COLUMN: A Malat Musing: Vision Was a Bit Shortsighted
The hotel experience was once a very regal affair.
Sometime in the late twentieth century the Minneapolis city fathers determined the beautiful construction and ornate lavish style of its older hotels no longer fit with the city’s vision of the future.
Gone is the Nicollet Hotel which opened in 1924 and was torn down in 1991. Gone is the Curtis Hotel built in 1903 and razed in 1984. And most sadly of all, gone is the Leamington Hotel built in 1912 and destroyed in 1990.
The Leamington sat at Third Avenue and Tenth Street across from the Curtis. It was once the proud temporary home of the greatest entertainers of day, such as Duke Ellington, along with former Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, as well as former Vice President, Minnesota U.S. Senator and Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey. It has been replaced with a parking ramp.
A visit to Rice Park in the downtown St. Paul is always a special treat this time of the year.
After experiencing the beautiful lights, the exquisite Christmas tree and the special featured highlights of this glorious season, walk across the street and visit the St. Paul Hotel.
Stop in; even if it is just for an adult beverage or club soda. Look around and admire the splendor of the architecture, the incredible vision and conception in its planning and the lost art of the workmanship and genius in its construction. While you are basking in the majesty of this grand old hotel, you might also offer a prayer that this stately structure is never introduced to the wrecking ball. For it is almost all we left to admire from that very special bygone era.
Phil Malat is a columnist for KSTP.com.