ARRIVING: DEPARTING: ADULTS: CHILDREN: SPECIAL RATES

The Real History of The Saint Paul Hotel

 

On December 19th 2008 my boyfriend Scott surprised me with an stay in the Landmark Suite and took me to the evening radio production of "It's a Wonderful Life" (my favorite movie) to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. I had never been to the Saint Paul Hotel before and I was not disappointed. Scott had the concierge put a dozen red roses in our room. It was absolutely beautiful!

As we watched "It's a Wonderful Life" we had a fantastic meal as we enjoyed the show. During one of the breaks there were radio grams you could fill out to send special messages to loved ones in the audience. Scott and I both said we had no idea what to write and so we weren't going to fill one out, but as they started reading them, to my surprise there was one for me. George Bailey's character said..."this one is different, it's to Lindsay from Scott and he's asking to bring her on stage." Scott brought me on stage and said..."This woman has been with me for five wonderful years. I can't think of a better lady or better family to be with than hers... Lindsay...will you marry me?" OF COURSE I SAID YES!!!!! Everyone was so nice congratulating us giving us a standing ovation and the hotel gave us a complimentary bottle of champagne.

After the show we had friends surprise us in the Saint Paul Grille so we went and had a few drinks and went for a walk in Rice Park to continue our celebration. It was an absolutely magical night!

Scott and I were married this December 19th 2009 and we took a limo to the Saint Paul Hotel for pictures, of course they turned out absolutely beautiful!

On December 20th we brought family to "It's a Wonderful Life." This time it was my turn to surprise Scott with a radio gram. Mary Bailey's character read "A year ago on this very stage you asked me to be your wife. Yesterday we made it official. It is going to be a wonderful life. Love your wife, Lindsay." And the cast had us come on stage again and the audience was clinking their glasses for us to kiss. We willingly obliged :) We also received a gift card to the hotel as a wedding gift and spent a night there as we walked through Rice Park, went to Mickey's Dinner, took in a show at the Ordway, and went to the science museum to see their Titanic exhibit.

Congrats Saint Paul Hotel on your big Celebration! You have been there for so many of ours, and I know you will be there for many more!

- Scott and Lindsay Zirbes 

 

Last Saturday morning my eighty-seven year old husband was reading the paper. I stopped short in whatever task I was doing when he read about your exciting milestone. He then commented: “I’m close to a hundred and I’ve never been there.” Needing to be one up on him, I told him that I had. Here is my memory:

In 1947, or 1948, I was working at an office in Southeast Minneapolis. A middle aged lady was employed there who totally fascinated this country bumpkin with her tales of world travels. She was told that I had never been to downtown St. Paul. She said: “We’ll take care of that tomorrow night, you spiff up and we’ll do something special.” And we did. We went to your hotel, ate in your beautiful dining room, food I have never had before and counting all the forks and glasses on my table I truly believed I was in heaven, or at least in a palace and I was a princess. After dinner (at home we called it supper), we were entertained by the U.S. Naval Band. They played a lot of patriotic numbers and then took some requests. My friend asked if I wanted to request a number and I said I was just so in awe of everything I couldn’t think of a title, but I was going to forever remember this night and her gift of it to me. She said: “Well that is a good title, I’ll request it.” She wrote something on a piece of paper, gave it to the waiter and soon I head: “Thanks for the memory.”

I wish you a hundred more.

Blessings!

 -Muriel Lindstrom

 

"My grandparents met at The Saint Paul Hotel in approximately 1915 where they were both employed. My grandmother, Mabel Coates, started as a chamber maid. Later she was promoted to a salad girl in the restaurant. There, in the hotel kitchen, she met my grandfather, Gust Margelis, who worked as a cook. They married in 1916. My grandfather was still working at The Saint Paul Hotel when my mother and father married in 1937. As a wedding present to my mother and father, my grandparents gave them a reception at The Saint Paul Hotel. Even after all these years, my Aunt Bette says that she has never seen a prettier wedding cake."

- Mary Lou Rasmussen

 

It was 1954 when I first visited the St Paul Hotel. I was a seven year old girl from the country on her way to an eye doctor appointment in the Lowry Medical Arts Building in St Paul. I only had glimpses of the beauty and elegance as my parents and I walked from the hotel garage through the hotel lobby and out the front door on our way to my appointment. A week or so later we would repeat this journey to pick up my new glasses at the Arthur F. Williams Optical. If there was time, we would visit the Frank Murphy Store and my mother would try to find a new hat -on sale! We continued to visit St Paul this way for the next ten years or so - always parking in the hotel garage. It was a wonderful cache of memories for me and a source for imagining what exciting and beautiful happenings went on inside that elegant hotel. Congratulations on your 100th year!

- Lynn Dale

 

I remember being approached by the Secret Service, when George Bush was staying in the hotel. They wanted me to make sure the president was served a meal at a specific time in the morning. I asked him what the meal request was and he said it was privileged information. I informed him that I felt we needed to have enough information - at the very least make sure we had the ingredients for his meal. The Secret Service agent assured me we had the ingredients.

I contacted Chef Jeremy to ensure we would have someone on staff to prepare the meal and to speak with the agent in hopes he would be able to extract some information from him. The Secret Service would only say he was sure we would have everything he needed and just make sure the chef was there at a specific time!

Needless to say Chef Jeremy was there personally in the morning to prepare the meal. When I showed up the next day, I asked what the big secret meal was---- A Peanut Butter and Bacon Sandwich!!!!!!!

The Secret Service gave me a box of special secret service M&M's and a letter of accommodation for coordinating the meal!

I still have them today.

- Leslee Francis

 

My Grandmother Evelyn Stack was a waitress at the St. Paul Hotel in the 1960's. Since retiring and moving back to North Dakota in 1971, she has shared great stories with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of her time working at your hotel. She would sit and recant stories of all of the celebrities that she met while working in the cafe. She told us about Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis staying at the hotel and fighting over kosher food. She told us about Carol Burnett and how she would come into the kitchen and make her own eggs in the morning. (We contacted Ms. Burnett for my Grandma's 85th birthday and she was gracious enough to send a card to my Grandma - a nice relationship that started at the St. Paul hotel.) She told us about the Chinese boys choir staying at the hotel and how polite they were. She even told us about the King of Norway coming for a visit and that the staff had to "look their best" and line up along the entrance when the King came into the hotel. All great stories that our family has thanks to her time at your hotel. My favorite story though, is her story of the 1965 World Series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers stayed at the St. Paul Hotel when they came to play the Minnesota Twins at the Old Met Stadium in the 1965 World Series. The Dodger's were favored and by her stories, very confident they could beat the upstart Twins. She told us about Sandy Kofax sitting with his family in the cafe and not interacting with the other members of the team. How Don Drysdale and most of the other players were friendly to all the staff. As she tells it, The Dodger's were so confident that they would beat the Twins in Game 6 of the series (Dodger's were leading the series 3 games to 2), they checked out of the St. Paul Hotel the morning of the game. As the Dodger players left the hotel, bags packed, my Grandma made a bet with the Dodger's Manager, Walter Alston. She bet that the Twins would win game 6 and the Dodger's would be checking back in that afternoon. Sure enough, the twins beat the Dodger's and that evening the Dodger's were back at the St. Paul. The next morning Walter Alston and the team were back for breakfast. Mr. Alston walked into the cafe, with his hat brim down and hand shading his eyes asking, "Is Evie here?"

