On the centennial of the opening of Northfield’s Archer House in August of 1877, Marjorie Neuhaus wrote an article titled, “Hotel Stuart: Now Century Old”. The Northfield History Collaborative has digitized Neuhaus’s first draft, with edits by longtime Northfield News reporter and editor, Maggie Lee.
Her account provides some great details on the beginnings of our historic hotel and the changes in ownership, design, and use over the years. I particularly enjoyed reading the description of the gala grand opening in the middle of August, 1877:
including this gem:
Among the 250 invited guests were … politicians with their fashionably dressed wives and eligible daughters. As they stepped down from their carriages, they were greeted by a group of attractive young gentlemen who escorted them on a tour of the hotel.
Neuhaus’s article also included a few menus for gala dinners, listing all of the delicious food and beverages one could enjoy. Green Sea Turtle Soup, or Cream of Oyster, yum!
Christmas 1895 menu at the Archer House
Banquet Menu for the Bronson Reception, October 17, 1903, which cost $1.50 per person
For some visual evidence of the Archer House’s changes over the years, here are photos from the Northfield Historical Society’s collections that supplement this NHC document:
Stereograph of the Archer House shortly after it opened, c. 1880.
In 1903, the hotel’s owners changed its name to the Manawa Hotel, written on the wagon parked out front.
The name changed again to the Hotel Stuart in 1913, as seen in this photo from 1920.
At one point the hotel’s bricks were painted white, which you can see in this photo of the Hotel Stuart in 1959.
The Hotel Stuart in 1977, its centennial year.
Clearly, the Archer House has changed even more since Marjorie Neuhaus wrote about it, but that makes me wonder – which version of the hotel would you like to visit?
Newspapers (and even more interestingly, drafts of news articles like this one) can provide fascinating descriptions of history. See more from the Northfield News collection of the NHC. Who knows what else you can find if you look hard enough?