Manufacturer: Walker China
User: Lee Plaza Hotel – Detroit, Michigan
Date of sugar bowl: circa 1940s
Notes: Real estate builder and operator Ralph T. Lee built more than thirty hotels and apartment buildings before 1935. On May 1, 1927, Lee broke ground on what would soon be a seventeen-story, apartment/hotel building, located at 2240 West Grand Blvd. The 220-apartment building opened as the Lee Plaza on December 1, 1927. The one- and two-room apartments were furnished and could be rented as hotel rooms. The walnut-paneled dining room could seat 250. Across from the dining room was the ballroom with space for 100 couples to dance.
Ralph Lee sold the hotel shortly after it opened. A series of financial problems quickly followed. By fall 1935, the Lee Plaza was bankrupt. The financial problems spent eight years tied up in court. The Lee Plaza barely survived as apartment rentals declined. In 1969 it became a senior-living facility. It closed in 1997 and in 2022 remained abandoned and stripped of salable artifacts. Renovation plans were once again announced in January 2022.
Walker China produced a service for Lee Plaza on Ivory body china. The pattern, likely a stock pattern available to other customers, has a large red transfer floral spray flanked by a red line. Bailey-Walker changed its name to "Walker China" around 1942. The lettering style on this china service seems to be an early version of their name back stamp, so it was probably made in the 1940s.
For additional info:
Lee Plaza Hotel by Scammell China and Bauscher China
Author and photos: Larry Paul