Looking to buy a piece of Chanhassen history? The iconic sign for the former Chanhassen Inn, which hosted everyone from visiting families to big-time celebrities, is going up for sale.
Just a few minutes down the road from the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and Paisley Park, the hotel was a popular dwelling for those visiting the town’s local attractions — including celebrities like Bill Murray, who stayed during the 2016 Ryder Cup.
Prince fans from around the world hoping to get into the famous Paisley Park concerts would come to the Chanhassen Inn, and it housed the cast and crew of the movie “Purple Rain” in 1983. Even Prince would occasionally stop by, former owners and siblings Jean and Larry Zamor told the newspaper in 2018.
The Chanhassen Inn closed in early 2018 after 36 years and is now the site of Panera Bread, where current owner and Chaska resident Bob Unger spotted the sign leaning up against the construction fence in October 2018.
The construction manager told him that while others had expressed interest in picking up the 16-feet-wide, 4-feet-tall Plexiglass sign, it was free and first-come, first-serve. Unger grabbed his trailer and brought the sign back to his shed, where it’s resided ever since.
“I took it because I knew the significance of it. I didn’t have a plan for it, I thought I could maybe hang it on the shed but never got around to it. So I thought, you know, this could be put to a better use and I could use any money for good,” Unger said.
Unger plans to donate all the money from the sale to a local food shelf. He’s unsure what the sign is worth, but has reached out to an auction consultant and Paisley Park to see if Prince’s estate might be interested. (He first offered the sign to the Carver County Historical Society, but they didn’t have the room.)
“I never stayed there myself, but my wife and I recommended it to all our wedding guests in 1995. It was an iconic place for everyone driving through or stopping in,” Unger said.
Another iconic local sign sale may have set a precedent — the 900-pound letter K from the former Minneapolis Kmart sign recently sold on eBay for $2,000 — but Unger will see what he can get.
“I’m trying eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Craiglist,” he added.