My Grandma is 94 years old now, but she still tells the stories of her time working at the St. Paul Hotel as if they happened yesterday. She and my Grandpa loved their time living on Payne Ave. in St. Paul, she worked at the Hotel and he worked at the Ford plant. The memories and stories of that time are priceless.

- Dan Stack

 

As an employee in 1978 (housekeeper), I worked weekends while in high school (Highland Park). The night of our schools' prom, I was mopping the lobby when my classmates came in to the ballroom for the special night. No date that night!

In the last years of the hotel, we had some permanent residents. One elderly lady would tip us a quarter if we'd get her a hamburger form McDonald's since the Gopher Grill was closed on weekends. She also complained to the engineers if the pipes were hot or an unnecessary light was on in the elevators. Nonetheless, we felt like family and it was a fun place to work.

In 1970, the basement barber ship was still going and my mother took me there once for a haircut. Little did I know I'd be cleaning that old room 8 years later -- then a vacant space.

During high school state tournaments, the hotel was full and I met a cute gal in the hallway. Since I had a master key, I gave her a tour of non-public parts of the hotel including the penthouse suite. Turns out I crashed the general manager's party he was having -- Uff da! I kept my job, though.

It was sad to see the hotel pass its glory days -- the coffee shop was vacant and rooms were outdated, but I was pleased to be a part of it in the end before the big renovation. It's always special to return even if it looks different today.

- Tom Conlon

 

Growing up in Highland Park, the St. Paul Hotel was always known for the best food and elegant lodging. In the 50's, my parents would treat me to the fabulous buffet on Sundays. I can still remember the best part was the lavish dessert table. To a child, it was like Disneyland for the stomach. Then high school lunches after shopping at Frank Murphy's, dinner dates and dances in the 60's were part of an exceptional visit back in history.

There was always a comfortable feeling of stability. No matter how the landscape of downtown St. Paul changed over the years, the St. Paul Hotel image remained constant. Even with the remodel, the remnants of the past were preserved.

I married and moved across to the "other" river city, but my loyalties to the capitol city never changed. During the 80's and 90's, I attended many conventions and classes downtown. I convinced my co-workers to share my passion for the portabella sandwich at the famous St Paul Grill. Now they carry on the tradition.

Imagine my delight in 2005, when my engaged daughter and fiancé decided on celebrating their wedding reception at the St. Paul Hotel. They wanted a room with elegance and grace and large enough to accommodate 200+ guests in one room. How can you improve on perfection? Somehow your coordinator, Mary, did it that day. It will always remain one of the few "perfect" experiences of my lifetime. She was so professional at the first meeting and so gracious as we continued the process of preparation. Her attention to detail never wavered. Her ideas complemented my daughter's and she allayed many fears that follow the planning process. The activities of that auspicious day were executed with exceptional ease and grace. The staff mirrored Mary's professional attitude with much care during the night and at the end when "the party's over".

I can still see the musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra playing "When the Saints Come Marching In" as they wandered through the wedding reception that magic night. So many guests have told us since then that they have never had so much fun at a wedding. I can see why. . .and now you know why. Too bad you couldn't have been there! But your staff continues this tradition of excellent service every weekend for other weddings. Thanks for the memory.

- Maureen Zgutowicz
Wedding of September, 2006


As a young reporter working for a local television station in the late 1970's, I was working on a story about the residents of the St. Paul Hotel who were relocated as renovation on a grand scale was about to take place. Hotel staff worked with the residents to secure proper housing for them which was not only admirable but the right thing to do. However, there was one gentleman who was reluctant to leave the premises so we chatted about his experience. He had moved into the hotel with his wife many years earlier and they felt like kings and queens living in such an elegant building in the heart of downtown. Although his wife had died two years prior, he was afraid of losing his memory of her as the "Queen of St. Paul" if he moved from the hotel. The St. Paul Hotel was their castle and for this kind old man, his everything. Now when I have a meal or spend a night at the hotel, I have a sense that the spirits of the King and Queen of St. Paul are with me and this is a very comforting feeling.

- Elizabeth Trumble

 

Oh what a beautiful memory. . .The Saint Paul Hotel's Titanic dinner!  Indeed it was an exquisite, lingering, memorable indulgence.  It was an event I'd like to experience again and again!  The setting was grand . . .adored the many fresh linens and exquisite service.  The chef prepared wonderful and sumptuous masterpieces with great skill.  Event participants (like me) dressed for the affair.  It was an evening with total contentment!  WOW!

- Gerry Luepke

 

I am writing this on behalf of my parents. They were married on January 29, 1953 and spent their wedding night at your hotel. My grandmother gave them $25.00 to spend that night on their room. It was however a short honeymoon as my father was leaving the following morning for the Korean War. The story goes that the entire family (mothers, fathers, siblings) knocked on their room door at six am to take my father to the bus station. When my mother shares the story with us, she goes on to say that she was horrified when they came to the room because my grandfather took the ashtray with him when they left.

Recently, my mother saw the article in the St. Paul paper about honoring the price on past receipts. She pondered for a moment and went in search of her scrapbook. There it was, the receipt for their wedding night in the amount of $8.50.

They are returning to your hotel for the first time in 57 years in December.

Thank you for letting them revisit their wedding night, I hope this time they can sleep in.

- Wendi Steely

 

"My Ida Angel", he called me as my heart and face smiled with a glow as warm as the candles on our St. Paul Grill New Years Eve dinner table that night. December 31, 2006, my husband and I spent our third, and last, wedding anniversary in a beautiful room at The Saint Paul Hotel. The following September, his cancer, diagnosed only 18 months earlier, took over his body. We were married in Las Vegas on New Year's Eve, 2003 and enjoyed an amazing journey of finding love in "our later years", joining a new family together. Our night was spent with life-long friends, as we ate, then danced at the Landmark and toasted our love and friendship. I will never forget our special weekend, your gracious hospitality in making this a memorable event.

Thank you.

- Ida Adams

 

The Saint Paul Hotel Memory or the Fun Little Secret

Several years ago, my Mother and Dad shared a very fun, little secret memory with my husband and I while at dinner at The St. Paul Hotel Grill. We have since laughed and savored that story whenever we are dining or staying at The Saint Paul Hotel, our favorite. After getting the approval of my vivacious and still sassy 91-year old Mother, I will share the memory with you.

It was the summer of 1942, and my Mother and Dad were newly weds. After meeting at the St. Paul Library by chance - my Dad was a student at Hamline University and my Mom was a nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital - they got married. World War II happened and My Dad decided to join the Army and they moved from Minnesota to Wilmington, North Carolina where my Dad was stationed at Fort Fisher. On leave, They took the train to Red Wing, MN to visit my Grandma and Grandpa, my Dad’s parents. Of course trains were very popular then but definitely not the comfortable ride they are today. In fact, due to the War very old trains were put back into service. My parents actually wore sun glasses to keep the cinders from blowing in their eyes - of course, the train windows had to be open in the hot summer, before air conditioning.

According to my Mother, the dirty train ride required them to sit up night and day. They entertained themselves by playing cards and making friends with the other passengers in the bar car. They must have had a good time, because the train traveled through Red Wing (their destination) without the young couple even noticing. In fact, they did not get off the train until it stopped in St. Paul. The two were not concerned as they walked up the street from the Milwaukee Depot and checked into the beautiful Saint Paul Hotel - definitely without a reservation.

