It was the first place many early settler stayed when they came to Grenfell for the first time, on their way to their new homestead. The Grand Union Hotel, built on the corner of Front and Desmond, was the major stopping point for settlers during the 1880s.
This hotel was quite stylish and advanced for its time, sitting isolated in the prairie, far from the major urban centres of the East. Unlike today, where you can receive your hotel room with plenty of time, without leaving your home, in those days it involved showing up with everything you owned and hoping that there was going to be a room available to you. Usually, a room was available, but if it wasn’t you were out of luck. More often than not, no one was turned away if a room was needed, and makeshift rooms were often created to help provide individuals with a place to sleep until they could get to their homestead.
The hotel would be sold in 1887 to Bob Copeland, but it would change hands several times over the course of its short life. Legend has it, one person was able to buy it for only two yoke of oxen. This was of course after the hotel had passed its heyday and was on the downward slope after years of not being taken care of.
The hotel would continue to be a gathering place for many, and one of the most prominent buildings in all of Grenfell. Unfortunately, a few years after the 1888 picture was taken, it burned to the ground and was replaced with the Granite Hotel in Grenfell.
While its history was short and sweet, it helped serve as the first stopping point in the Grenfell area for many early settlers moving through.
Information for this article comes from Grit and Growth