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Lens on History: Making room for guests

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Visitors to Rochester in the early 1900s were met with a very real shortage of places to stay. People with homes near Mayo Clinic began renting out spare bedrooms, attics and porches to visitors. The rooming house business flourished.

Enterprising business people with no time to waste began looking for existing buildings to convert into lodging. In 1910, the team of Schuchard and Smith purchased an implement dealer on the corner of Center Street and Broadway.

The building had been built in the early 1880s and served as the Northern Carriage Works factory. The open spaces of the factory floor made for an easy conversion, and in short time the Commercial Hotel opened.

Operating on the European plan, the hotel had room for 39 guests at a rate of 50 cents to $1 per day. Add a cafe on the ground floor and they were ready for Trivago.

Think about it.

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