Progress is being made on the latest phase of renovations to the Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park, though it still will be some years before the entire hotel has been brought up to code.
The first of seven stages of rehabilitation actually began more than a decade ago, in 2001 as work began on stabilizing the massive structure set on the eastern shore of Swiftcurrent Lake. That work involved using hydraulic jacks to push the hotel’s lakeside walls back in place while cables pulled from the other side.
The first several phases of work focused on building exterior and structural stabilization. In the fall of 2010, Montana-based construction company, Swank Enterprises, began interior work in the north annex and dining room of the hotel. Life-safety issues that were addressed included seismic stabilization and replacing of electrical, plumbing, mechanical, fire alarm and fire suppression systems, according to park officials.
The dining room’s dropped ceiling also was removed, exposing original timbers and steel trusses. Original window configuration was restored. Japanese lantern and umbrella style light fixtures were installed in the dining room, reflecting original fixtures used by the Great Northern Railroad.
To date, the hotel’s north annex and dining room have been rehabilitated, including 111 guest rooms, kitchen, lounge, administrative offices, and employee areas. Accessible parking and improved guest room access has also been addressed.
Built between 1914 and 1915 by the Great Northern Railroad, the 214-guest room Many Glacier Hotel is the primary visitor service facility on the east side of the park. The hotel hosts approximately 500,000 visitors annually, including about 46,000 overnight guests.
In 1996, the Many Glacier Hotel was among more than 300 historic structures at Glacier to be included on the Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of “America’s Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places.” As much as 80 percent of the hotel’s structure was deficient in its ability to resist seismic events and the state of deterioration warranted serious concern for health and safety issues. The park’s General Management Plan of 1999 agreed with that assessment and designated the deterioration of the hotel as a critical issue.
So far $25 million of federal funds has contributed to the Many Glacier Hotel rehabilitation work. The project received $7 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds through a competitive agency submission process for work completed in 2011 and 2012. Glacier Park Inc., park concessioner, funded additional soundproofing and finish work, and replaced all furnishings in renovated north annex guest rooms and the dining room for the 2012 visitor season.
Two phases of the Many Glacier Hotel rehabilitation project remain and $12 million is the amount estimated for completion. Funds have been requested, but not yet secured. The last phases of work will focus on seismic stabilization, critical system replacement and code issues on the southern half of the hotel, including the lobby, remaining 103 guest rooms, and lower -level meeting spaces.
The hotel is listed as a National Historic Landmark.
The Many Glacier Hotel will be open until September 23 for the 2012 season. For lodging information visit http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/lodging.htm or contact the park at 406-888-7800 for information regarding rehabilitation efforts.