The Metropolitan Hotel in St. Paul
Constructed 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 and for many years the Metropolitan was identified as St. Paul’s premier hotel. 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 prominent local businessmen, often met at the hotel between 1889 and 1893 to discuss the current issues of the day. Limited to a maximum of 100 members, the club met after work and enjoyed dinner together before a guest lecturer would address a topic from current events. Afterward, each member of the club would have a formal opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on the subject. A five-minute limit on member speeches was enforced to prevent lengthy orations.
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.
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.
Perhaps fittingly, the Minnesota Club purchased the hotel in 1909 for $54,000. The original plan was to revamp the hotel to meet the needs of its privileged members, but by 1912 the Minnesota Club 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.
A history of the city of Saint Paul, and of the county of Ramsey, Minnesota. Williams, J. Fletcher.