Hotel Minnesota – Mpls.St.Paul Magazine


1853

Minnesota’s hospitality industry begins on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. James and Sarah Shaver build the first inn in Minnetonka Millscatering primarily to factory workers – less glamorous than the lavish properties built by James J. Hill to come.


1858

Two weeks after Minnesota became a state, Nicollet House opens on what is now Washington Avenue. The Italian-style building in yellow brick with its 90 rooms will then host three American presidents.


1861

With the first shots of the Civil War, the Winslow House on the east side of St. Anthony Falls closes. It had become a summer destination for wealthy Southerners seeking to escape the heat, too often accompanied by their enslaved servants.


1879

When a railway line passes through neighboring Mabel, Riceford begins to lose its vitality. A beautiful hotel is put on a trolley and moved, becoming the Mabel House Hotel. It remains the oldest hotel in Minnesota.


1884

Sitting Bull goes to Saint-Paul for a propaganda mission. U.S. Lakota Agent James McLaughlin Tries To Impress The High Chief By Staging Him Merchants’ Hotelbut at a press conference in the lobby, racist reporters refuse to drop the whole murder-Custer affair.


1884

Minneapolis gets its first major hotel with the opening of the Hotel West. Mark Twain and Winston Churchill are invited. The impressive lobby is adorned with marble and stained glass, but there are 407 rooms and just 140 bathrooms. Terrible math.


1910

Mrs. Nellie Bly finances the construction of the Kettle Falls Hotel, between Rainy and Namakan lakes. To this day, it remains a fully operational tourist attraction – the only hotel in Voyageurs National Park, accessible only by floatplane or boat.


1923

The owners of Maison Nicollet, now known as Hotel Nicollet, balk at the cost of the city-required sprinkler system and destroy it. A new Nicollet hotel was built on the site a year later.


1930

Leon Gleckman, the infamous mobster responsible for much of St. Paul’s smuggling and gambling operations, sets up his headquarters in a suite in the Hotel Saint Paul.


1962

With the Twins and Vikings now playing at nearby Met Stadium, Bloomington’s Thunderbird Motel opens up to tap into all that auto-focused commerce on the booming 494 strip (not to mention all those New York Yankees coming to town).


1972

Philip Johnson commissions Andy Warhol to decorate the Marquette Hotel in its new icy glass tower, the IDS Center. Warhol makes 632 unique serigraphs of a sunset, one for each room.


1990

Anti-poverty activists Up and Out of Poverty Now! occupy the abandoned Hotel Nicollet. The city negotiates with the squatters and opens the Exodus Hotel for low-income residents one year later.


2008

After hours of discussion at a secret meeting at the end of the summer in a large suite in the Hotel Graves 601Senator Barack Obama finally gets the assurances he needs from Senator Joe Biden and offers him the post of Vice President (if he wins).


2008

Ralph Burnet and his LLC are shelling out $75 million to renovate Foshay Tower and bring the sexiness of Starwood W Hotel chain downtown, just in time to welcome delegates to the Republican National Convention.


2012

Jim Graves, the St. Cloud hotelier who opened the Hotel Graves 601 in Block E and founded the AmericInn chain, runs against Michele Bachmann and loses just 4,300 votes.


2022

The four Seasons Minneapolis opens on the site of the former Nicollet Hotel.

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