William H. Brown
William H. Brown was very involved with land matters in the development of North Dakota. Among other jobs, Brown established The William H. Brown Land Company, one of the largest such companies west of the Missouri River. He also platted and founded several townsites, including Flasher, Haynes, and, in 1904, Mott.
In March of 1911, a hotel built by William H. Brown, opened in Mott. In celebration of the new Hotel Brown, the Mott Commercial Club joined the hotel staff in organizing a grand opening. Invitations were issued to local commercial clubs across the state. George Welch, president of the Bismarck commercial club, and General E. A. Williams, president of the Bismarck City Commission, served as delegates from Bismarck. Other businessmen from the capital city also attended.
The opening featured a banquet at 9 in the evening. Places were set for approximately 200 individuals, and the White City Orchestra of Mott was hired to perform. Extra help and additional silverware were located, and plenteous cut flowers were everywhere.
After dinner, speakers from all across the state addressed the crowd. General Williams spoke of living in the area during the territorial days. W. E. GIllespie of Fargo spoke on behalf of Fargo Mayor Lovell. C. L. Timmercan of Mandan talked about his early experiences in the area. Secretary of State P.D. Norton also spoke.
On this date, The Bismarck Tribune reported on the success of the event, stating, "The palatial Hotel Brown, which is a monument to its builder, Wm. H. Brown, was opened here...with a dedication banquet that was attended by representatives from most of the commercial clubs throughout the Slope country." It was "luxuriantly furnished," described as having "apartments similar to those of an eastern hotel." $50,000 was invested in the building.
Coincidentally, William H. Brown was unable to attend due to "the stress of business," but the Mott Commercial club and the hotel management received telegrams of congratulations from him and from another absent invitee – Howard Elliot of Chicago, the president of the Northern Pacific railway.
Yet, the Tribune reported, "The affair was a decided success in every particular and many words of praise were expressed on all sides for the efficiency displayed by the several committees in charge. It was simply another evidence of the unprecedented enterprise of the citizens of Mott, the spot."
Alas, the grand Hotel Brown no longer stands.
Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker
Bismarck Daily Tribune, March 24, 1911, p2
Bismarck Daily Tribune, March 25, 1911, p1
Bismarck Daily Tribune, March 23, 1911, p2