The fully restored Book-Cadillac is a towering symbol of Detroit’s renaissance
Designed by Louis Kamper in the 1920’s, the 33-story building became the most extravagant hotel in the city and catered to Detroit’s most affluent visitors. In 1939, the hotel became immortalized in baseball lore. It was on May 2 of the year that New York Yankee first baseman Lou Gehrig collapsed on the Book-Cadillac’s grand staircase. Gehrig told his manager while sitting in one of the hotel’s bars that he was taking himself out of the starting lineup against the Tigers, breaking his string of 2,130 consecutive games played. He would later be diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The hotel has also hosted such notable guests as the Beatles and Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. (who, the story goes) met at the Book-Cadillac. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Harry S. Truman, Ronald Reagan and Herbert Hoover checked in over the years. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stayed at the hotel when he was in Detroit and visiting baseball teams often stayed there, so Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and a host of other sluggers slept within this walls.