After twelve years of considering proposals for a new hotel or the extensive remodeling of one of the old existing hotels, a group of Ames business leaders organized the Ames Improvement Company to carry out the community's desire to have a hotel that would meet not only immediate needs but the future needs of a growing city.
The result was the Sheldon Munn, considered one of the finest hotels between Chicago and Denver. Built in 1915, the hotel featured three floors of guest rooms, a large ballroom, meeting rooms, barber shop, coffee shop, dining room, and beautiful lobby.
Parley Sheldon, a banker and perennial mayor of Ames at the time, partnered with lumberyard owners H. L. and A. H. Munn, to construct the hotel.
The new Sheldon-Munn hotel cost $150,000 and represented the “final word know to modern hotel building and equipping,” as writing in the June 6, 1916 edition of the Ames Tribune. The building included seventy-two guest rooms, a banquet hall, dining room, grill room, and the “most beautiful lobby of any hotel in the middle west” in order to entertain the guests in “ease and comfort.” It also touted “A telephone, hot and cold water, and two lights,” are to be found in every room.
The fourth story featured a ballroom and a large dining room stretching the entire length of the first floor. The hotel immediately became a social center for both the town and the college and was an instant success, prompting an expansion to the west in 1926. The $85,000 addition, a close match to the original structure, was completed in February of 1927. Hotel occupancy doubled and there was room for more commercial space on the ground floor.
Today, the Sheldon-Munn building has been renovated into apartments, offices, and businesses such as Noir bar, Life Distilled and Nook & Nest. It continues to be a vital part of downtown Ames and is owned and operated by OEI, Inc.
304 Main St.
Ames, Iowa 50010
Phone: (515) 232-2310
About the Ames Chamber
Centrally and conveniently located in the heart of the Midwest and Iowa, Ames is known for its healthy, stable economy, flourishing cultural environment, and the world-renowned Iowa State University.
With over 700 members, the Ames Chamber of Commerce strives to make Ames a better place to live, work, and do business by strengthening the economic vitality and the quality of life in the Ames community.