This 1916 photo faces west and shows the Sheldon-Munn Hotel with construction scaffolding.
After twelve years of considering proposals for a new hotel or the extensive remodeling of one of the old existing hotels, a group of Ames business men organized the Ames Improvement Company to carry out the community's desire to have a hotel that would meet not only immediate needs, but meet the future needs of a growing city. A successful venture was finally assured. Parley Sheldon, banker and perennial mayor of Ames, H. L. and A. H. Munn, lumberyard owners, contracted for the hotel's construction in June of 1915. Sheldon and the Munns remained the owners until a major interest was sold to Tangney-McGinn Hotels in 1926. The Ames Improvement Association was involved in arranging for leasing and management.
Ground was broken in late 1915 and the Sheldon-Munn Hotel was formally opened on May 31, 1916. Dean C. F. Curtiss was toastmaster on the occasion of a formal dinner that evening. Dean E. W. Stanton spoke on The Town and the College and Harvey Ingham of the Des Moines Register spoke on Greater Iowa. There were other dignitaries on the agenda that evening too, and the new modern social and service center of Ames was very properly launched.
|Ames Evening Times, June 6,
NEW SHELDON-MUNN HOTEL IS FINEST IN MIDDLE WEST
Towering four stories in the air at the corner of Main street and Kellogg avenues, the palatial new $150,000 Sheldon-Munn hotel represents the final word known to modern hotel building and equipping. Words of praise for the completeness of the building and the beauty of the furnishings have been expressed by every visitor who has entered its doors, but it is only from thorough investigation of the hotel and a talk with the management that an idea can be gained as to what a truly wonderful structure it is.
Seventy-two guest rooms, a banquet hall, a dining room, a private dining room, a grill room, large sample rooms and the most beautiful lobby of any hotel in the middle west combine to entertain the guests in ease and comfort.
The big banquet hall on the fourth floor is one of the show places of the hotel. It is 45x68 feet in size and is decorated in blue and gold with light fixtures and window hangings to match. The floor is said to be the finest dance floor in Iowa and when covered with a canvas makes the finest banquet hall in Iowa. Three hundred banqueters can be seated at one time in this room, which opens to the air on three sides and is possessed of perfect ventilation. Connected with the banquet hall is a serving room where the food is taken from the big elevator as it comes up from the kitchen on the main floor. A ladies parlor and gentlemen’s check rooms complete the equipment for banquet use.
FLOORS IN COLOR
The fourth floor is known as “the red floor” because of the color of the hall carpeting. The guest rooms on this floor are typical of the building. A dresser, a rocker, a writing table, and chair, a Simmons brass bed and carpetings and window hanging in harmony make the rooms attractive and home like. Each room as a closet equipped with shelves and clothes hooks and above the lavatory is a white enameled cabinet for toilet accessories. There are forty rooms with connecting bath in the building, the tubs in the bath rooms being built in and the walls being furnished in tile with blue borders and ceilings.
A telephone, hot and cold water, and two lights, one a dressing light, are to be found in every room. Every little detail that will add to the comfort of the guests has been provided in each room even down to pins, needles and shoe polishing cloths. An especially interesting feature is that the connecting rooms are so equipped with locks that the occupant of either room can lock the door between, instead of one lock holding the door fast as in most hotels.
The third floor is called “the green floor” the rooms on this floor are arranged and equipped similar to those on the other floors. It is on this floor that the private dining room is located. It is designed for parties and luncheons and is a very beautiful convenience.
On the second floor, which is known as “the Old Rose Floor,” the ladies parlor is located at the head of the stairs. The furniture on this floor is the popular tapestry, in comfortable chairs and rockers, a davenport, two writing desks, a floor lamp, a piano and an Edison.
