Neil O. Nelson

It all started at the old Gardner Hotel, downtown Fargo, arguably the finest hotel in the state 50 years ago.

I expect an argument could be made for Bismarck’s Patterson Hotel and Clarence Parker Hotel in Minot, which opened in 1948 and was billed as the largest modern hotel in North Dakota at the time.

Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman stayed at the CP. Eisenhower was there in 1953, when he was in the state for the dedication of the Garrison Dam. The president’s party had the top floor, his staff rented 60 rooms. The Secret Service took over the eighth floor.

The secret servicemen had to run to keep up with the president, so the story goes. Meantime, the CP lobby hummed through the night with reporters banging away on their typewriters.

The Lawrence Welk band and Fred Warning and his orchestra were also guests at the Clarence Parker.

In reviewing past history of the CP, I found no mention of me being a guest there.

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