Archer House River Inn
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History of The Archer House
In the late 1870’s, James D. Archer owner of the Archer House Inn in Hastings, Minnesota saw a need for a hotel in the prosperous town of Northfield. He developed plans for a grand Inn along the banks of the Cannon River. With the assistance of contractor H.B. Martin, the Archer House River Inn opened on August 23, 1877. The hotel contained 50 rooms spread through a 4-story central building and 3-story wing to the south. The grand French Second Empire design featured a mansard roof, arched dormer windows and a east facing portico. A reporter at the time described it as “an episode of the grandest proportions in Northfield’s history.”

The new hotel made the town seem more civilized, lessoning the “cowboy” image brought on by the failed raid on Northfield’s First National bank by James James and his Gang only the year before in 1876. In 1895, a 3 story north wing was added to the Inn allowing for additional rooms and more retail and dining. In 1900, electric lights were added to every room. Ownership of the hotel changed rapidly over the years and it ran under the names of the
Hotel Ball and the Stuart Hotel in the 1900’s. Owner included Henry Kahler, who’s family owned hotel’s throughout Southern Minnesota and John O’Malley from the Lowell Inn in Stillwater.

The hotel changed hand many times after the World War II and by 1981 was in very poor condition when purchased by Dallas Haas. Dallas was a Northfield building contractor and saw the value of the hotel and its importance to Northfield’s vitality. Dallas brought back the Archer House name, renovated rooms, updated private baths in every room, restored the lobby, and brought back retail shops and restaurants to the building. A new front portico was constructed, patterned after historic photographs of the Inn. Each room was given a name and theme relating to a special part of local history. New wiring, modern plumbing, insulation, updated heat and air conditioning, fire and alarm systems and a four story elevator allowed the hotel to meet the demands of the new era under
Dallas.

In the fall of 1995, Dallas Haas unexpectedly passed away. The community of Northfield is indebted to his effort in saving the hotel as an anchor to downtown Northfield’s historic district. The current owners are Brett and Michelle Reese who are long time Northfield residents. The Reese’s have a passion for Northfield’s history and are committed to a vital downtown district.

A major renovation is scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2009 and will start at the hotel’s River level and work up floor by floor to the addition of two grand suites in the hotel’s currently vacant 4th floor. The renovation will be careful to honor the history of the building and its architecture while bringing luxury and modern amenities to the grand old Inn. The renovation will take place over two years as the Inn continues to serve hotel guests and provide uninterrupted access to its two restaurants, lounge, coffee shop, salon and retail stores.

We welcome visitors to tour the building and we would love hear your stories of past visits to the Archer House and your ideas for its future!


 

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