Dacotah Hotel 1



Grand Forks. – Hotel Dacotah, a magnificent five-story hotel here, has been leased for five years to Col. C. H. French, an old hotel man from New York.  The hotel will be opened the first week in September.  French will furnish the house at a cost of $40,000.  (Winona Daily Republican, Thursday, August 1, 1889, Page 4)

Wanted 20 table girls at Hotel Dacotah.  Apply at once.  C. H. French.  (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Saturday Evening, September 14, 1889, Volume XV, Number 268, Page 4)

THE HOTEL DACOTAH.  The erection of the hotel Dacotah has been the grandest achievement ever accomplished in the city’s history.  It is an enterprise that has given impetus to the unprecedented activity in building that is everywhere manifest on our streets and thoroughfares.  The auspicious opening of this mammoth hostelry inaugurates an era of increased properity, and indicates that Grand Forks retains her prestige among her sister cities and is destined to remain the metropolis of the Red River Valley and the new northwest.  To the energy and business sagacity of its projectors, the magnificent structure is itself the grand and eloquent testimonial.  Wholly the project and property of Grand Forks capitalists, the hotel Dacotah has not been erected without a display of financial nerve and implicit faith in the future of our city and tributary surroundings, that challenges the admiration of our people and is accorded their unqualified endorsement and approval.  Enterprises of this character, involving the investment of large capital, and redounding in a thousand ways to the welfare of the community are commonly and justifiably granted liberal assistance at public expense, either in the way of generous privileges or of direct cash bonus.  Except in the item of city water, furnished by contract to the hotel company for the term of ten years at a nominal figure, the incorporators have neither asked or received any financial encouragement whatsoever.  The Dacotah is a private enterprise, consummated without the proffer of outside aid, and yet most emphatically a private enterprise that immediately inures to the public welfare.  There is no property in the city whose value has not been materially advanced by the erection of the Dacotah; no business man whose interests have not been built up and enlarged; no line of mercantile trade wherein the volume of business has not been increased; no family in the city whose social privileges have not been enhanced and rendered more enjoyable.  To every citizen, and to every interest howsoever diversified, the establishment of this hotel will prove of incalculable advantage.  Our city will now attract and hold a class of visitors accustomed to the best entertainment afforded in the largest cities.  Moneyed men will be induced to invest in city property more extensively than ever before, and Grand Forks, keeping pace with the growth of North Dakota, will hold her rightful pre-eminence as the metropolis of the Northwest.  (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Tuesday Evening, September 17, 1889, Volume XV, Number 270, Page 4)

HOTEL RIVALRY.  Drivers of Hotels Dacotah and Windsor Busses Take a Hand.  Rivalry between the hotels Dacotah and Windsor took a practical turn the other morning at the M. & M. station, where the respective bus drivers had an altercation.  They both wanted first place and best position at the station platform.  When the smoke of conflict cleared away it was found that the Dacotah was at the front.  (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Saturday Evening, October 5, 1889, Volume XV, Number 286, Page 4)

New ManagementFrank Viets Assumes Management of the Dacotah.  The magnificent hotel Dacotah today passed into the hands of the new management.  Mr. Frank Viets who takes charge is most favorably known to the citizens of Grand Forks and to the traveling public.  Mr. J. J. Dow continues in his present position and the management of these gentlemen is ample guarantee that the public will be furnished entertainment not excelled in any hotel in the northwest.  Grand Forks takes pride in its superb hotel and in the efficient management of Messrs. Viets and Dow.  The Dacotah will induce tourists to make it a point to come to Grand Forks, where they are assured of thoroughly first class entertainment.  The HERALD congratulates the hotel company and the public on their good fortune in securing the new managers.  (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Friday Evening, November 1, 1889, Volume XV, Number 309, Page 3)

Mrs. Viets.  The friends of Mrs. Viets will be greatly pleased to know that she is to be the land lady of the Hotel Dacotah.  Under her efficient direction the culinary and domestic departments will be deservedly popular.  Mrs. Viets’ capability and genuine hospitality will make the Dacotah the very semblance of home.  (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Saturday Evening, November 2, 1889, Volume XV, Number 310, Page 4)



How The Mammoth Hotel Was Built.