Now, the fun really began. The glamorous hotel was perfect for meeting friends from the area and having a wonderful 3-day reunion party. One friend and his wife were also on a leave and happily joined them. My Mother remembers driving in Ed and Toots’ convertible downtown St. Paul when Ed’s pilot hat blew off, and he was able to pick it up off the road while “flying” down the street. The elegant hotel was perfect. What a beautiful, care-free time at the grand hotel before going to Europe. The bill for the 3-day vacation was quite expensive for the Corporal. In fact, after paying the bill, they got an additional bill for $1, which my Dad ignored.

My husband and I are so grateful that my parents shared this special Saint Paul Hotel memory with us.

And they never told my Grandma and Grandpa why they arrived in Red Wing three days late - and my Grandparents never asked them.

- Kari Schamber

 

I still remember as a young child, staying at The Saint Paul Hotel with my parents. I can only imagine the twinkle in my eye was similar to the twinkle in my children's eyes at Christmas, when all their world is lit with glittering lights and hearts are filled with wonder. I even remember the wonderful Sunday brunch, with the freshest orange juice and perfectly crisped bacon. I suppose those memories are the reason the St. Paul Hotel and the St. Paul Grill are still among my favorite places, but as a selective adult, they wouldn't remain there without very good reason.

- Kim Schieche

 

It was our 10th wedding anniversary. Everything was set up perfectly. It was Winter Carnival, we had a corner suite with a view of the ice palace and the ice sculptures below in Rice Park. The three stone diamond ring was tucked neatly in a small snowman shaped ceramic container which was wrapped in pretty paper with a bow. Roses sat on the table in our suite while we enjoyed our happy hour cocktail and chatted about how perfect everything was.

My plan was to walk my bride over to the ice palace and place her upon one of the sculpted ice thrones. There I would pull the wrapped box from my pocket and down on one knee, present her with ice befitting my Queen.

There's was only one problem. The mercury had taken a plunge and the palace closed due to the severe cold. Really? An ice palace closed due to the cold? Back to the room we trotted.

Resting in the warmth and comfort of our corner suite I knelt before her and gave her the three stone ring she had longed for. Tears of joy flowed then laughter as I told her of the plan thwarted by the cold. We spent the rest of the night in the warm embrace of our suite and family like hospitality of the St. Paul Grill.

We'll never forget it and plan to spend as many anniversaries there as possible in that same corner suite that contains so many great memories.

- Ron and Julie Mulford

 

When I was about 4 years old, Mom started taking me downtown for a day of shopping. We always went to The Saint Paul Hotel for lunch first. It was an elegant place, and I always felt like a princess being waited on by everyone.

It was the first place we went, so I learned how to get every place else from there.

When I was 6, my Dad took me to my first St. Paul Winter Carnival parade. It was cold. We watched for a while and then my Dad said he had to go to the bathroom. He told me to sit on the curb, watch the parade, and wait for him.

Soon there was no more parade, and the street sweepers were coming down the street. No Dad! (No one had told me that the street sweepers always came after the horses, and that there would be more parade.) I was afraid my Dad had forgotten where I was and that I would never find him. I was scared but I didn't want to cry because my tears would freeze to my face.

Then I remembered The Saint Paul Hotel, I could get there and it would be warm. So I started walking.

By the time I got there I was so cold, and I had to go potty.

I walked into the bathroom and the lady who worked there told me I had to pay to use the toilet. I said I didn't have any money, and she said to ask my parents for the change. I started to cry and my story came out.

The lady let me use the toilet.

Then she gave me money out of her pocket to call Mom. She talked to Mom too.

When we got off the telephone, she again reached in her pocket for my bus fare. She told me where the bus stop was (1 block away), which number bus to take (4), and to tell the driver I was to get off on Dunlap St, which I did.

In the meantime my Dad had called Mom, frantic because he couldn't find me. Mom told him everything was okay and that I'd be home soon.

When I got off the bus Mom was waiting for me.

After that every time we went to The Saint Paul Hotel, I would go to the bathroom to see my new friend. I would save my allowance to leave a 5 cent tip, as Mom said this was the proper thing to do.

I never stayed in a room at The Saint Paul Hotel, but I will never forget how I felt when we went there for lunch. Or how kind the bathroom lady was to a scared little girl.

A Princess never forgets, don't you know!

- Kathy Flynn-Herrick

 

Many decades of stays to see the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Memories of running conferences at The Saint Paul Hotel many decades ago. BUT most importantly, the way the staff always treats us like family, remember our names and in many ways make our stays more comfortable. The biggest special memory was of spending Christmas week in the penthouse to celebrate our daughter's 50th Birthday.

- Sally Sloan

 

Nothing could have been more delightful than my recent stay at The Saint Paul Hotel. I was in town to attend the wedding of Capt. Kate Buzicky and Capt. Jeremy Jacobs of the US Army JAG Corps. They had met in a bus in Iraq, en route to Fawz Palace, to hear the President speak, and now they were getting married, at the Minnesota History Center. On their wedding site, they recommended the Hotel St. Paul to guests, and staying there allowed me to get to know the center of town, walking everywhere for characteristic St. Paul views and angles. The wedding party ended up in the fabulous hotel bar, a beautiful finish to the night. I think you have the world's most comfortable beds, by the way.

- Elatia Harris Koepfli

 

It was a few years back; I had bought tickets to take my Mother-in-law to the tea with the story of Scrouge. My Mother-in-law was getting up there in years, was an avid reader but was dealing with some dementia. She was like a child, totally mesmorized by the narator and enjoying the peti sandwiches and tea. Then to top off the afternoon, while we were waiting for our car, there was snow falling, the really big, fluffy ones. It was a beautiful ending to a fun afternoon and a good memory of time with my Mother-in-law who has since passed. Thank you for hosting events like this.

- Kenneye Thompson

 

In the mid to late '70's, my soon-to-be wife and I frequently went to the hotel's restaurant (name?) for lunch or an early after-work supper. Memories are of a somewhat dark red motif with a huge painting of a woman(reclining?) behind the bar. Particualrly liked the beer cheese soup and the Saratoga chips that came with many meals. All the staff were wonderful, some "old-timers" and some not so old.

We were very sad when the restaurant closed for renovations. But we since have spent many great times in The Grill and M St. Cafe.

- Michael Driscoll

 

This memory is of one that was so beautiful and awesome. I was invited to a military ball in 1984, and it was magical. The dress blues on all the military was so patriotic, and we had such a good time dancing and celebrating patriotically!!! It was a truly memorable night, that I will never forget.

- Lisa Schultz

 

I have so many good memories of times spent with family and friends over the years at The Saint Paul Hotel from dinners at The Grill, to evenings spent in a luxurious room, to just stopping in for a cocktail in the cozy little alcove off the lobby. But if I had to choose one, it would be the year my husband and I chose The Saint Paul to celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary. We made hotel and dinner reservations, packed our bags, and drove from Maple Grove to St. Paul on a Saturday afternoon. It was a bit early to check in so we spent a couple of hours wandering around the city, grabbing a hot dog from the vendor, and sitting in Rice Park. So romantic. After which, we checked into a beautiful room at the hotel with a fabulous view, had a sensational dinner at The Grille, and spent an awesome night in the city. We love The Saint Paul so much that we sent our daughter and son-in-law there for their wedding night. My husband and my 28th anniversary is August 21st and we are still very much in love with each other and The Saint Paul is still our favorite hotel.

