GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- After a decade of ups and downs, Hotel Northland in Downtown Green Bay is less than 24 hours from opening its doors to the public.
Hotel Northland in downtown Green Bay in 1927, a few years after the hotel opened (Credit: Neville Public Museum)
For the past several months, after getting through some financial and personnel issues, crews have been working hard to get the hotel open, which has been about 10 years in the making for the city.
But the hotel itself is decades old. It opened in 1924.
One Green Bay man said he remembers waiting outside the hotel for football players' autographs in the 1960’s.
“When the opposing teams for the Packers played in town, we tried to get their signatures. Detroit Lions and Chicago bears, mostly,” said Steven Seibert. “I don’t remember their names anymore, you know. They came out and they were big guys.”
However, Seibert does remember some Packers players autographs —from Paul Hornung, Bart Starr and Max McGee, but those too are lost.
“I had footballs and fishing rods, but like a typical kid, I’d lose them all,” said Seibert. “I don’t have any. We just played with the footballs.”
“Even some Packers players ended up living there during their tenure at Green Bay, including Emlen Tunneli. He was an African American player in the 1960's and when he came, he stayed at the hotel instead of trying to find housing,” said Lisa Kain, curator at Neville Public Museum.
Seibert said he also ran into a lot of stars who stayed at the hotel.
“I remember Festus, he was an old cowboy in a black and white movie. Perry Mason, I forget his real name, but they would come for the telethon and they would also stay there,” said Seibert. “Nat King Cole would stay there too, those are the ones I remember.”
“One of the big photos is James Arness from Gunsmoke,” said Kain. “He was here with the dedication of the new City Stadium. They did a big parade to old City Stadium and there are some iconic photos outside Hotel Northland for them all there.”
Seibert said he hasn’t been inside the hotel in years, but he’s excited to visit it soon.
Hotel Northland officially opens its doors at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 14. Action 2 News will be there for the event. Feel free to share your memories in the Comments.