It was about two years ago that the feasibility of the hotel project began to be discussed.  During the winter of ’87-’88 it was the favorite theme of conversation among several of the gentlemen who afterward became the incorporators of the company.  It seemed a large undertaking, and much talk was indulged in before the project assumed tangible form.  Months passed ere the plans were sufficiently crystallized to warrant publication.  The first announcement that the mammoth hotel was to be a certainty appeared in the columns of THE HERALD, July 5th, 1888.  The cost of the structure then contemplated, did not exceed $100,000.  That was the amount considered at the time the company was incorporated.  As the structure now stands, it represents the investment of $140,000, exclusive of furniture.  Nothing has been spared in the matter of expense to secure absolute perfection.  It has been the policy of the company to attain the highest excellence in every appointment and detail of construction, regardless of pecuniary outlay.  On the evening of July 23rd, 1888, the city council by unanimous vote granted a petition presented by the taxpayers of the city, asking that the city furnish water to the hotel company for a period of ten years at the nominal sum of $25 per year, condition upon the agreement of the company to begin work of construction within ninety days, and to complete the structure inside of fifteen months, of previous to Nov. 1st, 1889.  July 24th, the capitalists interested in the project effected an organization with the following officers:  President – A. S. Brooks.  Vice-President – M. L. McCormack.  Secretary – Geo. A. Eastman.  Treasurer – Geo. B. Clifford.  Directors – F. C. Walker, J. S. Bartholomew, Wm. O’Mulcahy, A. S. Brooks, M. L. McCormack, Geo. A. Eastman and Geo. B. Clifford.  The location was at once decided on and excavation began at 1:30 p. m. the same day with appropriate ceremonies, the city officers attending in a body, Mayor Griggs making a brief address and Miss Mollie McCormack breaking the ground and removing the first, a small, shovelful of earth, followed by members of the syndicate, the mayor aldermen, editors of the HERALD and Plaindealer and others, each removing a shovelful of earth.  On the evening of July 28th, at a meeting of the directors contracts were closed for furnishing material.  As soon as possible thereafter the contracts for construction were entered into.  J. S. Bartholomew was awarded the brickwork, and the excavation having been completed meanwhile, the walls began to rise about Aug. 20th.  Since that time the work has been successfully prosecuted according to the original plans and specifications, except that changes have been introduced in the interior of the building, increasing very materially the cost, but adding very greatly to the convenience and elegance.  There have been no changes on the exterior, and the structure as it stands today was correctly portrayed in the engraving published in the HERALD of Sep. 1, 1888.  Its dimensions are 125×125 feet, five stories above basement and contains 107 rooms, beside parlors dining hall, reading room, bar and billiard rooms, barber shop, bath rooms and closets.  Deming & Callender constructed the rough wood work, W. P. Alsip the plastering, Alsip & Turner the fine carpenter work and finishing, Wm. Rodgers the steam fitting, B. O. Paulsness the plumbing, and the Minnesota Decorating company the painting and decorating.  The decorations have been designed by F. W. Fitzpatrick, the manager of the above company, and most of the work has been done under his personal supervision.  In exterior effect no less than in the general arrangement of the interior, the architect has quite closely imitated the plan of the Hotel Ryan in St. Paul.  The original drawings were made by Henry G. Carter of St. Paul, the company also latterly consulting with W. B. Dunnell, an architect of St. Paul, and with Architect Ross of this city.  (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Wednesday Evening, September 18, 1889, Volume XV, Number 271, Page 3)

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The Hotel Dacotah was erected in 1888, at a cost of $130,000.  It is one of the most elegantly furnished hotels in the west, and the appointments are first class.  Col. Frank Viets, who came to Grand Forks in 1872, and opened the old Northwestern hotel, and J. J. Dow, are the lessees and managers.  The Dacotah has been a large factor in the building up of Grand Forks, and the people of the city are justly proud of this elegant hostelry.  The Dacotah is

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the headquarters for many of the traveling fraternity of the northwest, and favorite stopping place with business men visiting the city.  (City of Grand Forks Illustrated, William L. Dudley, The Herald, Printers and Binders, Grand Forks, 1897)


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