A nearly 100-year-old city hotel a few blocks from the Mayo Clinic was scheduled to meet the wrecking ball this weekend, a change wanted by developers but decried by historic preservationists.

The Days Inn, formerly known as the Hotel Carlton, was built in 1920 and featured a U-shaped design to let in natural light, a piano bar, marble lobby floor and mahogany furniture. Designed by local architect Frederick H. Mosse, the building became an early test of preservationists’ power to hold onto buildings they deemed historic in the face of widespread redevelopment in Rochester, where a $5.6 billion expansion of the Mayo Clinic and the city is underway.

The building’s owner, Mark Kramer of MKDI LLC, first sought a demolition permit in 2016, setting off a lengthy debate about historic preservation in Rochester. The city’s Historic Preservation Commission eventually recommended the building be deemed a historic landmark, but the City Council rejected the measure, leading to the fiery resignation of an HPC member who said she was tired of the council ignoring preservationists’ recommendations. Valerie Guimaraes said the hotel was the third building that the HPC had voted to protect, only to see the City Council vote otherwise.

The 85-room Days Inn closed in September; a Pannekoeken restaurant on the building’s ground floor closed several weeks ago. It’s not clear what will be built on the site. A proposal from Hammes Co. Sports Development called for a $100 million, 16-story tower with 200 hotel rooms and 120 apartments. That proposal was withdrawn during the historic preservation debate.

Matt Mckinney


Glensheen is letting its holiday hair down

Duluth’s historic Glensheen mansion is known for its fine furnishings and exquisite holiday decor. This year, management is adding a bit of tacky fun.

In addition to the traditional holiday display featuring 25 decorated trees inside the home, the grounds of the Lake Superior estate will feature an intentionally tacky outdoor display with 62 snowmen, eight bears, three beavers, three sharks, two foxes, a unicorn, a Santa band, a yeti and an elf car.

Glensheen Director Dan Hartman said the display “breaks down one of the barriers of Glensheen, which is the overly formal stereotype of house museums. This display helps everyone feel welcome” — something the original owners of the house would support, he said.

The outdoor display, open from 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and every night Dec. 26 through 31, is included in the ticket price for indoor tours. Tickets for the outdoor display only are $5.

Pam Louwagie