The St Paul Hotel has been the backbone of charm and elegance in downtown St Paul since it opened in 1910. The hotel has seen presidents, gangsters, celebrities, and local businessmen like James J Hill and Lucius Pond Ordway have passed through the lavish lobby. 

The hotel opened in grand fashion on April 18, 1910, and was immediately billed as “St. Paul’s Million Dollar Hotel.” The hotel featured a grand ballroom, fine dining, a roof garden, and guest rooms with scenic views. The main entrance originally faced the corner of St. Peter and Fifth streets where guests passed into the lobby, richly decorated with palm trees and marble columns. Waterford crystal chandeliers glistened overhead. 

In 1921, scenes from the silent film adaptation of the Sinclair Lewis novel Free Air was filmed at the hotel. Later, tunnels below the hotel carried booze from bootleggers through the kitchen and then upstairs for guests to consume discreetly in the privacy of their rooms during prohibition. In 1937, bandleader Lawrence Welk began playing at the hotel on Saturday nights before hitting it big. Even Gene Autry and his horse Champion checked in for eight days in September 1947.

Throughout the 1950s, people and businesses began moving to the suburbs and the hotel saw a decline in guests. In need of maintenance and repair, its appeal started to diminish. By 1982, the community began seeing the hotel as a local landmark in need of restoration. City leaders rallied behind the renovation and the hotel was restored to its original glory and reopened. The St. Paul Hotel was named one of Travel + Leisure Magazine’s top 500 hotels in the world for 2014.