Wonderland Resort was located about three miles northeast of Duluth, on the shore of Lake Superior and adjacent to Schmidt Creek. It was run by Jack and Joan Bates from 1968 to 1998 and their family still reminisces about the old days on a Wonderland Resort Facebook page.
A small and stylish boutique hotel — the first of its kind in Duluth — is set to open this spring in the Lincoln Park craft district.
The husband and wife team of Andy Matson and Chelsy Whittington plan to open the three-suite hotel on the second floor of a historic building they recently purchased at 1923 W. Superior Street. The new accommodations will be called the Hotel Pikku, which means small or odd in Finnish.
Matson and Whittington said travelers who want to experience a trendy, centrally-located neighborhood away from typical Duluth tourist areas will stay at the Pikku Hotel. Clients or patrons of other Lincoln Park businesses are also potential lodgers. The cozy, completely renovated rooms with kitchenettes will rent for between $100 and $150 a night.
Red Herring Lounge owner Bob Monahan stands outside the former Garon Brothers jewelry store at 217 W. First St. Monahan plans to renovate the building and open a 46-bed hostel.
Visitors to Duluth can soon add a hostel to the growing number of lodging options available in the Twin Ports. Nightclub owner Bob Monahan and an undisclosed partner purchased the former Garon Brothers Jewelry store at 217 W. First St. and plan to open a 46-bed hostel in the space next spring.
The Viking Motel operated at 2511 London Road from 1961 to 2000, and was demolished in 2001. The two-story, 30-room motel overlooking Lake Superior listed these amenities on its postcard: “Room Phones. Free Color TV. Coffee. Air Conditioned. Bridal Suites. Water Beds.”
Alpert’s Motel was located “13 miles from Downtown Duluth on North Shore Drive. Scenic Highway 61 on Lake Superior Circle Route.” The back of the postcard shown here indicates the motel offered “all the modern conveniences for your comfort, spacious grounds and beautiful view of Lake Superior.”
Joe and Mary Beth Alpert moved from Duluth to the French River area in 1952 to build the motel. They managed it until 1976. Joe died in 2004; Mary Beth in 2012. The motel was auctioned off in 1992.
Marketed as “Duluth’s finest auto court,” located “on the shore of beautiful Lake Superior,” Brindos’ London Road Court boasted 14 “all modern” units. Amenities included housekeeping facilities, electric refrigeration, gas range, shower baths, lavatories, automatic gas heat and hot water.
A panorama view from high atop Skyline Drive overlooking Duluth. The Buena Vista Motel and its lounge and restaurant opened in the 1950s. Bob Magie, Bob Nylen and Jerry Strum bought it in 1986 and oversaw a remodel in 1995. They operated the business for nearly 20 years before selling in 2005 to developer Tim Wiklund, who demolished the structure to create the 45-unit Superior Vista condominium complex.
In a vein somewhat similar to the Ye Olde Corner Grocery post, I recently saw that the Casa Motel is for sale. That shoebox-looking motel has been a curiosity since I was a kid. It had a certain “stigma” about it, but I’ve always wondered, why there? What made someone build a motel there, in 1965?
Now there are some former hotels and motels in Duluth that would be considered odd today, but these curiosities were built during a much older era, where it really wasn’t all that weird. However, since then they’ve either been converted for other use or torn down, yet the Casa remained. I mean just up the hill Buena Vista is no more, and that had one hell of a view, what did Casa offer? It appears that it could continue on as a motel, even if sold. I’ve noticed they removed the Coke add on top of their sign, too.
Speaking of those other curiosities, does anyone else know of any other still standing buildings around town that used to be a hotel/motel? I know a few myself, like the Cascade and just across the street the Arrowhead.
Back in the 1950s and later on London Road was called Motel Row. Can anybody recall the names of the motels? I can only recall the Viking Motel and the Lake Aire Motel. What were the others? Does anybody have some old postcards to post? I have only the Viking Motel postcard and matches. I wish to recall the others! Chime in please!