The Olive Ann Hotel

Welcome to Grand Forks

We are always at your service. The Olive Ann Hotel is Grand Forks’ most singular destination, where a timeless elegance lends a new perspective to the boutique luxury experience. Imbued with historic charm and taking inspiration from none other than “The First Lady of Aviation,” Olive Ann Beech, this is a stay with a story.

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The Story of Olive Ann Beech

The Early Years

Born in 1903 in Waverly, Kansas, young Olive Ann Mellor’s business acumen was undeniable from an early age. By the age of seven she had her own bank account, and when she was 11 she was given the task of writing checks to pay the family bills.

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The Story of Olive Ann Beech

1917 - 1925

Olive Ann enrolled in the American Secretarial and Business College in 1917. In 1925, after several years in the workforce, she was hired by Clyde Cessna himself at the Travel Air Manufacturing Company in Wichita, and was quickly promoted to office manager and secretary to Travel Air founder Walter Beech.

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The Story of Olive Ann Beech

Beechcraft

Walter and Olive Ann were married in Wichita in 1930. A partnership of two strong-willed, business-minded individuals, in 1932, their remarkable combined talents blossomed into the Beech Aircraft company, established with the goal of building “the finest airplanes in the world." Over the course of their marriage, Olive Ann would become mother to their two daughters, Suzanne and Mary Lynn.

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The Story of Olive Ann Beech

A Steel Will

Beechcraft planes became known as “the limousines of the skies,” and Olive Ann’s skills weren’t simply of the financial realm. She was behind aviatrix Louise Thaden’s first-place finish in the Bendix Transcontinental Trophy Race — flying a Beechcraft Staggerwing, of course — ahead of every other male and female pilot. Olive Ann broke gender barriers early and often.

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The Story of Olive Ann Beech

At the Helm

Olive Ann steered the company through the Great Depression and the first World War, taking over leadership in 1940. Beech Aircraft shifted production towards military purposes as revenues rose over $100 million over the course of six years. And when the war ended, Olive Ann revealed the Beech Bonanza, a plane that would go on to have the longest continuous production of its kind.

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The Story of Olive Ann Beech

Her Way

Following Walter’s death in 1950, Beechcraft’s board of directors officially chose Olive Ann as president and chairman of the board. For the next 18 years, she remained an indomitable force in the industry, all the while showing true care for her employees and maintaining a commitment to the art and beauty of aviation. She was known for always having fresh flowers in her office, and her signature shade of “Beech Blue” became a national touchpoint.

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The Story of Olive Ann Beech

A Change of Pace

In 1968, Olive Ann took a step back from the business, retiring in 1982 after Beechcraft merged with the Raytheon company. Her golden years were anything but subdued, however, as awards and recognition poured in from the aviation industry and the business community at large. She shifted her focus to various civic and philanthropic projects and became a major supporter of the arts.

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The Story of Olive Ann Beech

An Elegant Legacy

Olive Ann Beech passed away peacefully in her Kansas home in 1993, leaving behind a legacy of steadfast determination, accomplishment, and aspiration. Her timeless elegance and appreciation for life’s finer moments inspired The Olive Ann Hotel, and it is in this spirit that we honor her.

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14 North 4th Street

The Olive Ann Hotel occupies a storied building in the heart of downtown Grand Forks — originally built as a bank in 1914, 14 North 4th Street has stood strong through fire, flood, and changing times over its 109 years. Steeped in historic charm and with an inherent legacy, The Olive Ann Hotel has revived and restored its purpose as a gathering place for locals and visitors alike.