Hotel & History
Although our hotel has not always been called the Historic Canterbury Hotel, its tradition as the grandest of Indianapolis hotels dates back to the 1850s.
The Canterbury Hotel's History
Prominent Indiana architect Francis Costigan, designer of the Lanier Mansion and other historic homes at Madison, built a hotel at The Canterbury site in 1858. Costigan, who also was architect of Christ Church and the long-gone Bates House in Indianapolis, designed, built, and operated the four-story stucco-ornamented Oriental Hotel on the Northeast corner of Illinois and Chesapeake Streets. Its name was later changed to the Mason House and then to the Oxford Hotel.
In 1928, Costigan's hotel was torn down to make room for a 12-story, 200-room hotel called the Lockerbie, built by the Illinois and Chesapeake Realty Company headed by Samuel and Julius Falender and banker Otto Meyer. The Lockerbie, whose architect was Bennett Kay, cost nearly $650,000 fully equipped and furnished. Each of its 200 rooms had a tile bath and “a radio receiving set”. The same structure that still stands today, it was built of reinforced concrete faced with brick and trimmed in terra cotta.
The hotel was operated by the Lockerbie Hotel Company, whose incorporates were Samuel and Arch Falender and architect Kay. The company's 15-year lease specified an annual rental of $60,000.
In 1936, hotelier Glenn F. Warren, who had interests in Chicago and also owned and operated the Harrison Hotel at 51 North Capitol, took a 15-year lease on the Lockerbie. Warren soon changed the name of the hotel to the Warren, under which banner it operated until November 1973.
In May 1983, the property was purchased by Indianapolis realtor Fred C. Tucker, Jr., Donald L. Fortunato and Gunner P. Nilsson of Chicago. The new owners/developers announced plans to totally renovate the building and create an outstanding intimate luxury hotel with European traditions and ambiance. It was to reflect the charm and historical quality of Canterbury, England - thus, the Historic Canterbury Hotel.
The Canterbury Hotel is now operated by Azul Hospitality Group.