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Historic hotel continues expanding, improving services

Donna Morse helps set up the Mountain View Hotel's new breakfast nook, one of the many new additions the hotel has added over the past nine years. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press

KILLDEER—The Mountain View Hotel describes itself as "Your Home away from Home" and in its time, first as Killdeer's only hotel and then as its oldest, the Mountain View Hotel has been home to many who came to Dunn County to live and work.

"We've had some awesome stories of families living here," Donna Morse, co-owner of the hotel alongside her husband Todd, said. "I always think of little Kaylee ... she was a five-year-old little girl and she sort of became the hotel mascot. Her mom and dad were out here working so hard ... they'd come from down south and just were here to make a few dollars to send home. Dad was working and mom was here ... but they all wanted to be together.

Morse said that the child won over just about all she met, and guests would buy her candy from the hotel vending machines.

"She got a bike for Christmas. So she rode it up and down the corridor and everybody just loved Kaylee," Morse said.

The Morses invested in the Mountain View Hotel nine years ago, and they've been renovating, expanding and improving it ever since—they've provided new additions, new plumbing, new carpeting and now even offer breakfast services.

"We've kind of finished this part of the remodel in the last month," Todd said. He acknowledged they took a risk in buying the hotel, but their timing worked out.

"(We) took the risk and jumped in and bought it and started fixing," he said. "Not soon afterwards it got real busy so we couldn't even go into the rooms to fix them up anymore."

While Todd said he enjoyed being the only game in town for a time, the needs of Killdeer's workforce made it necessary for another hotel to open up in the community.

"You never like to see competition coming to town when you're the only one here, but we couldn't (accommodate everyone anyway,)" he said.

Donna added that healthy competition helps keep them honest as well. The Morses live in Fargo, spending a portion of time in Killdeer to oversee the hotel and working remotely other times. They both grew up in small towns not unlike Killdeer, and they've done what they can to support the local community, particularly by sponsoring the local rodeo.

"We love Killdeer as a community," Donna said. "We try to be as involved or to give back to the community of Killdeer as much as we can."

Playing host to the workforce during the boom led to some hairy experiences, though things never got too bad, Todd recalled.

"I remember a guy here, it's so hard to get rooms and you always have to behave while you're here, and most people—99 percent of the people always did—so well we had a fella from down south and he had the police called on him one night because his girlfriend came up to visit from down south," he said. "They evidently called into an argument and she stabbed him in the calf with a fork."

Todd said that he found out when the man found him the following morning.

"The next day he (came to me and said) 'please don't kick me out, please don't kick me out, she's not coming back' and he's showing me the fork marks in his leg," he said.

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