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The Hotel Bozeman…by Jonathan

 

The Bozeman Hotel

Photo of the Bozeman Hotel from bozemandowntown.org

The Hotel Bozeman is an historical building on East Main Street in downtown Bozeman.  It was built in the cold of winter, March 1891.  Famous architect, George Hancock, designed the hotel on behalf of the city.  The reason why he designed it was because the city wanted to become the Montana state capital.  The “Bozeman” had 136 rooms!  It also had an elevator, stained glass windows, arched windows and a five-story turreted bay.  The Hotel Bozeman cost $100,000.  Wow!  Isn’t the Hotel Bozeman an amazing building?

Source:  Montana History Wiki, http://montanahistorywiki.pbworks.com/w/page/21639576/Bozeman%20Main%Street%20-%20Contributing%20Property#HotelBozeman321EMain

Even though Mr. Vreeland designed the building in 1887, the money was so tight for the City of Bozeman that it could not be constructed until 1890.  The City Council had only the budget of $10,000 to build the City Hall and Opera House.  According to the approximate bids of the contractors, the City Hall and Opera House would in reality cost $25,000 to build.  The measly $10,000 would not be nearly enough to build this colossal building. Of course, today, this amount of money couldn’t even build a garage behind your house.

The first performance in the newly built opera hall was held on September 19, 1890 when the local Queen City Band played a benefit concert to raise money for curtains and scenery.  The performers’ dressing room was above the jail cell.  This was probably an inspiration for the prisoners to go straight and get out of jail.  Bozeman attracted theatre companies because it was on the Northern Pacific Railway between Minneapolis and Seattle.  The opera hall was a busy spot for performances and gatherings like town meetings until the United States joined World War I in 1917.  With the war, the traveling theatre companies ceased to exist.  The opera hall was deserted until the National Guard rented the space in the 1920s.  In 1927, students from Montana State College tried to revive the hall with one last performance but the hall was declared not sound and closed to public use after that.

Some other buildings that survive that were designed by Byron Vreeland include the Fielding House at 402 South Willson in Bozeman and the Harmon House at 1005 Palmer Street in Miles City.

 

References:

http://www.johnlegry.com/mod cityhall.htm John Legry Productions.  City Hall

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carriage House Historic District.

Bozeman Historic Resources Survey, 2008 Revised Edition.  Prepared by: Renewable Technologies, Inc., 313 Metals Bank Building, Butte, Montana 59701, February 2008.

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