- Lucia Jochim

 

After many years of struggling to reach my goals in my field of work, I received a huge promotion at work, and was so excited!

I called my husband during work and explained what had happened earlier that morning. At the end of workday, I found him standing in my cube, with a bouquet of flowers and dressed in a suit. As we left my work, I thought we were walking to our car...walking across Rice Park, he surprised me (again) with dinner at The Saint Paul Hotel.

The memory of that day and particularly, that lovely dinner, is one that I will always cherish, as this weekend we will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary on July 12th!! As I look back over our years together, our dinner at The Saint Paul that evening, is one of my cherished memories with this remarkable man, my husband John!

- Annie Hayes

 

It was winter and my husband and I had been at the Ordway hearing the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and its guest soloist Yo Yo Ma - then and now the world's most divine cellist. We walked across the park afterwards for Irish coffee and dessert dinner at the St. Paul Grill. Then, as we sat relaxing and recounting the concert, in walks Yo Yo Ma with a few friends and his cello case. The reaction in the room was slow. There was a hesitation and then an awareness of his presence - and then I started clapping and the entire restaurant joined in. He smiled, bowed slightly, and was left to enjoy the evening with his friends.

- Susan Robiner

 

My favorite memory of our stay at the Saint Paul Hotel was not that long ago. I was given the title of Prime Minister of the 2009 St. Paul Winter Carnival Royal Family. It was a treat, especially after coronation when my husband and I went to the hotel and walked into one of the most lovely rooms at the Saint Paul Hotel. Your hospitality and staff were so accommodating with any need or want we asked for. I of course have stayed there before that night and have since, but that night was topped off by THE Saint Paul Hotel stay. Keep up the good work! WE love it.

- Pat Grans

 

In October 1949 my parents spent their wedding night at The Saint Paul hotel. It was only one night because duck hunting opened the same weekend. In 1975 I attended my junior prom at the St. Paul. And in 1982 I was hired as one of the original servers in Le Toile Dinning Room. Later I would become a banquet captain and an Employee of the Month. Even though I have left the hospitality business, all of my dinning and hotel experiences are based on the high level of training and expert staff I encountered during my tenure at The Saint Paul Hotel.

- Kevin Firnstahl

 

My parents stayed at the St. Paul Hotel on their wedding nite on July 16, 1946. 64 years later, they have 7 children, 11 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. They were married when my dad came home on leave while he was in the Navy.

- Cherilynn Kzaley

 

My father owned a retail shoe business in N. Dak. The "shoe show" (market) was held at The Saint Paul Hotel for many years (50's-early 60's?). He met one of his very best friends, also a shoe business owner, in the bar of the hotel. One night my dad danced on the bar! Every time my husband and I go to the hotel we sit at the bar (even though we know it is a different bar now) and think of my dad. We ALWAYS tell the story to the bar tender! We are so fond of the hotel and restaurant, partly because of this story. We were able to take my mom and dad to the Grill once before they died. We sat at the round table up front and had a wonderful evening with friends of theirs and also our daughter. Every year in August my husband and I spend our anniversary overnight in a Landmark King suite and have dinner in the Grill. It is very special to us because of this story. We have also started staying overnight on July 4th so we can walk to the fireworks. Another tradition we have is always meeting good friends at the Grill on a Sat. evening in December. We love your hotel and restaurant! Happy 100th Anniversary!

- Lesley Ellen Nystrom

 

My husband and I, married 53 years, fortunately have a lot in common-one of them is The Saint Paul Hotel. My grandfather and my husband's mother were both employed by the hotel in the 1940's. James Walsh was Irish, loved people and had just retired from the Emporium department store where he ran the Livery service (home deliveries via horse and buggy). He was employed as a "doorman", welcoming guests and holding the door for them. I remember his very elegant uniform and the tips he shared with his grandchildren-mostly quarters.

My husband's mother was Helen O'Rourke Hubler, also Irish and a single mother, who was employed as a cashier in the Gopher Grill. Helen, a voracious reader, was thrilled one day when she obtained the autograph of the famous author, Sinclair Lewis, a guest of the hotel. We still have the autograph written on the back of a Gopher Grill receipt.

Having grown up in the shadow of the Cathedral, we are pleased that the historic Saint Paul Hotel remains a vital part of downtown St. Paul.

- Carol Hubler

 

My father John York was manager at The Saint Paul Hotel (around late 1930's/1940's?) and my mother Mary Hurley was the executive secretary for Byron Calhoun.

This is where they met, and later married. The family has many fond memories of the St. Paul Hotel.

- Kathleen York

 

I was employed at The Saint Paul Hotel as the Concierge from November 1982 until August 1983. I will never forget the training at the St. Paul Club prior to the grand opening and what it was like to work at that grand hotel. I wish there were photos of the people who worked with me at that time. I made many friends and have so many special memories. Every time I visit Minnesota I stop by the hotel just to have a look and to remember.

- Kevin Lustig

 

We have had many wonderful moments at the hotel since we first started to come in February 2002 - however, the April 17th gala was so magical and fantastic that it is now at the top of our list of very special memories!...you must do that type of event more often as it is super...may be New Year's Eve..it would be fabulous! We just love the Hotel and the very efficient and friendly staff!

- George and Annette De Ziel

 

When I was young my mother would take my sister & I individually to The Saint Paul Hotel to stay over & go shopping. On one of these trips, while dining, there was a group of Disney artists sitting at the table next to us. Several were drawing cartoon characters on plates. This drew me like a magnet to watch with the fascination of a seven year old. I have no idea who these artists were and the napkin that the hotel allowed me to have had no signature. I still have that napkin from the hotel with Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck & Pluto drawn on. What a thrill for a 7 year old. This was about 1952 I think. The Saint Paul Hotel was my 1st experience staying in a hotel and my 1st train ride. Thank you Saint Paul Hotel for your contribution to a wonderful memory.

- Joan Collinge

 

We have not one memory, but a combination of many wonderful memories over the years. We have celebrated almost every special occasion at The Saint Paul Hotel!

From Easter and Mother's Day brunches, to week-end packages for our Anniversary, New Years' Eve and the spectacular 100th Celebration.

Also the special nights of dining in the St. Paul Grill overlooking Rice park during Winter Carnival, plus the many week-ends of wonderful jazz by JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brunske in the Lobby Bar.

We feel privileged to have this world -renowned hotel in Saint Paul, and to have shared so many unforgettable memories there.

- Lloyd Dopkins and Carole Olson Dopkins

 

In the fall of 1978, I recall being at The Saint Paul Hotel for a teachers’ meeting. At some point during the evening, another teacher and I boarded an elevator. Inside were three men. As the doors closed, we immediately recognized one of the men as Senator Ted Kennedy. For a brief moment, his face seemed frozen in fear. Then he smiled nervously, reached out cautiously, and shook our hands. It was a memorable event in our lives.

We later wondered why the Senator seemed so alarmed at our entering. Certainly, we didn’t look like a threat. We concluded that possibly the men with the Senator were body guards, and that they did not properly by-pass the floor where we boarded. Or maybe, we weren’t supposed to use that particular elevator.

It was obvious that Senator Kennedy was haunted by memories of the assassinations of both of his brothers, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963, and Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968.

