Old hotel has a storied history in Hartington

HARTINGTON — A new chapter in the long and colorful history of the Hartington Hotel is about to begin.
The long-vacant hotel has been purchased by Ben and Erin Schroeder, who recently finished a complete remodel of the historic Globe Clothing building in downtown Hartington.
The three-story downtown fixture has been shuttered since a 1995 fire.
The blaze happened on a cold day in early February 1995.
Ironically, another fire is responsible for building the hotel in the first place.
Hartington’s Grand Hotel, which stood where the Hartington Hotel is today, burned to the ground Jan. 4, 1915.
After the fire, the Hartington Herald wrote, “all that remains of the once well known and popular hotel is a heap of smoking and water-soaked debris.”
It was announced almost immediately that Hartington would not be without a hotel for long.
The Hartington Hotel first opened its doors for business May 29, 1917.
The facility was one of many around the state constructed and operated by the North American Hotel Company, the same company that also built and operated the famous Blackstone Hotel in Omaha.
Hartington newspapers estimated about 1,000 people showed up for the May 29 grand opening celebration to tour the new facility.
The new hotel was quite a scene to behold, the Hartington Herald reported.
“The rooms were prettily decorated with flowers and the management gave everybody a cordial welcome,” the newspaper reported.
The Herald wrote, “this building from basement to roof is splendidly modern, representing the most efficient in planning and construction and the most beautifully pleasing and comfortable in its every appointment.”
The facility featured a main floor ballroom and dining room and 40 guest rooms on the second and third floors. The basement featured a billiard room and barber shop.
The Hartington Herald spared few adjectives in describing the inside of the new facility.
“The lobby and solarium, both of which are beautifully furnished, are places which Hartington businessmen will always find hospitably welcome and the ladies’ parlor, which is also on the first floor just off of the lobby, is a most delightfully pleasing room and will no doubt be popular.
The second and third floor guest rooms were, “all handsomely carpeted and furnished, and all are provided with such modern appointments as hot and cold running water, electricity for lighting and telephones,”
Both floors also had several private rooms for baths.
The grand opening event featured three different musical performances to entertain local residents.
Music was provided in the afternoon and evening by a Sioux City orchestra and by a group called “The Hawaiians,” who were in town performing at the Lyric. Miss Hazel Reed, a soloist from New York City, also sang during the lunch and again at dinner in the evening.
A complimentary dance was also put on in the big dining room.