For over thirty years the finest accommodation to be found in Menasha were those of the National Hotel on the corner of Main and Mill Streets. The National Hotel burned in 1901, leaving the business district with only three hostelries for travelers. By late 1902 the Menasha Hotel Association was formed to insure a new hotel was built. Two of the groups prime movers were brothers, Charles and Henry Smith and they wanted a first class establishment for the city. The association met in February of 1903 and of all the proposals before them, accepted the plans submitted by William Waters. There was a notice the next month for contractors to submit sealed bids and it looked as if things were off to a good start, however in May, Miss Elizabeth Smith the aunt of Charles and Henry, passed away. This seemed to bring progress to a halt as no action was taken until 1905 when a long last the bids were to be opened. The headline in the paper spoke of merchants and mill men pushing for the projects completion. The city council even promised five years of tax relief. The bids were opened by Chris Walter the brewer and William Waters the architect. Mr. Walter was the largest investor in the enterprise and would own the land and the building, leasing the hotel to a suitable operator.