Arguably one of the most historic hotels in all of southwest Saskatchewan, the Commercial Hotel had its start when the T.C. Power Brothers of Fort Benton, Montana decided to build a two-storey, log structure of 25 rooms in 1885. Calling it the Commercial Hotel, it was the largest hotel in the Northwest Territories. A few years later, the building would be moved to the south, and a new addition was put on.
Over the years, the Commercial Hotel served many purposes for the town, including being a meeting place for many town leaders. In the early years of Maple Creek, when there was no church in the area, George McDougald and his son John, the first missionaries to the area, held services in the hotel itself.
In 1898, Horace Greeley became part-owner with John Flemming, with Mr. and Mrs. Ed Chase managing. In the back of the hotel, a livery stable was attached.
During this time, the only real competition for the hotel was the International Hotel, which had been built in 1883. In the early 1900s, several more hotels came in and The Commercial Hotel was no longer the iconic hotel it once was, often ignored for the better hotels in town. As a result, the decision was made to re-build the hotel and make it as great as it once was. In 1906, the hotel was moved back on the lot, a three-storey addition was added and the hotel was once again the best hotel in town.
When Prohibition came along in Saskatchewan, it meant some minor changes for The Commercial Hotel. The hotel bar was removed and instead became the Bank of Montreal. The pool room also became part of the bank. The bank vault would eventually become the bar cooler for the hotel once Prohibition was removed. When the bar reopened, the dining room closed and was transformed into a coffee shop and four more hotel rooms.
In the 1920s, the original hotel was demolished but today, the south wall of the present hotel shows the timber where the old hotel was once attached.
Commercial travellers to the Commercial Hotel would use the large laundry room at the back of the hotel to display hug oak sample cases to display what they were selling. In 1973, the main floor rooms were taken out and converted back into a dining room and lounge.
Today, The Commercial Hotel is oldest continually operated business in Maple Creek’s history.
Leave a Reply