LUXURIOUS SOUTH WING
The south wing of the second floor is the most luxurious of the entire building. At each end is located a bridal suite, the one on the west being in the Old Rose and the one on the east in blue. Old Rose and blue carpets and window hangings to match give beauty to the rooms with their white ivory twin beds. On this floor are four suites of Green Rooms and two rooms furnished with solid mahogany four poster beds. All upholstery, carpets and window hangings in these rooms are in perfect harmony.
On the second floor are the private apartments of the proprietor and manager. These consist of four rooms and bath, beautifully furnished and equipped for comfort and convenience. All of their furniture in the guest rooms is of mahogany of the finest quality. Every bed is spread with a white wool blanket and there are also in the building 100 heavy wool blankets with Sheldon-Munn in the weave. An enormous amount of linen is necessary to spread the beds and on each floor are two large linen closets where this [is] stored. The woodwork of the building is finished in mahogany and the entire structure is absolutely fire-proof.
LOBBY IS BEAUTIFUL
The lobby wherein has been spent as much as is spent in furnishing some hotels completely, is said to be unsurpassed in beauty and furnishings by any hotel in the middle west. The chairs and davenport are of genuine leather in brown. The walls and ceilings are decorated in lead and oil and blend in a harmonious and pleasing appearance. Over the cozy fire place, on the east side of the lobby is a beautiful scene done in oil. The decorating was done by Paul Seland, a Finland artist who has studied in Austria and is now in the employ of the New England Furniture and Carpet Co. of Minneapolis. He is said to be the highest salaried decorator in the Twin Cities and has a reputation gained from decorating some of the largest buildings in the country. Large lights hung in gold fixtures give added beauty to the lobby.
Opening in the north from the lobby is the
dining room. Carpeted with a rich velour carpet and lighted by two
large windows on the north, it is an ideal dining room. Blue velvet
velour hangings with a gold frieze and solid mahogany furniture add to
its attractiveness. The dining room will seat seventy-five people
very comfortably and has already been taxed to capacity.
Opening from the lobby on the west side is the Grill which will be open for business in about a week and where meals and short orders will be served.
In the basement of the building are the
sample rooms, storage rooms and heating plant.
With such a fine hotel so perfectly equipped
it only remains for capable management to make it a business success, and
in that line the Sheldon-Munn has been especially fortunate. Mrs.
E. T. Hibner, the proprietor and F. D. Merrill, the manager are hotel people
of long experience and come from Iowa Falls with strong recommendations
as to their ability.
Mr. and Mrs. Merrill bring with them their daughter Margaret. Both will be active in the management of the hotel, and in such capable women of Mrs. Merrill and Mrs. Hibner, Manager Merrill will have valuable cooperation. Mr. Merrill has grown up in the hotel business and is well known to the traveling public. He has the happy faculties necessary for a successful manager and will be a big asset to the city.
The hotel has been crowded to capacity since the day it was opened. The rooms have been filled every night and the dining room has been overcrowded. It will be operated on both the American and European plans with rates at $2.50 to $3.50 per day. A popular feature planned for the near future is the Sunday night dinner with music.
As a home for the traveling public, a convention hall, a banquet place, and with facilities for handling dancing parties, luncheons and recitals the new Sheldon-Munn presided over by such genial people will occupy a large place in the life of Ames. To Parley Sheldon and H. L. and A. H. Munn will go everlasting praise and thanks for their great work in erecting the hotel.
Times, June 6, 1916
HUNDREDS VISIT SHELDON-MUNN
The new Sheldon-Munn hotel threw wide its doors last night to admit the citizens of Ames on a visit of inspection. Hundreds of interested people thronged the beautiful new hostelry from basement to top floor and all expressed themselves in a manner highly complimentary to the builders and the leasee, Mrs. Hibner.
Personally conducted parties were taken the rounds of the hotel and for those who wished music was provided for dancing in the spacious and beautiful ball room. Mrs. Hibner expressed herself as highly pleased with the way in which the people of Ames showed their interest in the new hotel last evening.
Formal Opening Program, May 31, 1916
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Sheldon-Munn Hotel Formal Opening Menu and Program