Herring Hotel Supporters Hope to Attract Tourists in Belle Plaine

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BELLE PLAINE, Iowa- It once drew visitors here from far away. Now the part of the Herring Hotel has fallen into disrepair.

A non-profit Herring Hotel Foundation has been formed to try to bring the former hotel back to it’s glory days. When the first ever paved highway across the United States was built, it came right through Belle Plaine, and past the Herring Hotel.

It is an early 1900s hotel most famous now on because of its proprietor Will Herring,” said Kristine Pope of the group trying to restore the Herring. “He built it after fire on main street destroyed his original hotel, and from that point he was the world marketer, he advertised it all around the world.

Guests came like Teddy Roosevelt, and Dutch Reagan, and other notables from the first half of that century.

The west side of the hotel is in really bad shape, and the City has gotten comments from the public worried about the safety of the area. That part of the sidewalk is taped off to keep people from walking right by the west side of the Herring.

“Right now we are still in the planning process as far as what the funds it will take,” said Pope. “Right now we are just trying to secure the money to rebuild our west section and also get a new roof so we believe our overall project will be probably 3.5 million.”

In 2016 the Herring Hotel was named to the list of Iowa’s most endangered historic properties.

The group has sought advice from the owner of the Hotel Patee in Perry on what they could do to revive the Herring.

“We’re interested in forming a partnership with the city because of the community development opportunity there is with this hotel travel and tourism will be a boost we very much believe that and we know that if we can bring people here and keep them overnight.

If you’d like to know more about the Herring Hotel you can check the Herring Hotel Foundation Facebook Page here.