We knew that Senator Kennedy was in St. Paul for a political rally, but we didn’t know at the time that he was staying at The Saint Paul Hotel. It is understandable that visits by celebrities were not publicized in order to protect not only privacy, but in some cases probably lives.

- Ren Holland

 

One of my favorite childhood memories is when my grandpa would treat our family to brunch at The Saint Paul Hotel during the 1950's.

As a little girl, I felt like royalty descending the curved marble staircase in my Sunday best. The dining room had long tables filled with delicious food, beautifully displayed with fresh flowers on starched white tablecloths and the coffee was served in silver pots. For me, the best part was when the rolling dessert cart appeared at our table overflowing with a wide array of cakes, pies, pudding and ice cream. Being allowed to choose more than one dessert was always a cause for celebration.

A half-century has gone by since then, and I am about to have a grandchild of my own. I can't think of a better place to celebrate than The Saint Paul Hotel.

- Maryann Mc Guinn

 

June through August, 1954

My father's employer hosted our family at The St. Paul the Summer of 1954. My father's office was transferred from Fargo, ND to their metro-area offices. Staying at The St. Paul was a warm, gracious and lovely experience. Later, in the 1960's The Junior Assembly had their dinner-dances in the Ballroom and Frank Murphy had their "Give Away" sale there, as well. When I looked into the door of the Ballroom for the sale, I promptly left. News stories of the day can explain the chaotic craziness of those sales. The St. Paul will long be remembered for it's place and influence in St. Paul. It was, and is, such an important part of the community and civic life of St. Paul.

We wish The St. Paul continued success.

- Patricia Hoversten

 

My memory of time spent during the late 1980's at The Saint Paul Hotel does not involve the presence of a celebrity or the observance of a special occasion. It is simply a very warm recollection of joining friends (post Ordway) for cocktails in the superb piano lounge. The ambiance was second to none.

- Julia Clark

 

I have stayed and dined at your lovely hotel many times and have always enjoyed every minute of my experience.

However, my favorite memories are those shared by my Grandmother Mary Yankovec who at the tender age of 15 was fortunate enough to be hired as a waitress in the 1920's. She often told us with stories of serving the likes of "Baby Face Nelson" as well as other gangsters of the time. Reporting how nice they were and what good tippers.

Later when her younger brother Joe needed a job she put in a good word and he was hired as a dishwasher. Many years later Joe would become the chef.

Happy Centennial Saint Paul Hotel! You are better then ever.

- Victoria Pream

 

Last summer as a family of sister-in-laws we decided to get together and dine at The Saint Paul Hotel, and then go to the Ordway. One of us is dealing with leukemia and is not very strong. I drove right up to drop my sisters-in-law off and proceeded to park the car in your lot. On the way into the hotel I realized that my sister-in-law would not be able to walk over to the Ordway after dinner so I asked if I could take my car out and then return it to the lot. They said not to worry they would take care of us. We dined on a lovely meal and so enjoyed our time together. When we were finished I went out to see about getting my car and the door man said no worries we have a car already for you all to take you over to the Ordway. It was so special to be taken care of and not have to worry about my sister-in-law or my car.

Thank you for making that day so special to all of us. I don't think we'll all be together again to celebrate so it will remain very special to the 4 of us.

- Jane Stein

 

In the late 1940s, my family lived in Minneapolis. One of the favorite things I got to do was go to The Saint Paul Hotel on Sundays for their smorgasbord. My father was simply thrilled with the menu and I suppose that is how I learned to love prime rib. I do remember the variety was endless. But the absolute best was the desserts!!! I remember there was a tiered table with everything one can imagine. The petit fours were my absolute best. What I wouldn't give for that Sunday dinner again. Thank you for those many Sunday dinners.

- Carole Katz

 

My mother was a waitress in the coffee shop of The Saint Paul Hotel for a number of years in the 60's. As a young child, I would often go in at the end of her shift and wait for her to finish her work, while my dad waited outside in the car. I remember that there were a number of regulars who lived or visited the hotel and that would come in to eat at the coffee shop daily. They would like to visit and would sometimes buy me a special treat. My Mom once had an article written about her in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Oliver Towne column as creating a special home like atmosphere for those she served. She got to know many of those folks quite well, particularly those who lived in the hotel. She would often bring home autographs of famous movie stars that had come in to the coffee shop such as Bob Hope and Danny Thomas. It was always exciting to hear who had come to visit The Saint Paul Hotel. While my mother is no longer alive, she had many fond memories of her time at The Saint Paul Hotel.

- Kathy Sands

 

In 1991, I was 11 years old. Growing up in West St. Paul, I wasn't yet aware of all that surrounded me in my community. That is, until my parents announced that my dad would be the next Prime Minister in the 1991 Saint Paul Winter Carnival. I knew it was big, but I didn't grasp it. What I did know, was that it meant my 3 siblings and I would get to stay a night in The Saint Paul Hotel after the Coronation. In those days, we were a strict generic-box family, counting pennies and taking "staycations" before that's what they were called. A weekend at our local Motel 6 felt like we had hit the jackpot. Suddenly, we were in the middle of Saint Paul and all its glory during those 10 days in January. So there we were, four kids between the ages of 9 and 15, poised for a wild and crazy night. With our swimsuits on, shoeless feet, and towels in tow, we marched down to the front desk and genuinely asked, "where's the pool?" I'll never forget the look on the concierge's face. It was a mix between the shock of us being naive and sadness for not wanting to disappoint us. With regret, he informed us that there was no pool at the Saint Paul Hotel but that he could let us rent a free movie on the television in our room. It wasn't a pool, but it was certainly something that spoke to our hearts. We waddled back up to our room, all four of us in the big bed, and hunkered down for the night. It remains one of my best childhood memories to date.

- Katey Davern McCabe

 

My love for The Saint Paul Hotel began when I was a young girl. My grandparents’ were from North Dakota. They would come to Minnesota several times a year because my Grandfather was a director on the Farmers Union Central Exchange. He was representing the state of North Dakota. They always stayed at The Saint Paul Hotel and we always went to the hotel to visit them. I remember how elegant I felt when I visited because it was such a luxurious hotel. My parents would visit with my Grandparents and we would ride the elevators. We would have so much fun and that was the beginning of my love affair with The Saint Paul Hotel.

One of my fondest memories was when my Grandfather was in St. Paul for a meeting. He announced he needed a partner to fly back to Fargo, North Dakota with him. He asked me to fly with him. I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I arrived at The Saint Paul Hotel and stayed over night to help Grandpa get ready to go back home. Grandpa and I had breakfast together and then got in a cab that took us to the airport. This experience was my first of many times at The Saint Paul Hotel and my first airplane ride. As an adult I still smile when I think of the elegance I felt while eating with my Grandpa and then the cab being hailed for us to go to the airport. This was the start of The Saint Paul Hotel being a part of major memory maker for my family and me. My family has continued to create memories at The Saint Paul Hotel. We have celebrated many anniversaries, our daughters sixteenth birthday, milestone birthdays and graduations. We have always had premier services, and the luxurious feeling that I felt as young girl is still present today. Our daughters always felt so sophisticated when they celebrated a special birthday at The Saint Paul Hotel. Whenever friends ask where should we go in St. Paul I am very quick to answer with The Saint Paul Hotel. As season ticket holders to the Ordway we often have dinner before we go to the concert or dessert after the concert. The Saint Paul is a special landmark for our family.

