Built in 1869-70, the Metropolitan Hotel once stood at the corner of Washington and Third Street in St. Paul. On June 27, 1870 proprietor Gilbert Dutcher opened the hotel in grand style. The Metropolitan was identified as St. Paul’s premier hotel for many years. Prominent local businessmen and out-of-town movers and shakers would meet at the hotel to discuss business and politics.
The Twilight Club, an informal club involving so many prominent men and exerting, without any glare of ostentation or publicity such a marked influence on public opinion that it should have honorable mention in any catalogue of the city’s valuable institutions, met at the Metropolitan Hotel from 1889 until 1893 when the club disbanded. 1 Some say the Twilight Club shared many members with the Minnesota Club, which was founded by Henry Sibley and Norman Kittson in 1869. When the Minnesota Club grew out of its original space on Cedar Street, they began looking for a new home.
With the opulence of St. Paul society at the turn of the century, the Metropolitan Hotel began to fall out of favor with St. Paul’s elite. Several proprietors had come and gone and the hotel was becoming dingy and catered more to the average citizen than society’s upper crust. Most knew the hotel’s days were numbered.
Perhaps fittingly, the Minnesota Club purchased the hotel in 1909 for $54,000. Some say the original plan was to revamp the hotel to meet the needs of its privileged members, but by 1912 club members decided it would be best to demolish the hotel and build a new clubhouse that was second to none in grandeur.
Demolition of the hotel was completed in 1913.
1 A history of the city of Saint Paul, and of the county of Ramsey, Minnesota. Williams, J. Fletcher (John Fletcher), 1834-1895.