THE BERG HOTEL
145 Main Street West Brackenridge 1st Addition, Block 3, Lots 11 & 12
The first sale of this lot was in 1872 from Walter Brackenridge to Carl Berg in the amount of $600.00. That same year a wood frame building was constructed and opened as the Minnesota Hotel. In 1899, the wood frame building was relocated to the rear of the lot, and a brick veneer was added. A new, brick, three story building was constructed at the front of the lot. The new building was designed by Hermann Amme, a New Ulm architect. It reflects the late Queen Anne commercial style with its heavy Kasota stone sills and central arched stone entry.
The hotel had a brick portico over the centered front doors with a balcony above and a smaller balcony on the 3rd floor. The portico was later removed in order to widen Highway 14 (Main Street).
The hotel hosted traveling salesmen who traveled by train with large trunks of merchandise samples. So the hotel had "sample rooms" where the salesmen could display their products and local merchants would examine them and hopefully place an order.
The hotel had a dining room, a bar, a billiards room and boasted a bathroom on each floor. The dining room hosted many banquets in addition to serving meals to the guests and local residents.
The most famous guest of the hotel was Babe Ruth. On October 16, 1922, little more than a week after the New York Yankees lost the World Series, Mr. Ruth and his teammate Bob Muesel came to Sleepy Eye on a barnstorming tour - their only stop in Minnesota.
In 1946, the Greyhound Bus used the hotel as their terminal in Sleepy Eye. Tickets could be purchased in the lobby of the hotel and bus riders could use the lobby to wait for the bus. This continued until 1976.
In the early 1950's the hotel became Hier's Hotel. The lobby was divided so that the eastern two-thirds was converted to Hier's Super Value Grocery.
In 1966 the name of the hotel was changed to the Chief Hotel and operated as such until 1976.
In 1979 the building became the Chief Apartments and operated until 1991. In early 2002, a group formed to remodel and convert the building to condos. This effort did not succeed and the building has been vacant since. In 2015 the building was sold to an investment group who hopes to convert the building to a mixed use space.
The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.