The Hotel's grand opening on February 7, 1910 was a spectacular event which included a reception, a ball, and a sumptuous banquet of eight courses "which no reader in his right mind would have missed if he were physcially and financially able to attend" wrote June Thompson in the Noonan Diamond Jubilee History Book. She went on to say that "A train came in from the east bringing distinguished guests from Minot and Bismarck, as well as assorted passengers from Flaxton, Larson, Lignite and Columbus. The train went on to Crosby, turned around and then made a special trip back to Noonan where it disgorged a horde of merry makers from the western cities. One hundred and fifty persons attended at a charge of $5 per person." The grand opening was a "grand and successful affair" according to the Noonan Republican, the local newspaper of that era. Such was the auspicious beginning of the social history of this historic building.
The 14 guest rooms at the Travelers Hotel were equipped with telephones and electricity, along with state-of the-art steam heat, making it the most of up-do-date hotel in the area at that time. The cost to build the hotel was $15,000 in 1909.
Many colorful citizens have stayed at the Travelers Hotel in its past, including nineteen-year-old aviator Cromwell Dixon from New York, who signed the registry of the Travelers Hotel on September 18, 1911 while in town for the annual Harvest Festival. The Noonan Diamond Jubilee history book stated that his ship was the first aeroplane flight made from North Dakota soil. Further research has revealed that there were earlier flights made in the eastern part of the state, but what I believe the writer was trying to say, is that since Dixon's airplane arrived in Noonan on the train and was assembled there before flying, it was the first airplane to fly in North Dakota that didn't fly in from another state. Cromwell was later given the distinction of being the first avaiator to cross the Continental Divide, but unfortunately his fame was short lived as he died two days later performing at the Interstate Fair in Spokane, WA. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cromwell_Dixon
During prohibition, Noonan’s 7-mile proximity to
made the area a popular spot for bootleggers transporting liquor across the border on Highway 40 north of of Noonan and beer shacks sprang up in many places along the Canadian border. The Travelers Hotel was a convenient place for bootleggers and thirsty Canada residents to spend the night as they traveled back and forth across the border. When the prohibition ended in 1933, the Travelers Hotel was the first establishment in Noonan to serve legal liquor again. Though many of the older women in Noonan frowned upon this, Mr. Amundstad, who was the owner of the hotel at that time, was quick to install kegs of beer, which he frequently sipped on throughout the day. U.S.
Anyone of any importance coming to Noonan most likely spent a night or two at the Travelers Hotel. Annual celebrations such as the Harvest Festival and Old Settlers Day brought many visitors to town. Mostly though, the pages of the registry books are filled with the signatures of people who lived and worked in the Noonan area or people who came to visit relatives there. Page after page reveals signatures of the grandparents, great-grandparents, great aunts and uncles, etc. of the people currently living in the Noonan area. As people came to this area, they often needed a place to stay until making a permanent home of their own. Homesteaders just starting out in agriculture could always get a job mining or hauling and shoveling coal to supplement their meager income, making Noonan an attractive place to settle.
The hotel’s lobby and restaurant were also used as meeting places for various organizations, parties and social events throughout the years. Bridal showers, card parties, and even weddings have been held there. Because the first doctor and dentist in Noonan worked out of rooms in the hotel, most every citizen was familiar with the hotel. The dentist rented two rooms, one to stay in and one to work out of. Even the folks who had homes out in the country occasionally found it necessary to spend a night or two at the hotel when a wintery blizzard prevented them from travelling home. And because the hotel lobby was the only place in Noonan to have a public phone booth, people frequently stopped by to use it. Even into the 1970s, kids who lived out of town would go to the hotel after school events to call their parents and then wait in the lobby to be picked up. It was also one of the few places in Noonan to have a public restroom, and so many locals stopped there often to use the facilities. Beginning in 1929, the hotel was also the pickup and dropoff point for the bus that traveled to
and back daily. Minot