Metropole Hotel

The Metropole Hotel. (Image: UMD Martin Library)

101 – 105 South Lake Avenue | Architect:  J. J. Wangenstein | Built: 1903 | Lost: 1973

Located on the southwest corner of Lake Avenue and West Michigan Street, the Metropole Hotel served as a de facto “gateway” to what is known today as the Canal Park Business District. The brick building, built by Louis Loeb, stood three stories high with two round-corner towers facing Lake Avenue. When it first opened under the direction of John Cargill and Joseph Kenny, the Metropole offered seventy-five guest rooms and a restaurant, barbershop, and tavern on the first floor, but its most popular tenant would be Joe Huie’s Café. The Metropole attracted a certain type of clientele, and some of its early residents (and owners) had faced civil and criminal charges for gambling, the illegal sale of alcohol, theft, assaults, and even attempted murder. When the Metropole was closed as a hotel in 1972, it had more than fifty full-time residents. Then-owner Melvin Gallop said of his tenants, “None of the people that left here went with relatives and none left with friends; all their friends were right here at the Metropole.”A portion of the building operated as a nightclub for a while; it was demolished in 1979 for the Lake Avenue realignment.