Historic Minnesota Hotels: Be a Part of History
featuring North Shore favorites like breaded walleye.
St. James Hotel, Red Wing, MN
Built in 1875 and listed on Historic Hotels of America, the St. James Hotel was originally designed to cater to businessmen visiting the area who desired a luxury hotel. At the time, Red Wing was one of the top agriculture markets in the world, and the hotel’s downtown location was positioned to provide access to riverboat and train travel. In fact, built just steps from the Red Wing train depot, visitors today still can arrive by Amtrak train.
At the time it opened, the hotel was known for its top amenities, including hot and cold running water, steam heat and a full kitchen and dining room. Over the years, notable guests have stayed in the hotel, including President Rutherford B. Hayes, who gave a speech from the deck of the Veranda during his stay.
Today, the hotel continues to have top amenities and well-appointed rooms, as well as three dining options and shopping on site. Check in for a Weekend Away in Red Wing, MN to enjoy shopping and dining downtown, wine tastings, recreation and nearby Frontenac State Park.
Naniboujou Lodge, Grand Marais
Opened in 1929, Naniboujou Lodge was originally designed to be a high-end retreat for the rich and famous. Notable celebrities like Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and Ring Lardner signed to be early members. The original resort plans called for 150 guest rooms, along with a large clubhouse, a golf course and tennis courts. At the time, the development was expected to cost $350,000 - $500,000, and memberships were to be sold by invitation only for $200.
When the Great Depression struck, the vision for a high-end retreat faded away, and the full resort was never built. The lodge was the only building completed, but it soon faced foreclosure.
Despite financial troubles at several points in its history, today the lodge has been restored to its original charm and has become a relaxing North Shore retreat. Today, the lodge features 24 guest rooms. With no TV, phones, or WIFI, and very little cell phone coverage in the area, it’s truly a place to unplug and enjoy Lake Superior and the surrounding nature.
St. Paul Hotel, St. Paul, MN
A landmark since it opened, the St. Paul Hotel has hosted notable guests from U.S. presidents to rock stars and just about everyone in between. John F. Kennedy, Charles Lindberg, Lawrence Welk, and Gene Autry are all among the hotel’s long list of well-known guests.
Nicknamed “St. Paul’s Million-Dollar Hotel,” the St. Paul Hotel was designed by the same architecture firm that designed New York’s Grand Central station. It was built in 1910 when local businessmen including Lucius Ordway recognized the need for a luxury hotel in the city.
Most recently renovated in 1982, the hotel remains one of the top luxury hotels in the region. Its St. Paul Grill is regularly among the top-rated restaurants in the Twin Cities, and ideal for a business lunch or romantic dinner.
Calumet Inn, Pipestone, MN
The town of Pipestone was founded in 1876, after its founders read about “a great red pipe-stone quarry” in the area. They arrived at the site and named a town after its nearby Native American quarries that had already been a sacred site for centuries.
Soon, the town grew into a center of business, with service from four train lines. Local businessmen knew the town was in need of a luxury hotel to serve those traveling through the area.
Originally built in 1886 in downtown Pipestone, MN, the first Calumet Inn was destroyed by fire just a year later. But the distinctive quartzite stone building was rebuilt in 1888 as a destination for business travelers and visitors to the growing trade center.
Over the years, the hotel underwent several renovations, but it maintained its stone exterior, dark woodwork and rich carpeting and furniture that have always drawn guests. Under new ownership, the 35-room hotel features a new dining room, lounge and pub.
Archer House River Inn, Northfield, MN
As the town of Northfield grew in the 1870s, businessman James D. Archer saw the need for a grand hotel along the banks of the Cannon River which flowed through its downtown. The 50-room Archer House River Inn opened in 1877, helping the town build a new, sophisticated image just a year after the failed raid on the town’s bank by Jesse James and his gang.
Over the past few years, the hotel has undergone major renovations that have helped restore it to its historic charm. The distinctive hotel maintains its French Second Empire design, including a mansard roof and arched dormer windows, as well as a grand front porch. Guests can visit two restaurants, a lounge, coffee shop, salon and retail stores on site.
Plan a weekend in Northfield and stay at the Archer House, while visiting downtown shops and restaurants, nearby trails, and wine tasting at Cannon River Winery. Come during the holiday season for Northfield Winter Walk.
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