassador. This name was quickly discarded though and the hotel was named for its owner Mary Walker. The Walker Hotel was one of the of the most fashionable addresses in the city. State Sen. Richard Barr maintained a city apartment here.
As apartments became more popular others retired and moved to a more comfortable setting in the hotel. One such person was Dr. Stewart who sold his home at 606 Western Ave. The hotel also housed many of the performers who came to Joliet to appear at the Rialto such as the Three Stooges. The hotel offered many amenities including full banquet hall in the basement, coffee shop and barber shop on the 1st floor and a penthouse club room with solarium. The hotel apartments were glamorous with pianos and fine furnishings. The hotel was the first major building to be completely wired for radio. Over the years the hotel has seen many changes including servicing a grade school in what used to be the ballroom in the 1940's.
MARY WALKER HOTEL
Mary Walker was a Joliet pioneer in her time. She started her own door, sash and lumber company known as the Joliet Sash and Door Co. which was located on Bluff St.
She retired from her company in 1921. Mary then began the construction of the Mary Walker hotel on the corner of Western Ave. and Pine St. in 1922. In 1927 Mary Walker ran for mayor of Joliet finishing third out of five. Mary passed away August 29, 1960.
*Credited to Historic Impressions by Seth Magosky