Elegant Dining on the North Shore

If it weren’t for a sign announcing that you’ve arrived in Little Marais, you may just speed through this little resort town on your way north on Highway 61. Scandinavian fishermen settled in the sleepy town during the late 1880s, but by the 1920s tourists began motoring their way up the north shore – looking for accommodations as they went. Small resorts and gas stations popped up along the route.

Originally built as a rustic log store, the Little Marais Store was a popular stop for basic provisions. It was transformed twice after that; first into a grocery store and gas station with small rooms for travelers looking for a good nights sleep, and later into a lovely white clapboard inn with an elegant dining room and housekeeping cabins along the lake shore. It was renamed the Little Marais Lodge and Store.

The white clapboard building with its charming green shutters soon became a popular destination for couples on their honeymoon. The refined structure stood out among the rustic accommodations that populated the North Shore at that time.  Inside, antique lamps cast a warm glow in each room and historic maps hung on the walls.  An abundance of windows, white paneled walls, and cool lake breezes gave the lodge a light, airy feel. The gabled roof added gentle sophistication of the exterior.

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The Grandest Apartment Hotel in the Twin Cities

The Aberdeen Hotel may not have been the first luxury apartment hotel in the Twin Cities, but it was undeniably the grandest of them all. Built in 1889 for $250,000, the hotel was located just three blocks from St. Paul’s exclusive Summit Avenue and catered to high-end clientele seeking the comforts of home without the annoyance of keeping house. Governor John A. Johnson called the hotel home from 1904 to 1910, and St. Paul Cathedral architect Emmanuel Masqueray lived at the Aberdeen for several years.

The main floor of the hotel featured an opulent lobby and a grand ballroom. The café offered meals by request for residents and visitors in an elegant dining room. Fourteen of the hotel’s units were available as single rooms for travelers, while the other seventy-eight were arranged as two- to eight-room residential suites that could include a reception room, kitchen, pantry, dining room, library, and a balcony. Every unit in the hotel had a private bath, which was not a common amenity at the time. For five dollars per night, two dollars more than any other hotel in St. Paul, the Aberdeen offered guests every possible convenience for comfortable family living.

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Scandal at Duluth’s Hardy School

By the 1880s, Duluth pioneer Luther Mendenhall had become on of the city’s most prominent citizens. The Civil War veteran came to Duluth in 1869 as an agent for the Western Land Company. His objective was to help the frontier community grow into a thriving shipping port. In turn, the growth of the city would line the pockets of Mendenhall and his investors at the Western Land Company.

Mendenhall recognized that Duluth’s natural harbor gave it an advantage that other cities didn’t have. His background as a lawyer and businessman in Pennsylvania gave him creditability in the community, and quickly brought new opportunities to the people of Duluth. First, Mendenhall helped establish the first railroads in the area and was instrumental in starting one of Duluth’s first banks—The Duluth National Bank. Mendenhall served at the first president of the bank beginning in 1882. From there he worked to establish a streetcar system and newspaper. During this time, Mendenhall was also serving as president of the Duluth Park System and had been a longtime member of the Duluth Board of Education along with several other prominent Duluth businessmen and friends.

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