Archived Story

1911 fire levels Occidental Hotel

Published 12:03pm Monday, June 27, 2011

For The Journal

The building known as the old Occidental Hotel on Lincoln Avenue was destroyed by fire in 1911. The buildings on either side of the Occidental were both saved.

Mr. Near built the Occidental in 1878 for $7,000 and for many years it was the leading hotel of the city. Mr. Near occupied it until his death in 1883.

It was abandoned as a hotel about 1908 and Leslie Wade occupied the ground floor with a bowling alley and billiard hall. Elmer E. Adams owned of the building at the time of the fire. Mr. Adams tore down the kitchen portion of the hotel several years prior to the fire.

The kitchen was originally a blacksmith shop, owned and occupied by John Lantz in the pioneer days.

After Mr. Near’s death, the hotel was taken over by Jim O’Brien and later by Arthur Dampier.

For additional information on the events, buildings, people and places of Otter Tail County contact the Otter Tail County Historical Society, 1110 W. Lincoln Ave., Fergus Falls or on the web at

General admission to the historical society is $4/adults, $1/ages 5-11. Members and children 4 and under are free.

Large group tours are

welcome. Guided tours can be arranged in advance. Meeting space is available.

Museum hours June through August: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

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