Montana's Vintage Lodging: Six Historic Hotels from All Across Big Sky Country
Though travelers can certainly get a mod hotel experience in Montana, it’s Big Sky Country’s historic hotels, classic inns and lodges that really enchant. Places that possess an architectural character and yesteryear charm reminiscent of a slower era. Places where if walls could talk, guests could tap into some seriously spirited tales. We invite journalists with an interest in such subjects to dig a little deeper.
Charley Montana B&B, Glendive
The Charley Montana B&B resides within the historic walls of the Krug Mansion, a stately 8,000 square foot home built in 1907 for millionaire stockman Charles Krug. This iconic shrine features: ten-foot ceilings with nine-foot quarter sawn oak pocket doors, abundant carved original wood in oak and mahogany, beveled and leaded glass windows, a butler's pantry, antique bank vault door on the family wine cellar, columned fireplaces, mahogany conversation area, as well as Krug family antique furnishings, books and art. The rich history of the Krug family and the building's unique character led to it being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Grand Union Hotel, Fort Benton
Built in 1882 – seven years before Montana became a state – the Grand Union is Montana’s oldest operating hotel. Perched on the banks of the Missouri River, along the storied path of Lewis and Clark’s exploratory travels, the hotel was built at the height of Fort Benton's prosperity during the steamboat era. Meticulously restored to its original grandeur in 1999, the Grand Union Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Pollard, Red Lodge
The Pollard – built in 1893 – is reputed for having served Buffalo Bill Cody, Calamity Jane and Harry Longabaugh, a.k.a. the Sundance Kid. Unfortunately, Sundance visited with a gun in hand. He robbed the bank – located on the corner of the hotel – while Pollard guests watched on. The infamous outlaw was caught yet later escaped. Since that time, guns have been banned from the hotel.
Fort Peck Hotel, Fort Peck
This classic, wooden hotel, built in the 1930s, helped house Army Corps of Engineer employees working on the nearby Fort Peck Dam. During the New Deal years, 10,000 plus workers swarmed to the northeast corner of Montana to work on what is still the largest hydraulically filled dam in the USA. Basic hotel rooms still feature claw foot tubs. It doesn’t take long to be on a first-name basis with the bartender – the bar is just off the lobby – and if you’re lucky enough to pull a few walleye from the nearby lake, the chef will obligingly cook them to your liking. The Fort Peck Hotel is on the National Register of Historical Buildings.
Boulder Hot Springs Inn & Spa, Boulder
Outfitted with 50 rocking chairs, the veranda at Boulder Hot Springs Inn overlooks the Elkhorn Mountains in Montana’s Peace Valley. So named by the First Nations People, they believed all should benefit from these hot, healing mineral waters. This historic inn once catered to U.S. Presidents (including Teddy Roosevelt – who came to hunt, FDR and Warren Harding) as well as celebrities and wealthy ranchers. Built by prospector, James E. Riley, in 1863, the original saloon and bathhouse catered to local miners and cowboys in need of a soak.
Izaak Walton Inn, Essex
The Izaak Walton Inn, completed in November of 1939 for $40,000, was initially intended for the use of railroad service personnel. Additionally, it was built to serve as an entrance to Glacier National Park between East and West Glacier. These plans were postponed due to WWII and never materialized after the war. All that remained was the “Inn Between,” a nickname that has endured. Since then the Izaak Walton Inn – with its distinct Tudor-style exterior – has found its own niche, surrounded by a million acres of wildlife-rich wilderness.
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