The Karcher Hotel salvage


 Built with a pricetag of $460,000 as one of downtown Waukegan’s two lux hotels: the Karcher Building was designed by architects BK Gibson of Chicago, and welcomed its first guests on June 28, 1928.

The hotel’s 150 rooms were frequented over the following decades by families attending graduation ceremonies at nearby Naval Station Great Lakes, and those who could not find rooms in Chicago. For those latter guests: the Hotel featured a rooftop-mounted spotlight aimed at the lake to help guests find the hotel from the train station – a feature the hotel proudly advertised wherever possible with the tagline: “Follow the beacon light to the Karcher Hotel.” Though dark, it’s still there, today.

On Christmas morning in 1984, a fire broke out in the interior wood and plaster wall of the Hotel and burned into a clothing store on the main floor. Since 1984, the Karcher Hotel sat empty and damaged. It was usable downtown space and throughout the last 27 years, ideas have included turning it into a retirement home again. The city even filed suit to demolish the building in 1987. But despite the myriad of changes, the Karcher Hotel still stands today. In October 2011, Karcher Artspace Lofts, LP of Minneapolis, Minnesota purchased the building to convert the hotel into 36 units of “live/work” space for artists and their families. Additional retail space is available on the ground floor for complementary small businesses and non-profit organizations. The conversion of the Karcher Hotel into the Karcher Artspace Lofts has brought a renewed energy to the area by transforming one of the downtown’s oldest and tallest buildings into a lively and active residential community.

The Karcher Hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 9, 2002.

We received tons of these terra cotta finials from the roof of the former Karcher Hotel in Waukegan, Illinois. The building was in the process of being converted into the Karcher Artspace Lofts, which provides local artists with affordable housing. ArtSpace is a Minneapolis-based non-profit real estate developer devoted to providing and accommodating artists with useful and affordable buildings to practice their art. Read more about ArtSpace and the Karcher lofts here and here:

Now that they are here, what would you do with them? Terra cotta is a popular and durable addition to a garden, and these finials would make for an awesome border, sunk into the ground a few inches.