Check in to a Minneapolis hotel today, and you sign your name alongside one of the global brands. Hilton. Marriot. Holiday Inn. Before the rise of the chains, though, the city's hostels were comprised of individuals, names you wouldn't find anywhere else. Names as distinct as the streets and founders of this town.

One of them actually became a global brand. (Guess which.) Another joined a chain, and then died anyway - after outliving the chain that bought it.

Most of these hotels had their vogue; each was the place to stay before it was supplanted by the next one. Some struggled from the start and ended up flophouses. Some planned grand renovations that never happened. All are gone. (Except one.)

The following pages pay homage to the old hotels through photographs, postcards, current-day views and scenes of their destruction. If nothing else, they prove that scale isn't everything. A forty-story hotel made of glass looks smaller than a 20-story hotel made of brick and stone.

--Lileks January 2013