An arch frames Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.
FOR SOME FORTY YEARS the oldest building on the campus of Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a prestigious private college prep school on Faribault’s east side, stood empty.
YESTERDAY: The original part of this building was constructed in 1871 as the library for Seabury Divinity School. When the divinity school relocated, the building was sold to Shattuck School and a small wing was added to the east. The building became Phelps Cottage, serving as a boys’ dormitory. Photo courtesy of Shattuck-St. Mary’s School.
TODAY: The Inn at Shattuck St. Mary’s, a conference/retreat center, banquet/reception facility and hotel, opened on Friday.
But, on Friday, the stunning stone and stuccoed building, with a section dating back to 1871 and edging a wooded ravine, opened to the public as The Inn at Shattuck-St. Mary’s.
The front desk and lobby present an inviting welcome.
Saturday afternoon I toured The Inn during the school’s annual Campus Christmas Walk and spoke briefly with David Connelly (former manager of an Owatonna restaurant), who’s genuinely excited to take on the challenge of managing what he terms “a historically modern retreat get-away.”
One of several guest rooms, with modern, clean lines, open during the public tour
That seems an accurate description for this one-time library, then boys’ dormitory and infirmary now transformed via renovation and an approximate 10,000 square foot addition into a complex with 12 guest rooms, meeting/conference rooms and banquet/reception space. The Inn includes a full catering kitchen. It also serves as a retreat center for the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, which partnered with Shattuck on the project.
Old flows into new as shown here at The Inn entry.
From the exterior, The Inn, vacated in the early 1970s (except for feral cats), presents a timeless European style that fits this aged campus. Arched windows and steep, peaked roofs and stone prevail.
Detailed close-up of the oldest portion of the building.
In the early 1920s, a wing was enlarged and covered with stucco. It became the Phelps Infirmary. The infirmary opened just in time for an outbreak of scarlet fever. It remained open into the early 1970s. Phelps was last used in 2006 as a Halloween haunted house. Photo courtesy of Shattuck-St. Mary’s School.
It’s a beautiful structure which seamlessly blends old with new, as it should given the oldest section is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Church style windows add Old World charm to this guest room in the oldest part of The Inn.
The original staircase.
The breakfast area, just off a conference room and the lobby, has a definitive modern feel.
Inside you will find, as Manager Connelly says, a thoroughly modern facility with all of the amenities you would expect. Touches of the past remain, though, in sections of exposed stone, in those arched windows and in the original stairway from main to second floor, although I suspect that the wood was not painted white back in the day.
A maze of hallways, some featuring stone, lead to guest rooms.
Hallways wind to guest rooms in a deliberate way that definitely makes this place feel more inn-like than hotel.
Decor throughout The Inn features soothing earthy shades of green and brown.
Muted green and brown hues complement the natural setting of The Inn on the wooded west edge of the campus.
In a sectioned off meeting space, windows showcase the woods.
Banks of floor-to-ceiling windows in the meeting/reception spaces and a spacious woods-side deck and patio showcase the outdoors.
The opening of The Inn seems a smart move on Shattuck’s part. Many couples are married in the historic The Chapel of the Good Shepherd, just a short walk away. Parents from all over the world visit their children at the school. And top-notch hockey teams (think NHL feeder school) draw out-of-town fans to games.
The lobby and entry, simply and beautifully decorated for the holidays.
On opening day Friday, The Inn guest rooms were three-fourths full, Manager Connelly says. And on Saturday, during the Campus Christmas Walk, visitors seemed duly impressed with the newest old addition to Faribault’s lodging and banquet/meeting facility options.
A touch of Christmas class outside the front entry.
FYI: Click here for more information on The Inn at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Room rates range from $110 – $150 Sunday – Thursday and from $140 – $180 on Fridays and Saturdays.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Vintage photos are courtesy of Shattuck-St. Mary’s School and are published here with permission.