The Grand Pacific Hotel
In 1889, Louis Peterson opened the Pacific Hotel in Bismarck. He named it in honor of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Only three years later, Peterson died.
Henry Tatley acquired the hotel when he married Peterson’s widow in 1897. The original hotel was a wooden building, but in 1906, Tatley added a brick structure at the corner of Fourth Street and Broadway at a cost of $60,000, the equivalent of nearly two million dollars today.
Renamed the Grand Pacific Hotel, it was marketed as a first-class establishment. It added sixty new rooms. Twenty of these had private bathrooms, which was unusual in a time when most hotels had shared bathrooms on each floor. The building also housed a billiard room, a bowling alley, and a café. The barbershop was touted as the finest in the city, complete with a Turkish bath.
In 1912, Tatley closed the original wooden portion that had been the Pacific Hotel to replace it with a four-story brick addition to the 1906 structure. It would also house other businesses, including a steak house and Finney Drug Store.
On this date in 1912, workers hurried to finish the new addition. They faced the pressure of an important deadline. In less than a month, the Second Annual Industrial Exposition was due to open in Bismarck. The building had to be finished by then. Henry Tatley assured the public that the new dining room would be opened in time. The hotel would also boast many new rooms for the expected visitors.
Only three years later, in 1915, the Grand Pacific Hotel was badly damaged by fire. This required an extensive renovation. This updated structure was promoted as a “first-class medium-priced hotel with all the features of better class houses.”
The hotel remained prosperous through the 1950s, advertised as the best hotel in the city, but it began to decline in the ‘60s. The completion of the interstate had caused a major shift in traffic. There was also increased competition from modern hotels and a decline in Bismarck’s downtown area. Those forces led to the closure of the Grand Pacific Hotel in 1973, and the building was demolished the following year.
Dakota Datebook by Carole Butcher
Bismarck Historical Society. “It Happened in Bismarck.” http://bismarckhistory.org/it-happened-in-bismarck/?&offset=500 Accessed 8/20/2021.
BisMan Café. “Grand Pacific Hotel.” https://www.bismarckcafe.com/blogs/wiki/grand-pacific-hotel Accessed 8/20/2021.
US Inflation Calculator. “Inflation Calculator.” https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/ Accessed 8/20/2021.
Bismarck Tribune. Grand Pacific Hotel Ad. Bismarck ND. 7/11/1923. Page 11.