Archer House River Inn, Northfield, MN
Date: February 22, 2021

The Archer House River Inn, Northfield, MN was substantially damaged by fire on November 12, 2020. Since that time, the primary focus of activity on the site has been the on-going investigation of the origin and cause of the fire. This investigation is being led by a professional fire investigator hired by the insurer for the Archer House River Inn. We understand this investigation is in its final stages. During the week of February 22 nd , the fire investigation team is coordinating the removal of certain items from the Archer House River Inn for purposes of completing the investigation. This will involve the use of heavy equipment around the building and potential additional structural damage to extract certain items. The parties involved in the removal of these items are committed to minimizing additional damage to the building where possible.

Once the investigation is complete, we expect the insurance company will provide its determination as to whether the structure is a partial or total loss. At that time, we will be able to begin in earnest the process of assessing future options for the site which could include a wide range of possibilities including, but not limited to, restoration, replacement, or re-development. We will be working with the City of Northfield and many other parties as these options are analyzed and assessed. We appreciate the outpouring of support and encouragement during this difficult time of a significant and important asset of our community being “silent and dark” as the insurance process continues and eventually concludes.

Owners of The Archer House River Inn



The Archer House Inn suffered significant fire and water damage due to a fire that began late afternoon on Thursday, November 12, 2020 at Smoqehouse (A tenant of the Archer House). Within 30 minutes the Northfield Fire Department thought the fire was under control and was preparing to leave the premises. It was at that time they discovered that the fire was spreading through the floors and walls above the Smoqehouse kitchen.

Fortunately, the only injury was minor first degree burns on the hands of a Smoqehouse employee. Alarms and Safety equipment worked as designed leading to an orderly evacuation of all hotel and tenant staff. No hotel guests were in the building when the fire began.

Sadly, over the next 18 hours, the fire continued through the 1877 building’s floors and walls until it ultimately reached the 4th floor. As of early afternoon on Friday, November 13, 2020 the fire was considered contained but with significant damage that has led to the hotel and our tenants closure.

Over the coming days and weeks there will be a determination as to the condition of the structure and if any portion of the historic structure can be saved. While it is our hope that we will be able to rebuild the inn, restaurant, bar and retail spaces, it is too early to determine when that will happen or any specifics.

At this tragic time, our thoughts turn to the Archer House staff as well as our tenants and their staff. We will do all we can to assist those who have lost jobs, in what has already been a challenging year for hotel, restaurant and bar workers.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, The Archer House closed March 17, 2020 reopening on July 24th. During this time, the Archer House Owners invested more than $150,000 on improvements to our guest rooms, lobby, breakfast room, and new bar. The Archer House Bar is particularly hard to have lost considering all the time our management and staff put into its design and construction.

We are grateful for the support we have received from the Mayor, local officials, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges, past guests and community members since the fire began. It has been our honor to be stewards of the Archer House and its long and important history in Northfield. Our company motto is to “Preserve, maintain and enhance unique properties that serve and connect communities”. We are anxious to get started on the Archer House’s next chapter. Updates will be added to the Archer House website and social media accounts in the coming days, weeks and months.

Due to extensive smoke and water damage sustained from the fire on November 12th, the Archer House will remain closed for the foreseeable future. At this time we are not taking future reservations.