Inn Ruins

3 November 2021
Ruined Archer House in Downtown Northfield
Ruined Archer House in Downtown Northfield | Photo: Kallie Rollenhagen

Visitors looking for lodging in the wake of Northfield’s founding had limited options in the early days. And choices shrank even further in 1867, when the luxurious American House Hotel on the corner of Washington and Third Streets became home to Northfield College (renamed Carleton College in 1871). Fortunately for weary travelers, a red-brick inn with a mansard roof and arched dormer windows opened a decade later at 212 Division Street — and for more than a century it provided shelter to prospective students, alumni, and parents who were visiting Carleton’s ever-expanding campus a few blocks away.

Last November a fire that started in a restaurant kitchen swept the historic Archer House and — despite a quick response from Northfield’s fire department — resulted in severe smoke and water damage. In May, after a portion of the four-story building collapsed, the structure was declared a total loss and plans for demolition began. Brett Reese, partner and CEO of Rebound Hospitality, which owns and operated the Archer House, told KYMN Radio listeners last summer that he has high expectations for an imminent recreation. “We hope to build something pretty cool, sort of classic and historic,” Reese says. “It will probably be lodging, some apartments, an eating and drinking [establishment], maybe something on the rooftop, hopefully a spa or something like that, and some retail things. We’re excited about the possibilities.”

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