Thursday Doors – I Did Return

The rooms in the historic section.

Last October, I spent a couple of days in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I stayed at the Renaissance Hotel, a.k.a. The Depot. At first, I thought it was just a catchy name, then I realized it was the old Milwaukee Road depot. Much to my disappointment, I later discovered that I could have stayed in a portion of the depot where suites from the original dept had been restored. I vowed to return, and, as the title states, I did.

Last week, I spent a few days in Florida, attending a business meeting. On the way home, I inserted a personal leg to my trip and flew to Minneapolis (MSP). I can fly from Minneapolis to Des Moines, Iowa (DSM), where my brother can pick me up, but he is also willing to pick me up at MSP. It’s a three-hour drive, but people in the Midwest would drive three hours for a good pancake…five for a good burger. I offered to break up the six-hour round trip, with an overnight stay in one of the historic suites, a steak dinner at Murray’s and a walk across the Mississippi River on Saturday morning.

Except for the fact that Washington Ave in Minneapolis must be the late night / early AM race track for tricked-out-extra-loud motorcycles, the hotel was wonderful. The hotel’s history page provides an array of interesting facts:

“The old Milwaukee Road Depot was constructed in 1899 and remains one of the last long-span, truss-roofed sheds surviving in the nation.”

“In 1971, the Milwaukee Road terminated rail service to Minneapolis and converted the building into office use. In 1978, the Minnesota Historical Society placed The Depot and the nearby freight house on the National Register of Historic Places.”

“In 1998, the MCDA approved a land sale to CSM Corporation for the development proposal currently underway at The Depot. The finished complex includes the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot, the Residence Inn Minneapolis Downtown at The Depot, an interpretive history center about the Depot, Milwaukee Road, banquet space and underground parking for 650 automobiles. The entire project was completed in July of 2001.”

In addition to the hotel, Murray’s Steakhouse also has some history to it. It’s located in one of the oldest buildings in Minneapolis. The restaurant opened at its current location in 1939. I first ate there in 1999 while attending a technology conference, and I can report that the food is still very good.

I’m going to end here, because there are some lengthy captions in the gallery. You can best access the captions by clicking on any photo and starting a slide show.

Tickets Please

Thursday Doors is a fun weekly series brought to us by Canadian railway tycoon, Norm “I-run-the-railroad” Frampton. Norm has established an extensive network of rails, bridges, tunnels and other high-tech connections between door stations all over the world. Frampton Depot is in Montreal, Canada, and boasts the longest running gallery of doors on the planet. Head on up there, take a look at Norm’s doors and look for the little blue frog. He will guide you to the gallery where you can set a switch to your station, or just hang around and admire doors as they arrive from stations around the world.

Also in the gallery today, you will find some photos (yes, doors) from our walk across the Stone Arch Bridge, the only arched bridge made of stone on the entire length of the Mississippi River (according to Wikipedia).


    • Thanks Judy. As soon as I saw those rooms, I really wanted to go back. It was a fun little side-trip and we packed it with some interesting activities. That steak was amazing!


  1. It has a clock tower!! That’s all I needed to see to know it was going to be a mighty fine hotel 🙂 They’ve done a beautiful job of repurposing this old building and I love the addition of the realistic statues … including the one captured in the mirror taking photos 😉

    I was most interested in the canal and locks …. it appears you and I are on the same wavelength today. My planned post – when I get around to posting it – is also on locks. I find this kind of thing fascinating and I like the photo that shows the lock right beside the rapids. From most of the locks I’ve seen, you can’t see that direct relationship, but instead they have a diverting canal away from the waterfall at some distance.

    Norm Frampton – Canadian Railway Tycoon … hahahahaha!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This place is fabulous. Love the bathtub!! Every room looks warm, comfortable and welcoming. I would have to stay there for a week just to explore every beautiful detail. That arch bridge is a beautiful sight!

    Glad you returned so we could see it. And glad you got family time out of this trip. And a huge steak to boot!! Lol.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. It was so much fun, I’m really glad I went back. A number of things came together and it gave us this opportunity. The steak was a bonus, but I wasn’t going to pass up the chance. I love stone bridges, and when I realized we could walk across the Mississippi River, it was a done deal. My brother is a retired history teacher, so he loves that stuff.


  3. I am so glad you went back, Dan. What a beautiful hotel. The meeting area is gorgeous. I am on way to a seminar at a local hotel–and it will be nothing at all like the meeting room in our photos. They did a great job repurposing this building. I wish more cities would take note and do this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lois. If you read the history of most of these places, they were often so close to being torn down, paved over and lost. The people who created these projects, gave us a wonderful gift. I was so happy to be able to stay here.


