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Lens on History: A gem of a spot on Broadway

January 23, 2019 GMT

The Mayo Clinic-fueled hotel boom of the last century didn’t start out building multi-story towers with their own surgical suites and hospital rooms. In the teens, Broadway and its side streets were lined with no fewer than 20 two- and three-story buildings that provided more modest accommodations for Clinic visitors.

The Hotel Norman, built in 1919 and operated by George Mattson at 17– 19 N. Broadway, was typical of the era, with hotel rooms on the second floor and retail space on street level. That street level space was the home of Gustave Schmidt’s Schmidt Printing Company

By 1948, the printing company had moved out, and Charles Bemel and Bernard Perlmutter opened B&C Restaurant and Delicatessen.

Within a few years, The Hotel Norman closed as the American Legion and GEM Restaurant took over. Luckily, the GEM was crowned with a fabulous neon sign that added to Broadway’s glow.