Every time I enter the hotel I smile and I am brought back to my first visit at The Saint Paul Hotel as a young girl with my Grandparents. It is like being with an old friend that cares if you are having a good time.

Sincerely,

- Sandra L. Benson

 

My uncle was an elevator operator at The Saint Paul in its earliest days. He was from Luxembourg, Europe and had come to the U.S. through Ellis Island in NY, along with my mother. He was very proud of his job and wanted everyone to come and see the wonderful place where he worked. To me, I will always associate family with the Saint Paul.
Thank you.

- Judy Zerby

 

Black Tie Option

Once a year, usually during a week-end in April, The Saint Paul Hotel becomes over grown and impacted with dentists from all over the country. It has been the “Host” Hotel for the Star of the North which is the Minnesota Dental Association Annual Meeting. It allows those introverted dental professionals to graciously celebrate for a long week-end that is usually long over-due since they are normally “down-in-the-mouth”.

One year for the President’s Gala a few of us decided that we would wear our tuxedos for such a fancy dinner and dance that was staged in the main Ballroom of the Hotel. My lovely wife was upstairs in our hotel Room primping for the Gala and I was attending receptions at the River Center. She called me on the cell phone and requested that I meet her in the lobby of The Saint Paul Hotel. I immediately rushed over to the hotel and stood next to the elevators so not to miss her in the crowd. People approaching the elevators had mistaken me as “The Elevator Man” dressed in my tuxedo and asked me for directions and etc.

Before my wife arrived, a dental colleague, who practices in out state Minnesota departs from the elevator and he greets me. “How are things going?” Amused by my previous mistaken identity I shared “Well the practice hasn’t been doing all that well lately, so I am working here part-time as an elevator operator”. He stammers in shock “I am sorry to hear that, but I am sure things will pick up for you.” He walks away speechless and puts a dollar on the table next to me as he leaves.

Embarrassed and shocked by my own believability I proceeded to walk away from the elevator to catch him, when my wife yells from inside the next elevator. “There you are. I thought I would get lost without you.”

To the best of my knowledge he still thinks of me as an elevator man, so if you’re in a pinch, call me. I guess I look the part.

- Patrick J Foy, DDS (past-president of the MDA)

 

I remember performing at The Saint Paul Hotel with my Band--"The Judy Richmond Trio" with Harry Blons on Clarinet & Sax and Eddy Tolck on Drums in the dining room for dining and dancing. I played the Hammond Organ & "Chamberlin" (an instrument which there were only 9 Professionals in the US playing one.

Those were the good 'ol days when people would go out for dinner and then stay and dance til 1:00 A.M. in the morning. Everyone had FUN!!!! FUN!!!

Best Job I ever had!!!!! Loved it there.

I played New York, Las Vegas and around the U.S. but The Saint Paul Hotel was THE BEST!!!!

- Judy (Richmond) Skibsted 

 

I have many amazing memories of The Saint Paul Hotel. It is one of my favorite spots in the entire state of Minnesota. A native St. Paul girl, my family used to celebrate many birthdays and special occasions in the St. Paul Grill. When I was 13-years-old, I had my bat mitzvah party in the beautiful Saint Paul Hotel ballroom. And, my most special memory of all, on March 5, 2010, my amazing (now) fiancé, proposed to me at The Saint Paul Hotel. Knowing how much the historic hotel meant to me, he surprised me my booking a room for an overnight stay. When we walked in, the room was filled with rose petals, and soft, melodic music was playing in the background on the radio. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was the best moment of my life! I always held the Saint Paul Hotel near and dear to my heart, but now it carries even more of a special meaning. It will forever be my favorite place.

- Marissa Kristal

 

My mother was four years old when she accompanied her grandparents Michael Joseph, and Olive O'Donnell to The Saint Paul Hotel in 1939. It was a lot for a four-year old to taken in. My mother remembers her grandparents expecting her best behavior. My mother also remembers seeing some of the most fabulously dressed people she had ever seen, including herself. My mother and I still reminisce about her time in the big city from South Dakota. At times it all seems like a big dream. I would love to be able to present to my mother a copy of her grandfather's signature from the guest registry, or some token of their visit to the big city.

- Melinda Miller

 

On December 19th 2008 my boyfriend Scott surprised me with an stay in the Landmark Suite and took me to the evening radio production of "It's a Wonderful Life" (my favorite movie) to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. I had never been to The Saint Paul Hotel before and I was not disappointed. Scott had the concierge put a dozen red roses in our room. It was absolutely beautiful!

As we watched "It's a Wonderful Life" we had a fantastic meal as we enjoyed the show. During one of the breaks there were radio grams you could fill out to send special messages to loved ones in the audience. Scott and I both said we had no idea what to write and so we weren't going to fill one out, but as they started reading them, to my surprise there was one for me. George Bailey's character said..."this one is different, it's to Lindsay from Scott and he's asking to bring her on stage." Scott brought me on stage and said..."This woman has been with me for five wonderful years. I can't think of a better lady or better family to be with than hers... Lindsay...will you marry me?" OF COURSE I SAID YES!!!!! Everyone was so nice congratulating us giving us a standing ovation and the hotel gave us a complimentary bottle of champagne.

After the show we had friends surprise us in The St. Paul Grill so we went and had a few drinks and went for a walk in Rice Park to continue our celebration. It was an absolutely magical night!

Scott and I were married this December 19th 2009 and we took a limo to The Saint Paul Hotel for pictures, of course they turned out absolutely beautiful!

On December 20th we brought family to "It's a Wonderful Life." This time it was my turn to surprise Scott with a radio gram. Mary Bailey's character read "A year ago on this very stage you asked me to be your wife. Yesterday we made it official. It is going to be a wonderful life. Love your wife, Lindsay." And the cast had us come on stage again and the audience was clinking their glasses for us to kiss. We willingly obliged :) We also received a gift card to the hotel as a wedding gift and spent a night there as we walked through Rice Park, went to Mickey's Dinner, took in a show at the Ordway, and went to the science museum to see their Titanic exhibit.

Congrats Saint Paul Hotel on your big Celebration! You have been there for so many of ours, and I know you will be there for many more!

- Scott and Lindsay Zirbes

 

My favorite memory is from one afternoon while walking through the lobby I encountered an elderly woman standing and taking in her surroundings. I asked if I could help her, and she smiled an declined. Fifteen minutes later, I saw her there again and introduced myself, and asked her if she was familiar with the hotel.

"Oh yes", she said. "When I was a little girl, my parents brought my sister and me here for brunch every Sunday."

She went on, "many years later my husband proposed to me here, and we spent our wedding night and many anniversaries before moving away."

"He died recently, and I am here visiting my children, and haven't been here in many years. It is all coming back to me."

That meeting always reminded me that The Saint Paul is all about creating memories and of the uniqueness of each of the memories guests have.

I will always be grateful for and humbled by the opportunity I had to be part of that legacy.

- Chuck Paton
  General Manager, 1999 - 2006

 

In June of 1965, my husband and I attended our first Minnesota Bankers Convention at The Saint Paul Hotel. It was the 75th anniversary of the MN Bankers, their diamond jubilee. We had not been to the Twin Cities for a number of years and I was so excited to go. We drove to St Paul with my aunt and uncle. My aunt told me I had to bring a hat to wear to the Ladies Luncheon and I did. We had such a good time and I will always remember our stay at the St Paul Hotel.

