Only Ashes: Ortonville’s Grand Columbian Hotel

Only Ashes: Ortonville’s Grand Columbian Hotel

We stopped for lunch in Ortonville during our trip to photograph some places in July of 2012, and we couldn’t pass up the chance to shoot a few places in such a beautiful little town.

Ortonville, Minnesota

Ortonville is a small resort town of about two thousand nestled on the southern shore of Big Stone Lake, right on the South Dakota border. Downtown Ortonville cascades down the side of a hill to the beautiful lakeshore, and is dotted with historic structures.  Most notable is the Columbian Hotel.  Although the Columbian looks to have gone through at least a partial restoration at some point, there was no visible activity on the Saturday afternoon we visited. We weren’t sure of the operational status of the hotel, but we noticed it was on on the National Register of Historic Places.

UPDATE:  This hotel burned to the ground just months after our visit.  Sadly, it is gone forever.

Ortonville, Minnesota Columbian Hotel

Ortonville, Minnesota

KSFY/Sioux Falls reported on October 26th, 2012:

At about 3:07 am, Ortonville Police and Fire Departments were called to the fire at the intersection of Northwest 2nd Street and Jefferson Avenue.

The initial report stated fire was coming out of the basement windows of the old Columbian Hotel building. However, when police and fire crews arrived they found the building totally engulfed by flames.

The hotel was completely destroyed in a fire. You can read more about it and see a few photos courtesy Bluestem Prairie.

Ortonville, Minnesota

Ortonville, Minnesota



Ortonville, Minnesota

Ortonville, Minnesota

Ortonville, Minnesota

Look at those rates!

Ortonville, Minnesota

This is the Ortonville Water Department building, dating to 1933.  It’s right along the shore of the lake.  There’s a public beach and waterfront dock just behind the trees on the right.

See a lot more photos of Ortonville here.

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2012 Sonic Tremor Media LLC

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4 thoughts on “Only Ashes: Ortonville’s Grand Columbian Hotel

  1. Within the past two weeks the decision was finalized by the Ortonville City Council vote to give the old water plant building to the Big Stone Arts Council. They are beginning plans to renovate and create a public art space along Big Stone Lake. So many old buildings are crumbling in the small towns. So exciting to be a part of something to preserve and share with the community! Love your site and all that you have covered!

  2. Beautiful building! So many of them gone now! Wish I would have seen this one!
    Enjoy seeing your pictures & reading your articles!
    Waiting for your book!!!

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