The Avalon building has seen a few changes in its lifetime. Serving as a haven in its early years, 301 N Broadway was built in 1919 by a Jewish man named Sam Sternberg as the Northwestern Hotel, a place where Jews could stay at a time when most Minnesota hotels refused them.
Verne Manning bought the building in 1944 and changed the name to the Avalon. As the only hotel in Rochester which welcomed African Americans before desegregation, its guests included Duke Ellington and boxer Henry Armstrong. It housed the Avalon Café, one of two restaurants in the city which served people of color.
By the 1980s, the building was unused and run down. Myrna Hamilton purchased it in 1987 and renovated it to house her Hamilton Music store. When Hamilton retired in 2008, Stephen Lalama bought it and moved in his Rochester Pro Music. He changed the name to Avalon Music, to honor the building’s history.
Angela Martin is the latest to see the potential in the run down Avalon. Her purchase in 2017 and subsequent renovation plans will ensure the building be used for many years to come, with Le Petit Café as anchor, the community will see life breathed back into a grand old lady at the Avalon.