Manufacturer: Walker China
Distributor: Reichle Sons Company
User: The Whittier Hotel – Gold Cup Room – Detroit, Michigan
Date of examples: circa 1956 – 1960s
Notes: The Whittier apartment hotel, on East Jefferson and Burns Drive in Detroit, Michigan, opened in two stages. The eight-story building opened February 15, 1923. The 15-story tower section opened in April 1926.The marble-columned River Front Room was the main dining room. There were private dining rooms, a ballroom, coffee shop, and cocktail lounge. The apartment kitchenettes were furnished with chinaware and meals could be ordered from the dining room commissary.
In 1963, Swedish industrialist Ivar Quarnstrom bought the Whittier and began a major renovation that included a rooftop restaurant. Quarnstrom died in a plane crash in 1966. The hotel was sold to the Michigan Baptist Convention in 1969. The Whittier is listed in the 1969 Hotel Red Book, with 785 rooms. It is not listed in 1972. It was converted into senior housing known as Whittier Towers Retirement Center. Financial problems forced Whittier Towers to close in 2001. In 2009, the eight-story section was reopened as condos. As of 2022, the 15-story section remains vacant.
Walker China made a service crested for the Whittier's Gold Cup Room on a white body with wide blue and gold stripes running vertically down the center of the plate. In the center of these two stripes, roughly a third from the bottom of the plate, is a trophy cup. The half of the cup on the blue stripe is in gold and the half of the cup on the gold stripe is in blue. Directly to the right of the trophy cup, in the well of the plate, are the three stacked words: "the gold cup" all-in lower-case font. The font for "the" and "cup" is smaller than the font for "gold." Both "the" and "cup" are in blue, and "gold" is in gold.
The Gold Cup Room is mentioned in newspaper articles in 1943. During the 1950s the Gold Cup Room was popular with hydroplane racers who raced on the nearby Detroit River. The walls were decorated with black and white hydro action photos.
thunderboats.ning.com – August 19, 2012, posting by Peggy Kwiathowski with information about the Gold Cup Room and sign.
Author and photos: Larry Paul