Built in 1917, the Hartington Hotel is a true historical landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

More than a place to stay, The Hotel Hartington represents the community’s value, vibrancy and economy.

Between 1908 and the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, a commercial hotel became the measure of a town’s vibrancy and importance as a business center and center of community activities, often housing fraternal organizations’ meetings, community dances and banquets, and other events. The most common design of these hotels, and how The Hotel Hartington is laid out today, consisted of a magnificent lobby space, a dining room or restaurant, a bar, and commercial storefronts on the ground floor.

Talbot Hamlin, an American architect, architectural historian, writer and educator described commercial hotels of the early 1900’s. 

“A hotel is much more than a place of temporary or even permanent residence. Developing along more public lines it has become almost a civic monument, a center of communal life. Great dinners are held, balls are given, many political organizations are housed and mass meetings called. There, "society", and those who ape it, drink tea, and dance.

It is in a very real sense a town hall, a place in which the [community and its] people feel an instinctive ownership. It is this public character that has made necessary the great monumental lobbies, the magnificent ballrooms, the capacious restaurants.” 

The Hotel Hartington is an excellent example of a small rural community's commercial hotel, but is even more significant for what it represented, an object of civic pride. A lively economy requires an attractive and imposing hotel for visiting businessmen to patronize, and even a slightly lagging local economy could be bolstered by a new commercial hotel that would draw businessmen into the community. The Hartington Hotel is a physical reminder of the boosterism and community value that was placed on a property that was intended to symbolize the vibrancy of the community's business center.

The Calf Path poem and the idea to restore Nebraska's Historic Hartington Hotel.

Erin Schroeder, hotel owner and the visionary behind the vintage-modern interior and hotel decor, explains how her and her Husband Ben came to buy and restore the 100-year-old hotel. She recalls in a blog post a poem her Dad read to her as a young girl, "The calf-path," which tells the story of a little calf wandering through the woods who makes a crooked path and how that path shapes the future. This poem, she says, might be the reason why the Schroeder's decided to bring life back to the large conglomerations of overwhelming stacks of bricks that the hotel had been diminished to over the past 30 years.

Their path lead them to restore the hotel after a conversation with the previous owner of another hundred-year-old property Ben and Erin had purchased and restored, a rental space now known as The Globe. And the rest is renovation history.

The Renovation

It took a village – or a small Nebraska town in this case – just a year to take the hotel from its tarnished state to the rejuvenated hotel that it is today. Fortunately, the hotel had what some call "good bones," or a sound structure, but after a fire, years of water damage from leaky roofing, and general wear and tear from the harsh Nebraska climate, Erin, Ben, and her two high-school-age sons had their work cut out for them. Friends, family and community members donated their time, money and muscles to whatever projects were needed to bring the hotel back to life. The Schroder's – including the boys– attended a historic preservation conference to gain insight and preservation tips from the Nebraska historic society.

Hotel Hartington In The News