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Hospitality Meets History: The Presidents House

Stay in this Stunning Historic House on the Campus of VCSU

This beautifully preserved Victorian home was built in 1901, and from 1921-1993 served as the home for the VCSU Presidents and their families. Now, the President's House may be utilized for any special events such bridal and baby showers, business meetings, and family retreats. It also has full dining services for large or small groups with several local caterers available. Reservations can be made by contacting the VCSU Student Center at  701-845-7122 or toll free 1-800-532-8641.

President's House VCSU

This beautiful Victorian home was built in 1901 as the Platou Residence. 

Dr. Ludvig S. Platou was a very respected member of Valley City society.  He was born in Hamar, Norway and graduated from the Christiania School of Medicine. He did his post-graduate work at the Universities in Berne, Switzerland and in Vienna. 

In 1891, he left his native soil and came to America. He settled at Cooperstown, where he practiced medicine until 1896, when he moved to Valley City. The house was built in an area that at the time was referred to as “the Park.” The cost of the two lots was approximately $850 and the residence around $10,000 to build. 

Dr. Platou served the health needs of the community of Valley City for 22 years. He served as the county health officer from 1906 to 1910, and he also built the first real hospital in Valley City, called the Platou Hospital. As mayor of the city from 1910 to 1916, he aided the city’s growth. He was a prominent member of the democratic party and a candidate for governor on several occasions. Dr. Platou was a charter member of the Sheyenne Valley Medical Society, an organization of Barnes and Griggs County physicians, and served as their first president. He served as director, vice-president, and president of the Bank of Valley City and was a charter member of the Farmers Equity Bank in Fargo, of which he later became president. He also served as a director of the Provident Life Insurance Co. of Bismarck. Dr. Platou was said to have been a warm, personal friend of Theodore Roosevelt. According to his daughter-in-law, Joanne Platou, the doctor took Roosevelt hunting here, and the late Grace Bowen recalled him speaking from the steps of the Platou home. 

President's House VCSU

Martha Platou, Dr. Platou’s wife, was a multi-talented woman with an independent spirit. 

She studied art and music in Norway, had her own artist and photographer’s studio in New York and exhibited her work at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. She was an artist and photographer and also an active member of the local music club. Martha Platou used her talents to design and lay out their home with the help of architects from Minneapolis, and at that time, it was considered a “most modern residence,” being built on one of the most desirable sites in Valley City.

President's House VCSU

 The first floor was finished with oak woodwork, a wrap-around porch, and leaded and stained-glass windows. The window in the parlor also had the medical insignia worked into the design. The second floor had five bedrooms (including the maid’s room), two baths, and a front sitting room, all arranged around a central oak staircase. A staircase lead from the maid’s room to the kitchen. The basement was fitted out with a laundry room as well as a room for a hired man. The attic had been arranged for the doctor’s library and personal office. 

The Platou’s moved to Fargo in 1918 when Dr. Platou became president of the Farmer’s Equity Bank and Dr. Carlos Eben Allen, president of the Valley City State Normal School (as VCSU was known then), moved in with his family. In 1921, Dr. Allen purchased the house for the college, and it became the official residence of the presidents of the college until 1993, when it was opened to the public as a Guest Inn.   

Currently, the home is still owned and operated by Valley City State University, but its restoration came from the fundraising and hard work of the “President’s House Preservation Society.” 

President Ellen Chaffee helped organize the society due when the administration desired to maintain the heritage and cultural traditions that the house represents to VCSU and its alumni. The President’s House Preservation Society is an advisory committee made up of representatives from the university and community, and all their revenue goes towards the upkeep and improvement of the house.  

Stay at the historic President's House Guest Inn

The historic President’s House Guest Inn is located on the campus of Valley City State University, a nationally recognized laptop university.

President's House VCSU

Free Wi-Fi is available for our guests and there is a TV on three floors with a DVD player. An additional toilet and shower can be found in the basement. With five upstairs bedrooms, the President's House can sleep up to 12 people.


  • It’s a non-smoking facility. 

  • The front door locks automatically; remember your key. 

  • Lit candles are not allowed. 

  • Dishes on display are NOT for use; they’re historic. 

  • Close all windows, lock all exterior doors, and turn off the lights, when leaving. 

  • Leave the house key in the entryway when leaving. 

Article by Valley City State University at

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