One of my qualities is that I like to be thorough with my research – but this can also be a shortcoming because I don’t always get around to sitting down and writing my local history blog posts. That is very much what happened with my long-neglected Tower Hotel Courts blog series I never started.
Rather than one blog or a consecutive set of blogs, I will present information periodically. I have too many interesting pieces not to share. And this particular post has my very prized photo.
Years ago I worked in an unsafe neighborhood. To make the daily commute through that part of town interesting, I researched the history of the area. I set out to prove the area was vibrant and safe at some point in history. When I asked elders who would have been familiar with the area’s history, they were firm in their belief that the area was always a bit sketchy. No one I spoke to could fathom the area was nice.
However, if you go back in time far enough, as Paula Bosse did in her blog on Harry Hines, you’ll be surprised to discover the area was a family-friendly destination. Check out Paula Bosse’s blog post, ‘”The Riviera of the South” — On Harry Hines!’ Her blog discusses an enchanting place, the Tower Hotel Courts that was minutes from where I worked.
Paula’s blog filled my imagination every time I drove by the spot where the Tower Hotel Courts was located. It was a wonderful escape that quickly escalated into a hobby. I collected every bit of ephemera I could find for the Tower Hotel Courts and tracked down every conceivable news article. In my mind I became the unofficial caretaker of a motel that no longer exists but its spirit lives on. Well, it was meant to live on once I got around to sharing all my research material!
For this post, I will present two matchbooks I purchased on eBay.
Below is the inside of the matchbook cover. Look at all the amenities! Can you imagine this simpler time? Also, take note of the font style of the word “tower”. We will revisit later.
Here’s a rabbit hole you can go down: Note the matchbooks say “Recommended by Duncan Hines”. If you look up Duncan Hines, you’ll learn he’s more than a cake mix! As the NPR website points out, he wrote a book on restaurants to eat across America. And to think, our very own Tower Hotel Courts was endorsed by him!
Below is a much smaller matchbook cover, featuring the Tower Hotel Courts Coffee Shop.
Below is the inside of the small matchbook cover. Very much enlarged for you to read. I do wonder about the “Completely fireproof modern theatre on premises.” I suspect it was fireproof through the wonders of asbestos.
Now that you have a nice visual of the wonders of the Tower Hotel Courts on 10108 Harry Hines Blvd, let’s take a look at what remains, as of 2018 when I took the photos. Click the images to view enlarged versions.
The tiles are clues to the past. Can you imagine walking across the tile in your best clothing to go to the Bamboo Room?
My prized photo is below. Take a close look – you can see the word “tower” in the tile. The letter “t” matches the style on the matchbook cover. When my friend Tore and I discovered this, you’d think we won the lotto. It was such a fun discovery.
For perspective, here is a Google Maps view of the area. The red marker is what shows up when you search the address 10108 Harry Hines Blvd. I believe this has changed since I last searched a few years ago. Now the marker indicates the address is Fox Fuels. (Before the exact location of 10108 Harry Hines Blvd was a little vague.)
Below is a closer view of the area. Note the large empty plot next to Fox Fuels. (In the image, it’s the rectangular space at the top of the photo). That plot was the Tower Hotel Courts. I suspect the property for the Tower Hotel Courts extended to where Fox Fuels is located.
If you look at the corner of Willowbrook Road and Harry Hines Blvd, you see white stripes – that’s the tile I photographed with the word “tower”. 🙂
If anyone reading this post has any history or details feel free to comment.