- June Bents

 

September 1st 2002. My husband and I got married on this day and after the ceremony and reception we stayed the night at The Saint Paul Hotel. It was very late at night, or early in the morning when we arrived. The staff treated us with such great respect, the hotel was more than we had imagined. The rooms were so clean, the beds so comfortable. When we awoke in the morning we treated ourselves to a fabulous room service breakfast. A remarkable day, ending in a remarkable stay at The Saint Paul Hotel. The next year, for our anniversary we decided to visit the hotel again. We arrived early this time to be able to enjoy the surroundings, the restaurant and the things that we had missed the year before. The food in the restaurant was superb, the flowers gorgeous, the atmosphere richer than we had remembered. We went to check in to our room, and amazingly we had the same room we had the night we got married. What a beautiful way to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary.

- Deb Carlson

 

In July, 1982, I started work in the pre-opening offices of The Saint Paul Hotel. Many people were so excited to see the Grand Dame coming back to life. Others were disappointed and afraid of what might result from the "big ideas" coming into Saint Paul. How could we possibly improve on the memories of all those from 1910 to the late 1970s? My mother received her first kiss on the 4th floor of the Hotel in 1930 something. A cousin worked in the marketing department in the 60's. My youngest sister spent her honeymoon at the hotel in the 80's. I personally dreamt that I "gave birth" to the hotel during those pre-opening days -- and spent nearly 20 fulfilling years working and playing with the wonderful employees, guests and friends of The Saint Paul Hotel. All of us have so many great stories - we could write a book! Our call to arms back in 1982 became -- "Back in Style and Making new memories for the next generations". It is clear from what I have read so far in these memories that the dreams of the ownership and opening team of 1982 were realized -- new memories for new generations! Here's to another 100 years of memories for Saint Paul's Grand Dame and those who love and appreciate her place in history and our lives!

- Gina Soucheray

 

One sunny but chilly September 2006, the national American Institute of Professional Geologists' convention was being hosted at The Saint Paul Hotel. One fieldtrip for the geologists and their spouses was to visit the local St. Paul geological and historical sites. An early lunch led us to a local spring for a place to sit and eat. Trip participants, including the dapperly dressed spouse of our organization's President Ex-Officio climbed up onto the small shelter housing the spring, as did a crowd of other trip participants. One step over the spring, one loss of balance, one slip, and she went feet-first down into the spring and up to her chest in icy cold spring water. What to do? She was wet, cold, and we were in the middle of a bus trip with no support vehicles. One call to The Saint Paul Hotel concierge brought a bellman to both her and our rescue. Our "Lady in Wet" was angry with herself, embarrassed, and cold when the bellman arrived to drive her back to the hotel. He never laughed, never smirked...Just politely escorted her back "home" to The Saint Paul Hotel; and without prodding asked for her wet cloths to have them cleaned and dried immediately. She had no other warm jacket in her possession for the remaining days of activities. Her cloths and jacket were returned within two hours of their surrender to the bellman. Life was back to normal except for the embarrassment of slipping into the water. A few of us pushed hard for this conference to be held at The Saint Paul Hotel versus a more economical setting. After seeing the slip into the water, making the call to the concierge, and hearing the story of the ride "home" for our guest, I smiled inside and out, knowing we made the right decision to come to the St. Paul Hotel; as did those that pushed for a more economical setting. The Saint Paul Hotel staff made our convention planning committee, and dare I say, the rest of Minnesota look very good on that day. Thanks again Saint Paul Hotel staff!

- Curtis Hudak

 

It was the first tea my mother and three sisters had ever attended together. Dressed to the nine’s we entered in to the main lobby where we were greeted by an extraordinarily munificent fragrant vase of fresh cut flowers. The beauty of the room was only mirrored by its guests as they sat at the stylishly set tables. The afternoon continued with warm tea, elegant courses of sweet fruits, chocolate and loving conversation. We have since attended other teas around the twin cities, but none have compared to our first tea at The Saint Paul Hotel.

With loving memories I thank you.

- Carol A. Rudolphi

 

A No Cell Phone Zone! When my husband and I were dating, we spent our first Christmas apart. My family lives in town and his family lives 3 hours away. Before my husband had to leave town, to spend some Christmas time together and exhange gifts, we booked a one night stay at the St Paul Hotel. My husband and I now share family Christmases, but booking a December night stay at The Saint Paul Hotel has become a 5 year tradition! We escape from holiday planning, shopping lists and to-do-lists! Our cell phones must be turned off! My husband and I relax and get rejuvinated. We look forward to our little tradition every December - with The Saint Paul Hotel!

- Karla Warner

 

Mission Impossible, The Saint Paul Hotel Version

In November of 2007, my husband and I were roped into a plot to secretly decorate my best friend's room at The Saint Paul Hotel. Her boyfriend, Justin, left a key for us at the front desk and when we went to retrieve it, we were almost spotted! It's a good thing we came in disguise. Upon reaching their room, we dispensed flowers, chocolates, flower petals on the bed in a heart-shape pattern, candles and some gifts from her boyfriend. We then trekked across the street to the Landmark Center skating rink, where we delivered a CD containing my best friend's favorite song to the person in charge of music. I began to snap photos as my best friend and her boyfriend skated by and I was joined by a few other friends - also in disguise. Finally, Justin got down on one knee and proposed in the middle of the rink. When she said "yes", we revealed ourselves and had a great laugh. We retired to The Saint Paul Hotel lobby bar to warm up with some celebratory hot cocoa.

Fast forward one year later...

Chrissy and Justin were married at the Landmark Center in November of 2008. The wedding party stayed at The Saint Paul Hotel, where it all started. As the Matron of Honor this time, I was asked again by Justin to decorate their bridal suite. The Best Man and I sneaked out sometime during the wedding photos, ran to my car and carried all sorts of flowers, candles, gifts, etc. to the room to again surprise Chrissy. We returned just in time for the ceremony to start. We awoke the next morning in our rooms at The Saint Paul Hotel to a light dusting of snow covering everything outside. It was a magical end to a wonderful event. To our group of friends, The Saint Paul Hotel will always be remembered as a magical, romantic place. We'll never forget the view of the Christmas lights in Rice Park, the soft coating of early morning snow on St. Peter Street, or sneaking around the hotel hallways in the name of friendship.

Thanks for the memories,

- Heather Kooyer

 

As Chair of the "Bal Karnawalowy" celebration of PACIM (The Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota) held at The Saint Paul Hotel, my little grandson, Kailash Garcia-Delaney, then age 6, heard often (and fairytale dreamed, I suspect) of preparation details. He frequently inquired about attending. Finally, this Granny decided ... in the big picture of life, a memory might be priceless. So, a pre-paid invitation was sent to Kailash.  

The night of the ball, I "cued in" the doorman about the little guest about to be dropped off in a big green van. When Kailash stepped through the revolving door, the doorman announced, "Prince Kailash!" I thought Kailash would swoon. What a small price to pay that night for a priceless memory for both of us. Kailash has osteogenesis imperfecta, brittle bone disease, and has spent many vicarious moments in books while those many broken bones healed. That night, he wasn't reading or dreaming ... he was living a fairytale. Thank you, Saint Paul Hotel!

