A sleeping giant stirs in Green Bay, Wisconsin. You can almost hear her rustle from the shadow of Lambeau Field and from the shops that line the opposite shore of the often frigid Fox River. She is the Hotel Northland, and she’s was a colossus of luxury entertainment and accomodation in her day. Soon she will wake.
When the Hotel Northland opened on March 21, 1924, she was the largest hotel in all of Wisconsin. Situated in the heart of downtown Green Bay, she overlooks the icy waters that flow into that storied offshoot of Lake Michigan, the vibrant lights and life of Washington St., and the hearty hustle of her northern neighbors.
She stands amidst the humble but modern buildings of the newly revitalized downtown area. Having received over $7 million in tax credits to aid her return to former glory, she is one of the pillars of that rejuvenation effort. Her charm promises to bring respected visitors who in turn promise to breathe life into the partially empty storefront windows that line the streets surrounding her.
A History Steeped in Sports Legend
In her day, she served as a major hub for the Green Bay Packers organization, hosting for decades every team that visited to play them, as well as their excited fans anxious to witness the fable firsthand. Vince Lombardi himself stayed in and delivered speeches in the hotel, his iconic voice bouncing off of the elegant woodwork and crystal chandeliers, like a king’s in his castle.
“I’ve never been a loser, and I don’t expect to be now!” he boomed during the 1959 press luncheon in the Crystal Ballroom at the Northland just days after being named the Packers Head Coach. “I want it understood that I am in complete command!” Even amid the chaos of renovation, it is easy to imagine him peering down over the railing from the second floor balcony, casting a challenging eye on the ballroom’s guests.