In this very early 1929 postcard the hotel name was listed as the Abraham Lincoln Hotel - another name for the planned hotel were the Midway Hotel before Levin Faust invested in the venture and it became the Faust Hotel.
Hotel Faust, 618-32 East State Street was built in 1929 in the Art Deco style. Two eleven story wings containing 400 rooms and 36 apartments are joined by a center tower rising several stories above the rest of the building, topping off at 15 stories (186 feet) and was capped off with a flag pole on top of the tower section that flies the American flag 24 hours a day. The tower housed an observation deck, penthouse, water reservoir and the Grand and Junior Ballrooms. The hotel was named after Levin Faust, a Swedish immigrant and Rockford industrialist.
Built by Midway Hotel Corporation and invested in heavily by Levin Faust, a Rockford industrialist who founded Mechanics Universal Joint Company and National Lock Company. Levin Faust also helped to organize several other companies including Elco, Rockford Drop Forge, Sundstrand and Estwing. He was also credited with helping launch the Rockford Park District. During a 1933 Depression fueled bankruptcy Levin Faust lost his fortune and the hotel changed ownership numerous times including Affiliated National Hotel chain in 1937 and was purchased by Arthur E. Dufenhorst in the 1940's.
Hotel Faust's much acclaimed Rainbo Room in 1936 was host to numerous local and national big band and jazz performers who played for the many customers who dined and danced there in the post Prohibition era. Advertised as the" Mid-Wests most beautiful night club and cocktail lounge."
The new 170 seat art deco air conditioned Hotel Faust's Coffee Shop opened in 1938. This was part of a major renovation of the hotel by Affiliated National Hotel Corporation.
Terrace Lounge opened in 1947 after a renovation of the Faust by new owner Arthur Dufenhorst. "For relaxation and entertainment step into this world of Persian splendor. The Midwest's most unique coctail lounge"
Old Colony Room at the Hotel Faust. A beautiful new room of Colonial design exquisitely done, offering the ultimate of gracious dining.
The Lobby Lounge at Hotel Faust, originally built in the 1930's and upgraded to a more modern look during a major $1.2 million renovation of the hotel between 1947-53 by new owner Arthur E. Dufenhorst.
Viking Grill at Hotel Faust - An entirely new air conditioned room with provincial decor. Swedish modern in style, exquisitely done with every thought of your dining pleasure.
Faust Recreation Alleys - Lower Lobby. Among the World's Best, Air Conditioned, Sound Proofed, Reservations Accepted. The hotel offered modern automated lanes and also in the Lower Lobby, among other amenities for the guests was The Pub - A secluded nook reminiscent of old England. Original in conception flawless in detail, gracious in service. The bowling alley and pub were added as part of the six year renovation of the hotel by owner Arthur E. Dufenhorst.
Hotel Faust Postcard, circa 1937. An Affiliated National Hotel
In this 1931 view of East State Street on the left is the Hotel Faust and on the bottom right is the Shumway Market Building, 713 East State built in 1920 as a restroom - office facility for the Shumway public farmers market or more commonly known as the City Market, a tradition dating back to 1904. Top right is the 1918 Spanish Renaissance style Midway Theater Building located at 721 East State. Featuring a 90 foot tall clock tower and 2000 seat auditorium built by the Ascher Brothers theater chain of Chicago. The Midway Theater was billed as the "Midwest's Largest Theater".
Another view of East State Street in 1939. By this time this area was one of Rockford's finest entertainment districts with the many restaurants, lounges, ballrooms and the popular Rainbo Room of the Faust and the Midway Theater, the Midwest's Largest Theater. Notice the "Cities Service" service station on the left.
At the end of World War II, during VJ day, the center for much of the celebration in Rockford took place in the area of the Faust hotel and the nearby Midway theater. In its heyday, the Faust was known as the premier hotel for Rockford, hosting such dignitaries as President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the 1960 Democratic Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, as well as one of the Kings of Sweden during a visit to the Swedish community located in Rockford.
The Faust Hotel was in decline by the mid 1960's when Interstate 90 and U.S. 20 Bypass were built on Rockford's outskirts and diverted downtown traffic from U.S. 20 and U.S. 51. Sold by longtime owner Arthur E. Dufenhorst in 1971. The new owners Donald and Dale Levinson were in bankruptcy by 1973 and the hotel was sold at auction to Rockford's Tebala Shriners and renamed it Tebala Towers. In 1986 it was sold to Faust Landmark who turned the hotel into a 200 room apartment complex for the elderly and disabled.
Since 1929 the hotel was adorned with a set of 14 foot tall red neon letters in a double row that proclaimed Faust Hotel and later, Tebala Towers on the top east and west sides of the northern tower of the building. In the early 1980s a fierce windstorm knocked down some of the letters, damaging the building and putting pedestrians & residents at risk. All of these letters were taken down shortly after this incident as witnessed in the photo above.
Hotel Faust with the Midway Theater at bottom left, St. Mary's Church at far left center, circa 1929. Notice the railway street car, several of the cars look as they possibly were taxis, and the area is surrounded mostly by houses and apartments.
A view of the Faust Hotel under construction in 1928
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