Longtime Clayton Co. landmark hotel closes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Longtime Clayton Co. landmark hotel closes

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MARQUETTE (KWWL) - Wednesday marked the last night of operation for a longtime Clayton County landmark.  The hotel on the bluff in Marquette, currently run by the Lady Luck Casino, closes Thursday morning.  For decades, visitors to Marquette and people headed south to McGregor on Highway 76 couldn't help but notice the hotel on the bluff.  It stands like a beacon looking over the town, the Mississippi River, and the bridge to Wisconsin.  But soon, it will be torn down.

"It's a little bit more difficult to operate a hotel on a hillside. There's a few more steps you have to take to make sure it's a structure you want people to enter," said Lady Luck General Manager/Vice President Todd Steffen.

And by steps, it's literal.  You have to walk up 14 steps to get to the office.  After that, you may have to walk up another flight or two to get to your room.  There's no elevator or ramps.

"The structure was built in 1970, built in the 60s, opened in 70. We tried to examine what we can do up here to renovate the hotel. It really needed an elevator and it was not physically possible," said Steffen.

The casino re-branded to Lady Luck last year.  It's owned the hotel since 2000, spending $335,000 on various projects on the hotel.  While the view is remarkable, the rooms can't be enlarged, the steps remain, and the bluff won't budge.  Longtime guests say they'll be sad to see it go.

"To me, it's kind of a landmark. It's a beautiful area. When you cross the bridge, it's a really nice view of the area and it looks really nice," said guest Frank Michalski.

Casino officials say though the hotel will be gone, they still want people to continue to experience the view.

"If there's an option for the community or for the city, it it's a scenic overlook, observation tower, walking path, whatever option is out there for the greater good of the community, we'd sell the land for a dollar," said Steffen.

While the hotel will officially close at 11 a.m. Thursday, demolition may not start for a few more weeks. There are still permits that have to be approved. At this point, the casino doesn't plan to add another hotel anytime soon.  Lady Luck officials say they will continue to work with hotels in Marquette-McGregor and across the river in Prairie du Chien.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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