Since the 1970s, Hotel Elkhart has served as an assisted living facility, low-income apartments, an office building and more. But as of Tuesday, the newly-renovated building is back in business as a boutique hotel.
Hotel Elkhart originally opened in the early 1920s, hosting guests like Bob Hope, Ed Sullivan and Robert Kennedy over the years.
“This particular asset that we have in our downtown happens to be probably the most prevalent asset that we have that connects us to our past,” Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson said.
The new Hotel Elkhart has been under construction since 2018. It now features 93 guest rooms, a renovated ninth-floor ballroom and meeting and event space – as well as a cafe, restaurant and rooftop bar.
At the hotel’s grand opening Tuesday, Roberson said the building will once again serve as an anchor for downtown Elkhart.
“This is the hallmark of people being able to come and enjoy a relationship with downtown that they previously haven’t been able to do for generations,” he said.
The renovation was funded by a number of partners, including the Regional Cities Initiative and Mno-Bmadsen – the non-gaming investment arm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. It’s Mno-Bmadsen’s first investment in Elkhart and one of its first in the hospitality industry.
“As stated, there is history here, and that history goes way back. We have to hold onto that,” Mno-Bmadsen Board Chairwoman Linda Cook said. “We’re making that impact today, and for the future and – what we like to say – for the next seven generations.”
Roberson said the Pokagon Band’s involvement “deepens the relationship” between the city and the Potawatomi, as well as the history of the hotel.
“For us to be able to reopen a generational building and connect it to Elkhart in a way that speaks to who we are is more than glorifying and just exciting, exhilarating for me as mayor,” he said.
Hotel Elkhart, located at 500 S. Main St., is now accepting reservations.
“We all have memories – if you’ve been in Elkhart long enough – of this hotel,” Roberson said. “This is really worthwhile celebrating and really worthwhile understanding what it means to us as a community.”
If you appreciate this kind of journalism on your local NPR station, please support it by donating here.