Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The Inn opens in historic building at Shattuck-St. Mary’s December 17, 2014

An arch frames Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, Minnesota.

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.

BUILT: The original part of the building was constructed in 1871 as the library for Seabury Divinity School. When the 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.

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.

The Inn at Shattuck St. Mary's, a conference/retreat center and hotel, opened on Friday.

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 presents an inviting welcome.

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 open during the public tour.

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.

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 old portion of the building flowing into new.

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. Photo courtesy of Shattuck-St. Mary's School.

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 old part of The Inn.

Church style windows add Old World charm to this guest room in the oldest part of The Inn.

The original staircase.

The original staircase.

The breakfast area, just off a conference room and the lobby.

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.

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 earthy shades of green and brown.

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.

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 holiday.

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 outside the front entry.

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.

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Sharing the Christmas spirit, Shattuck-St. Mary’s style December 15, 2014

SATURDAY DIDN’T LOOK or feel a lot like Christmas here in Southern Minnesota. Snow melting. Temps in the 40s or near 50. Beautiful weather for December, except for the lack of sunshine until late afternoon.

Inside Shumway Hall, a sign welcomes visitors to the annual Campus Christmas Walk.

Inside Shumway Hall, a sign welcomes visitors to the annual Campus Christmas Walk.

But on the campus of Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a holiday mood prevailed during the private prep school’s 12th annual Campus Christmas Walk, a gift to the Faribault community.

Heavy wood doors dominate the entry to Shumway Hall.

Heavy wood doors dominate the entry to Shumway Hall.

My husband and I attended “Winter Chronicles,” the fabulous figure skating show; walked the wide hallways of historic Shumway Hall

Impressive Shumway Hall.

Impressive Shumway Hall.

Plates of sweet treats awaited visitors.

Plates of sweet treats awaited visitors.

Kids worked on holiday crafts in the dining hall.

Kids worked on holiday crafts in the dining hall.

Colorful Christmas ornaments to craft.

Colorful Christmas ornaments to craft.

to the dining room for sweet treats and cider/hot chocolate;

The Inn at Shattuck St. Mary's, a conference/retreat center and hotel, opened on Friday.

The Inn at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a conference/retreat center and hotel, opened on Friday. Watch for an upcoming post tour of The Inn.

One boy headed for a treat after visiting Santa while another raced toward Santa's open arms at The Inn.

One boy headed for a treat after visiting Santa while another raced toward Santa’s open arms.

toured the just-opened The Inn at Shattuck-St. Mary’s where Santa proved the most popular guest;

The Chapel of the Good Shepherd.

The Chapel of the Good Shepherd.

and then popped into the old stone chapel.

Wreaths aplenty, including these on the entry to Shumway Hall, decorated the campus.

Wreaths aplenty, including these on the entry to Shumway Hall, decorate the campus.

If time had allowed, we also would have taken in the Christmas Performing Arts Showcase. Next year.

This ornate stairway stands just outside the dining hall.

The ornate stairway  just outside the dining hall.

As an appreciator of historic buildings which stand strong in stone and dark wood and sturdiness, I truly enjoy this once-a-year opportunity to tour Shattuck.

The Shattuck-St. Mary's campus features beautiful stone buildings constructed in the 1800s.

The Shattuck-St. Mary’s campus features beautiful stone buildings constructed in the 1800s.

Every time I enter this campus, I feel like I’m at some Ivy League college. Not that I’ve ever been to a Harvard or Yale. I can only imagine. Shattuck has that feel of age and strength and wealth.

A sign on Shumway Hall notes its centennial anniversary in 1958.

A sign on Shumway Hall notes Shattuck’s centennial anniversary in 1958.

Of course, it’s more. Much more. Like a school that produces great hockey players and draws students to my Minnesota community from all over the world.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling