Digital Storytelling and Visitor Analytics for City and Cultural Institutions
The Chicago Athletic Association was established in 1890 by some of Chicago's who's who. Some of the original members included AG Spalding, yes like Spalding Sporting Good, and Marshall Field, yup the same one who once had one of Chicago's most notable department stores just blocks away. It wasn't until 1972 when the CAA accepted women into its halls, but even then it wasn't with open arms. Bathrooms were never remodeled so the ladies decorated urinals with potted plants.
Fast forward to the 21st century, The CAA remained a private membership social club for the city's elite until it closed in 2007. In 2015, the Chicago Athletic Association reopened it's doors as a hotel with dining and drinking options.
Giving a nod to its past, much of the building's structure was preserved, or is seen through photos throughout the space. Take a close look at some of the furniture and you'll be able to see some old athletic equipment. If there's something familiar about the CAA and you can't put your finger on it, it's the the logo. William Wrigley, where Wrigley Field gets its namesake, was a member. He bought the Cubs in 1915 and adopted the Chicago Athletic Association crest as their logo.
The CAA is home to one of Chicago's original speakeasies? The Milk Room, as it was called during the Prohibition era was a place where folks drank milk, of course. Legend has it that there's a door, that's now covered in concrete that served as the original entrance to the then speakeasy. Now accessible via a door between The Drawing Room and The Game room on the 2nd floor. Even this entrance was sealed shut and discovered during renovations.