Made of an early hard plastic, probably bakelite, this sturdy swizzle stick is light brown and shaped more or less like a baseball bat, tapering to one end which bears a spherical knob. The shaft of the “bat” is printed in black with THE STRATOSPHERE / 800 FEET ABOVE / CHICAGO. We think it dates from the 1930s.
The swizzle stick is 6” long x 5/16” wide at widest point. It is undamaged and in excellent condition with crisp lettering. There are some tiny flecks of dirt to the knob end and some tiny smudges to the other end, but on the whole it’s very clean.
Chicago tradition has it that the Stratosphere Lounge, in the dome of one of the city’s loveliest old buildings, was a speakeasy during Prohibition and was frequented by Al Capone. Experts on Chicago history and lore have done all they could to debunk the legend, but just as Chicago natives have never adopted any of the names given to the building by its sequence of owners, (still universally referring to it as the Jewelers’ Building), the story of the speakeasy and its gangland regular seem to have stuck permanently, true or not.
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