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Crystal Lake, IL
Lake Manor Motel
Leonard House Hotel
Hickory Manor Motel
Lake Manor Motel
The Hickory Manor Motel was located at the intersection of Routes 14 and 31, near the housing development known as Crystal Lake Manor. It opened in 1960.
Prior to the grand opening, a newspaper article listed the motel's features: 62 units, an aquacade-size pool, kitchenette facilities, complete air conditioning, individually-controlled heat, "chuck wagon" barbecues in the summer and free continental breakfasts. The owners also planned to make the swimming pool available to area residents by organizing a Cabana & Pool Club. The article touted the Hickory Manor Motel as the New Motel Of Tomorrow.
Another article published at the time of opening referred to the motel as Tomorrow's Motel Today. It was first managed by George Bergmann, who lived with his family in an apartment in the building. The owners received inquiries about permanent living quarters while the motel was still under construction.
The swimming pool measured 35' x 30' and contained 62,000 gallons of water. The Hickory Manor Swim Club was established in 1961 for area residents. Membership was limited to 20 families, and within a year 16 families had already signed up. The YMCA used the pool for swimming lessons before their indoor facility was completed in 1973. The Thunderbird Day Camp also used the pool.
The motel was purchased by William and Donald Abed in 1968 and renamed the Lake Manor Motel. In the mid 1980s, it came under new management and was renamed the Happy Family Inn. The pool was also filled in during this time.
The motel property and surrounding lots were deeded to Crystal Lake 31 & 14 LLC in 1997. The motel was torn down in 1998 and is now the site of Chuck E. Cheese, Outback Steakhouse, Men's Wearhouse and Walter E. Smithe Furniture.
Newspaper drawing published in 1960
The first Leonard Hotel was in operation from approximately 1900 to 1909. It was owned by Patrick Leonard and was located on the north shore of the lake. The dining room was known for its fish and game dinners.
In 1908, Leonard purchased a mansion at the east end of the lake and moved his hotel operations there in 1909. After this, the original Leonard Hotel was rented out to various proprietors, who continued to operate it as a hotel until 1916. Between 1917 and 1919, it was rented out to the Paulist Choir of Chicago.
Between 1920 and 1922, it was run by Robert and Gertrude Burr, who had previously been the owners of the Lake Shore House. They called their new hotel Hotel Oakwood.
In 1923, Patrick Leonard sold the building to a private party, and it has been a private home ever since. The building still stands on North Shore Drive in Crystal Lake.
Leonard House Hotel
Marlboro Manor Hotel
Patrick Leonard purchased the Byford mansion in 1908. This large three-story house was built by Dr. Henry T. Byford in 1893, and was located at the east end of the lake where West Street (now Lake Shore Drive) meets the water's edge. Leonard did some remodeling and opened the building in 1909 as the "New" Leonard Hotel. It was also known as the Hotel Leonard and the Leonard House Hotel. After opening the new hotel, Leonard rented out the "old" Leonard Hotel on the north shore to new proprietors (see above).
In front of the house, a sign reading "hotel" was hung from a tree branch extending over the road. A pier, bathhouse, diving platform, two boathouses and an outdoor refreshment canteen were added to the property. Guests could relax on the veranda or spend time on the large, shady lawn. Special concerts and live entertainment provided amusement during the evening hours. The hotel was also famous for its yearly duck dinner.
To accomodate the growing crowds, Leonard expanded his operations by adding a trio of attached cottages near the lakeshore. The first floor functioned as a dining room, with guest rooms on the second floor. According to a 1914 guidebook published by the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, the Leonard House had accomodations for 100 guests.
Cottage trio, 1913
Many improvements were added in 1917. A large colonial-style screened porch was built on the south side of the dining room, where afternoon tea and ice cream were served daily. A new two-story bathhouse was built, and the old bathhouse was remodeled into private bathrooms. The kitchen and pantries were redecorated, a new heating plant was built and a second refreshment canteen was added.
Sadly, the building was destroyed by fire in November 1917. Most of the furnishings on the first and second floor were saved, but the items on the third floor, which were being stored for the winter, were lost. The building might have been saved if it weren't for the fact that the nearest hydrant was 2,000 feet away. A team was sent back to the station for a longer hose, and they were delayed by a freight train while attempting to return to the hotel.
Following the fire, Patrick Leonard temporarily retired from the hotel business. He built a new lakefront home for himself and separated the cottage trio into three individual homes, which were sold in 1920 and 1922. He also continued to operate a refreshment canteen near the beach. In 1921, Leonard subdivided the eight-acre property and it became the Leonard Manor Addition to Crystal Lake.
The hotel business beckoned once again, and in 1925 Leonard opened his new tudor-style lakefront home as the Marlboro Manor, Hotel & Gardens. It was managed by James Hickey and specialized in delicious dinners, Friday fish specials, teas, receptions, bridge parties and banquets. Cottages were available for rent to hunters and sportsmen during the off-season. Dinner dances were added in 1927. The Marlboro Manor was advertised as the "Atlantic City of the West."
All hotel operations ceased when Patrick Leonard died in 1930. The hotel is a private home today, and the three homes that once made up the cottage trio are still there as well, and are quite recognizable if you know what you're looking for.
View from the Hotel Leonard veranda, 1911
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