Demolition of Lincolnwood's famed, vacant Purple Hotel just north of Chicago began Tuesday morning in an experience described as "bittersweet" for the village.
The hotel, which opened its doors in 1962 at the corner of Lincoln and Touhy and is known for its signature purple bricks, was the Pritzker family's original Chicago-area Hyatt property. In its hey day it played host to singers including Roberta Flack and Barry Manilow, according to ABC Chicago.
Going forward, however, the hotel and nearby property will be converted into a mixed-use district including retail, restaurants, office space and a new hotel, the Chicago Tribune reports. The iconic bricks will also reportedly be put to use in the site's new development -- while others have been given away to the public in exchange for donations to the Lincolnwood Public Library.
There is also a darker side to the property's history. In 1983, mobster Allen Dorfman, an associate of Jimmy Hoffa, was killed in what was described as a "mob hit" in the hotel's parking lot, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Dorfman's murder was never solved.
The Dorfman killing, according to CBS Chicago, left behind a dark cloud that has lingered through the years, even contributing to reports that the hotel is haunted.
"Of all the wonderful things that happened here and the fine families that had entertainment here and weddings and bar mitzvahs and you name it … they remember the Dorfman issue and [Stuart] Levine and everything else that’s bad," resident Jerry Turry told the station.
Levine, in convicted ex-governor Rod Blagojevich's 2008 corruption trial, had testified to his participation in "drug-soaked sex parties" on the site.
The hotel closed in 2007 following complaints of mold, rodents and other health violations.
Photo by martin gonzalez via Flickr.