This promotional photo makes it look rather forboding. Probably just the lighting. But eventually the shine wore off the hotel, as it always does. From the NDSU history page:
Powers sold the hotel in 1942 to a chain and it became the Milner Hotel. In 1948 it was sold to Earle Milner who renamed the hotel the Earle.
You have to understand the Milner history for that to make sense. Are you really interested in the Milner history? No? Good call. Anyway, it burned in December 1951, and my dad was there. He supplied the gas to run the fire trucks. When it was all done, he said the ice flowed out of the front door, a great frozen river cracking in the heat of the inferno. (I'm paraphrasing.)
It's one of the buildings I would have loved to have known first-hand.