  4. This looks like a lovely place to stay. I like any older hotel, especially when there’s some cool history associated with it. I remember as a child traveling via passenger trains to go on vacation, although we never stayed in depot hotels. We stayed on the train all night in little private rooms with murphy beds by night, lounge chairs by day. A whole different world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ally. One of my goals is to travel by rail to somewhere, where I can travel in a sleeper car. I know the modern ones aren’t as nice, but I’d still enjoy the ride. I think this must have been a wonderful way to travel. Travel today is more of a chore than a thrill.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my goodness, that Renaissance Hotel is amazing!!! Your suite … my eyes fell out of my head (or practically). Glorious pictures, Dan!! It is SO cool to see history being preserved like this! I wish it happened more often. The locks at Anthony Falls ….. whoa!!! Incredible! Thank you for another delightful post. You are so lucky to be able to see things as I saw in this post.
    *Hope all is well. You always reply to my comments and last time I did, I never heard from you, which I thought strange. Either that or I missed your comment.*

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Dan – that does look like an interesting place to know more about … and I’ll try and be back to look at some of the links … wonderful your brother was able to meet you and you could have some time together … fun – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

      • Oh how excellent … lots of information available! Can you tell me what the train post is going to be on Railway Day (12th I think) … I’ll tie in with a post on Canada transport – it’ll be very simple!! Cheers and I’m away today, so will get back to you tomorrow – Hilary

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks Hilary. My post will feature trains from a model railroad museum in Minneapolis. I haven’t written it yet (I’m going to try to do it as an SoCS conversation at the bar (perhaps a recipe for disaster), but it’s themed around that. I had to change my plans abruptly when the State of CT wasn’t able to bring the new light rail line in my area on line on schedule. I was going to ride the new rail line for Train Day. I’ll be happily looking for a post about Canada Transport.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I remember riding trains into that depot. My grandmother used to take us for “rail excursions” every Saturday in summer. The excursions were designed to take families who did not own cars out of the cities on the weekends. Just think – “families who did not own cars”. Was there really such a time?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That must have been so cool. I would love to have done that. The notion of not having a car might be coming back, but, unfortunately, not because os a resurgence of rail travel :(


    • I think these guys will survive as long as they want to. It’s a simple, delicious menu. You go there with the expectation of having a great steak, and that’s what you get.


  8. Love the wagon with the suitcases, and the bridge over that narrow canal. Great shots, worth to come back for!
    My goodness, I guess here in California we are utterly spoiled with restaurants. According to my adult kids we live “in the middle of nowhere,” but not even 10 min. away there’s a good and clean Mexican restaurant, and half an hour away, an amazing Thai, and Italian.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Jesh – I’m glad you liked that photo. I chose it over one that had a better shot of the door, but I wanted to show the luggage cart in better light. My brother lives in a college town, so lots of restaurants, and clearly there are a lot in Minneapolis. But, a great steak is worth traveling for.


    • Thanks. I love the restored buildings. This one is especially nice because they retained so much and they added so many elements to tie back to the original state.


  9. Ooh! Delightful! That’s really neat. I don’t imagine I have cause to return to Milwaukee, but if I do, I will try to stay there, too! Placard and cart are wonderful details! I love the photos of the lock/lock set! And you could see said lock from the hotel? Or nah?
    Thanks for including the steak, and the righteous pile of asparagus :)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can see why you wanted to go back, Dan, and I’m glad to see it lived up to your expectations (or even exceeded them.) Good food is always a plus, too. The doors to history can be so fascinating.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha – there’s always a few ;-)

      It was a nice break, and it gave us the chance to check out the stone arch bridge, and a special treat that I’ll be sharing tomorrow for National Train Day. And that steak was yummy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Janis. It was fun. I think we might do it again at some point. It’s a nice way to break up a day of travel for me and a six-hour drive for my brother.


    • Thanks! Some people seek out resorts on the beach – some seek out restored train stations. It was a very nice room, and the hotel has so many vintage elements in the decor that you feel like you’ve gone back in time.

      The steak was very good.


  11. This was really interesting, Dan. I’m so glad you returned. The architecture is simply wonderful. And, a clock tower! I would love to spend my life back in time traveling on trains.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Fun post Dan. It’s so cool that you got to go back. For a chance to stay in one of the historic rooms I’d have tried to go back too, plus spending time withyour bro: bonus!
    That whole part of the hotel looks amazing and your steak looks delicious. Reminds me that I need to spark up the bbq tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I didn’t just like this post, I loved it!!
    The steak dinner looks tremendous!
    The wagon holding old fashioned suitcases was so nicely caught. The doors are everywhere so no need to worry about that!
    (re: Comment about a door and too bright you made.)
    I liked the wing for conferences with those pretty arches.
    The stone arched bridge was magnificent, Dan!
    I like how you got your brother to join you and made a new set of adventures in memorable doors. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It was very cool to go back and stay in the train depot part! I also admire when cities and people decide to preserve history making this a remarkable train depot/hotel stay. The historical registry is also important to keep the integrity of the original depot intact.
    Lastly, my essay must include the locks. I have been to the Sous Ste. Marie locks in Michigan and I am sure I misspelled this. Going up there was extra special since I am sure I may not make it to other major locks. Great photos and such meaning, too. Thank you for getting us all psyched about National Train Day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Robin. The first time I visited, I didn’t have time to walk do I didn’t see the locks.

      I live when cities and private industry get together and save historic sites.

      Visiting working locks is such a thrill.


  15. What a great place to stay! I love the clock tower, your suite door is gorgeous, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those vintage suitcases, train cases, trunk, and hat box!
    I used to have a leather train case I used for toiletries, and cosmetics. It got pretty beat up over the years so I tossed it, but I have regretted that and wish I had kept it.

    Pass the asparagus please! The steak looked good too, but ASPARAGUS!

    Liked by 1 person

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