- Charlene Kaletka Delaney

 

"My piano teacher held our annual recitals in a ballroom - or portion of a ballroom - at The Saint Paul Hotel. It felt quite grand, and I tried to deliver a performance worthy of the venue. That is, until 8th grade when I didn't fully memorize "Clair de Lune." When my turn to play arrived, I played what I remembered, then did a bunch of flowery arpeggios until I figured I'd used enough time. Luckily, I remembered the last page and the sweet ending, then rose from the piano and gave the audience a big smile. The applause was quite hearty, though I wondered immediately if it was for the fancy fakeout, or if the people recognized the song only from the Andy Williams recording they'd heard on the radio. My piano teacher and my mother did not appear amused.

- M. Etta Meyer

 

My first experience of The Saint Paul Hotel began for me around 1964, when I began work as a part-time dishwasher while attending high school in St. Paul. My First real job having just turned 16. I joined several other Johnson High School classmates working as dishwashers at the Hotel. I can still picture the huge dishwasher and the massive kitchen. I can also vividly remember the long stairway from the kitchen to the cafe upstairs and the sign hanging from it that listed every glass, cup, plate, bowl, etc., and its corresponding cost if one were to break one.

I also remember the internal tunnel system to get to different kitchens like the Gopher Grill, but the more interesting tunnel system were the ones that left the building, one to connect to the Lowry.

I worked as a dishwasher in the main kitchen and in the original Gopher Grill, now that was a classy place up there in those days. And the benefit of working in the Grill was you got to eat up there too, maybe only a burger; never a steak, but boy what good burgers - all sirloin. But one soon learned to make sure one worked on Sundays around the time of the Famous Sunday Brunch back in the mid-60s. That was a feast, and boy back then a pastry chef went all out. My favorite were the Napoleons if I remember the name correctly, the light multilayered crust with real pudding in-between covered in chocolate.

Then there were the conventions at the civic center and at the hotel. We all got to see a lot of famous people at those. I still remember around 1965-66 one political convention when some of the national figures even made an effort to come "behind the curtains" to meet us working stiffs; like Rolvag with his big cigar and many others.

There are a lot of memories from working those conventions, for example the time we couldn't maintain heat in the portable ovens (those 6-7' tall rolling metal cabinets) that were used to pre-fill plates with dinners and stack them inside for mass distribution later. We soon discovered the Sterno inside were disappearing. Then we discovered, so were full loaves of bread. It didn't take much longer to figure out that some of the "street day labor" staff were using the bread to let the Sterno soak through and apparently the alcoholic liquid that was then consumed. This resulted in two things, a frantic hunt for more sterno, and a new crew.

However, working the MN Beer Wholesalers convention was typically a favorite for various reasons. I can remember how the place settings were done, with a bucket of a 1/2 dozen different MN beers at each place (Hamms, GrainBelt, Schmidt, Schells, etc.)

But once I started working at the Hotel, I learned from my father that I wasn't the first in the family to work at the Hotel. My father came from a painting family in St. Paul and my Grandfather had a large painting/decorating firm and my father explained that Grandfather did the wallpaper and painting in the old ballrooms and halls. The period this was done, I don't know, but back in the early 1900s.

The Saint Paul Hotel for me will remain a good memory. Ahh, those were the days. But I much prefer my present job; one never really develops a taste for the odor of the inside of that huge dishwasher when it came time to clean the inner trays out.

Happy 100!

- Bob Anderson

 

My first real job out of college was in the Marketing department at The Saint Paul Hotel. I look back so fondly at those days - walking through a lightly snowy Rice Park, shuffling through crowds of pigeons on the stone path just before sunrise, string lights decorating all of the trees, and reaching the middle of the park to gaze up at the beauty and grandeur of the hotel. I felt so lucky to be blessed with the opportunity to be a part of continuing the rich history of this magnificent landmark. I thought about all of the people who came before me, doing the same type of job I was doing, all of the presidents who stayed at that hotel and had drinks in the lobby or ballroom, all of the old Hollywood actresses who stayed in the suites... It was such a joy to spend my first moments as a working adult in that place. Each day, no matter what it brought, I was always so grateful to be wearing my high heels, prancing through that park and stepping through those gold front doors.

- Andrea Eiken

 

"I have great memories of The Saint Paul Hotel. When I was 16 and 17 while in high school I worked for a year and a half as a wall washer under the Hales. (1951-3) I think the man I worked with was Russ and and we washed every room in the hotel at least once. I was always looking for extra work on weekends and I ran the elevator off and on, was a bar back, set up banquet tables, swept up cigarette butts for Klondike days and polished the brass rail going down to the lower level. I met my late wife Barbara Conroy while working there, she was the maid for the Richerts (Sp?) in the penthouse. I came back as President of the American Institute of Banking for several of our parties. I have reservations with my new wife Donna and six of our children and a number of other members of my family at the hotel for the Mike Kaphing wedding on August 9th, 2008 and I am sure it will bring back a lot of memories. I left the American National Bank and moved out of St. Paul in 1964, so I have not seen all of the results of your remodeling. I can't wait to get back and reminisce with the family where I got my start in life."

- Gerald Kaphing

 

"I worked my first solo job as a wedding DJ at The Saint Paul Hotel. Walking through the vast array of halls and levels under Saint Paul was amazing. The staff always treated me like one of the guests and a colleague at the same time. This made my first DJ job easy and I always appreciate coming back to one of the best reception locations in the area."

- Christopher Goebel

 

"Easter brunch was the special event that we celebrated annually at The Saint Paul Hotel with our children. We always looked forward to dressing up and partaking of wonderful foods beautifully presented. My children loved the dessert table, full of egg-shaped cakes with colored icing. The service was impeccable, the room full of families with children on their best behavior. My son, who is 40 years old now, remembered those days fondly as we celebrated Easter 2009 in The St. Paul Grill. Magic time."

- Sally Saddler

 

How Mary Rose Krizan [1898-1987] and Joseph Frank Humpal [1897-1964] met at The Saint Paul Hotel

Mary came to St. Paul in 1912 with her mother, Pauline Zajicek Krizan, from Rovisce, Croatia. Both stayed and worked at The Saint Paul Hotel. Pauline earned enough money to go back and get her other two children, Anton and Julia.

Joseph was homesteading in Wisconsin near Clear Lake with his brothers, James and Stanley. They came from Spillville, Iowa.

Joseph went to St. Paul to see Joseph Levak, who helped the Czechs in the area. Mr. Levak took Grandpa to the St. Paul Hotel. There he saw Mary, who loved his brown eyes. That was the beginning of their life together.

Mary and Joseph were married February 27,1916. They lived in Spillville, Wis. and Sumner, Iowa. Their 8 children, 33 grandchildren, [and enough great and great, great grandchildren to fill the lobby], grew up hearing the story of how Grandma and Grandpa met at The Saint Paul Hotel.

- Lola Hallberg

 

In 1989 I had the privilege of living at The Saint Paul Hotel for one month while I was prepareing for my new position as General Manager of the Saint Paul Civic Center. The hotel was such a great place to stay. At that time Mr.Bill Morrissey was the General Manager of the hotel . Mr.Morrissey and his staff were such great people, they looked after every detail and were such profesionals,the hotel was a great place to stay and dine. Our memories are all very special for my wife and myself, It made my transition a wonderful time. The Saint Paul Hotel is a very special place, St Paul is very lucky to have you in there city, may your next 100 years be as great as these last 100 years . Good Luck Saint Paul Hotel in your future . Also we have had the oppotunity to stay many other times in the years past and also very enjoyable. Happy Birthday Saint Paul Hotel.

- Richard. A. Geyer