The Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park is one of the grand dames of the National Park System, both because of its architecture and its gorgeous setting on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake.
But the years have not been terribly kind to the hotel, which was built in 1914-15 by the Great Northern Railroad for its guests. Weary floors and furnishings have taken some of the sheen off this beauty.
Some of that age will be brushed away beginning this fall when a $9.5 million project focused on correcting some of the seismic and “life safety” deficiencies gets under way in the 214-room hotel.
Part of the job being tackled by Swank Enterprises, a Montana-based company, will involve administrative offices and approximately 50 percent of the guest rooms. The other component includes the dining room, Interlaken lounge, kitchen, employee dining room and other employee and maintenance.
The work is not intended outright to restore lost historic elements of the hotel, However, where surfaces and fixtures (walls, floors, lighting, etc.) are to be removed for life/safety repairs and rehabilitation work, replacement surfaces and fixtures will include historically-compatible surfaces and fixtures, park officials say.
“The components are being combined to compress the timeline for the work, reduce cost and minimize impact to hotel guests and the public,” said Glacier Superintendent Chas Cartwright. “Construction is scheduled to begin in fall 2010 after the hotel closes for the season, with completion expected by spring of 2012 before the hotel opens for the season. During summer 2011, approximately one half (100) of the hotel guest rooms will be closed for the renovation.”
In 2011, the superintendent added, a modified dining room will be available in the space adjacent to the dining room while construction continues on the current dining room space. Full menu service will be available in this area as well as in the adjoining Swiss Lounge.
“The passage of time and harsh environmental conditions has contributed to the historic hotel’s deteriorated condition. Earlier phases of the rehabilitation focused on building exterior, structural stabilization, and most immediate needs,” Superintendent Cartwright said. “These three phases were completed in 2005 by Swank Enterprises. Funding for the remaining work on the hotel has been requested for 2013 and 2014.”
That work includes lobby, guest rooms and lower level meeting spaces, as well as the south bridge and guest rooms in Annex II or southern half of the hotel, park officials said.
To-date, $10 million federal dollars have been spent in the last decade rehabilitating the Many Glacier Hotel, a National Historic Landmark.