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What's old is new at hotel

This photo was taken in the late 19th century or early 20th century of people who worked at St. James Hotel.1 / 2
Current employees pose March 7 in historic costume for this photo taken by Steve Amundson of Amundson Photography.2 / 2

St. James Hotel employees staged "Historic Day" March 7 while recreating a photograph discovered six months ago.

Three dozen staff members dressed in late 19th century clothing with the guidance of Karen Boek in the Sheldon Theatre Costume Shop.

"I tried to match the fashion as well as possible with the clothes in the original photo," Boek said in a statement.

Rather than don ties, hats, blouses and skirts just for the photograph, staff wore historic costumes all day.

Customer feedback was positive. Lead guest service representative Lucas Van Heuklom reported that one visitor called him "dapper." Some visitors wondered if staff members always wear period clothing at the historic hotel.

"I think it has been a very successful day," General Manager Mike McKay said in a statement. "It's been fun for us all -- including our guests -- to see everyone dressed up in historic clothes and to embrace our history as a hotel. We might have to do it again sometime."

The St. James Hotel opened its doors Thanksgiving Day 1875.

McKay estimates the original photo was taken late in the 19th century or early in the 20th century. Staff discovered it while cleaning out an old area of the hotel.

Staff posted additional photos from "Historic Day" on the hotel's Facebook page.

Anne Jacobson

Anne Jacobson is news director with RiverTown Multimedia. 

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