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Frozen In Time: Palmer House Hotel [VIDEO]

Ashli Gerdes

SAUK CENTRE — The well-known Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Centre remains a destination to the early 20th century, keeping it frozen in time.

The Palmer House Hotel was built in 1901 in place of the former Sauk Centre House that burned down on June, 26 1900.

Originally from Wheaton, Minnesota previous owners, Ralph Palmer and wife, Christena operated the hotel and lived there with their two children Hazel and Carlisle.

The 38 room hotel was the first building in Sauk Centre to have electricity, and was the former workplace of the first American to win a Nobel Prize for literature, Sinclair Lewis.

He was a night clerk for the hotel and wrote about the Palmer House under the alias name, “Minnie Mashie House” in his 1920 book, Main Street.

In 1993 the hotel underwent some renovations to install bathrooms in each room. This brought the number of rooms from 38 to 22.Frozen in Time: A WJON News Series

Today, the hotel maintains about eighty-percent of its original woodwork. The stained glass windows imported from Austria are displayed in the front lobby and are the original put in place in 1901.

The rooms are decorated with antique furniture from the time period. Current owner, Kelley Freese purchased the building in 2002 when it was rumored the hotel was going to be demolished to make room for parking lot space.

Freese displays photos of the building and the Palmer family around the lobby. A portrait of Christena can be found next to the piano.

Freese says the dress Christena wears in the photo has recently been found by a family member, “they’re bringing the dress to the Palmer House and it actually makes me very emotional…it will be so amazing, I want to honor the family.”

The hotel is perhaps best known for its rumored paranormal history. Freese says the Palmer House is one of the top five alleged haunted places in the nation and is featured in numerous paranormal books.

The hotel was recently featured on the Travel Channel’s reality television show Ghost Adventures which premiered last October.

Freese says, “All of us can tell a hundred stories about things that have happened, things that don’t have an explanation for it. For the people that come here, it’s up to them to decide what their perception is of that.”

Today the Palmer House Hotel looks and operates as it did the day it was built with no intention of changing anytime soon.

 See a video of the Palmer House Hotel below.

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