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The Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago was originally constructed in 1893. It was originally called the Auditorium Annex and it opened just in time for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and thousands of people thronged to visit the hotel. R.H. Southgate was the hotel’s developer but the first section of the hotel was designed by Clinton Warren. Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler served as consultants during the building phase. The south tower was constructed between 1902 and 1907, designed by the world renowned Hollabird and Roche.
Over the years, the hotel has been updated by various owners and it has been given a new name, the Congress Plaza Hotel. There were renovations to change lighting and bathroom fixtures. During World War II, the hotel was purchased by the government and used as headquarters. After World War II, the people of Chicago banded together to buy the hotel back from the government and reopened it. After five years, Pick Hotel Corporation bought the property and spent millions of dollars remodelling it. Modernization programs were initiated and new floors were added, new furniture, a new lobby and new corridors. The Congress Plaza Hotel has successfully blended the old with the new. It still has a unique character which continues to draw thousands of people year after year.
The Congress Plaza Hotel has a long history with the paranormal. There have been a lot of reports of unexplained noises coming from the hotel ballroom. Upon inspection by guards or other members of staff, the room is completely empty and quiet. The hotel’s hallways are a constant source of reported activity. Appliances have been known to turn on and off by themselves. It has also been reported that the hotel’s previous owner, the notorious gangster Al Capone, has made the hotel his permanent residence after death.
Several guests have reported seeing a ghostly gloved hand sticking out of the wall. It has been called the hand of mystery. The hand is supposedly that of a worker who mistakenly got behind a drywall during the hotel’s construction phase. A hobo is said to have been killed in the hotel many years ago. The staff calls him Peg Leg Johnny and his ghost has been sighted several times.

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