The Saint Paul Hotel

The Saint Paul Hotel has been a fixture in the city’s skyline for decades. It was constructed in 1910 during the “First Great Age” of skyscraper building and overlooks Rice Park. Its prominence in the city earned the Renaissance renaissance edifice the moniker “St. Paul, MN‘s Million-Dollar Hotel.” After 69 successful years in operation, it finally shut down in 1979 due to stagnating demand. In 1982 it reopened after undergoing renovations. In 1991, the National Trust for Historic Preservation included it in its Historic Hotels of America program.

The Greenman House, a 60-room hotel, opened at the intersection of West Fifth and Saint Peter Streets in 1871. Seven years later, it burned down, and its larger replacement, the Windsor, was open for another few years before being knocked down to make room for The Saint Paul Hotel.

This hotel first welcomed guests in 1910. Along with the Saint Paul Public Library, it was deemed one of the decade’s most significant structures by the 1919 edition of The Encyclopedia Americana. All three hundred rooms have private bathrooms and windows overlooking either the city or Rice Park.

The hotel has eleven floors and is situated on a hilltop. When it was opened, the view over the Mississippi Valley from the hotel’s rooftop was rumored to be second to only the dome of the Minnesota State Capitol. Hundreds of notable persons, including two governors and several presidents of transcontinental railroads, including James J. Hill, attended the hotel’s formal dedication ceremony in April.

A 10,600 square foot extension was begun well before its completion in the early 1910s. The three-story extension was a groundbreaking innovation in hotel design since it was created specifically to hold “sample rooms” for itinerant sales representatives. The salesmen were able to use the rooms as they would any other hotel room, but a showcase space allowed them to demonstrate their wares to local retailers.

When approaching the hotel from the west on Fifth Street, it made for a striking sight. There was a rooftop garden and antenna for the first wireless station in the area.

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