LIBBY - The Historic Hotel Libby is a construction zone as work is underway on a new roof.
It's the first step in restoring the iconic building. The goal is to restore the hotel back to its original 1930s glamor. The current roof has kept restoration at a standstill with the numerous leaks that are cascading water into the building.
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“The roof will save the building. We couldn't do anything else, we couldn't move any further with any of our projects until we had the new roof. The electricians don't like to work where it's wet. So now they can move forward with the electricians we've got the plumbers, then drywall and get the inside stuff done,” said Historic Hotel Libby owner Gail Burger.
A majority of the funding for the roof is through the Montana Historic Preservation grant, among a few others. With the building being a mainstay in the Libby community for 125 years it was worth the work to get the grants and get the project moving — even the Mayor of Libby is lending a hand with the work.
“I personally love old buildings. I think they have that character that essence of age that just makes them desirable to have in your downtown, in your in your community. And so to have this one restored is just going to be really good.” said Mayor Peggy Williams.
The original shingles from 1910 — or possibly even earlier — are still on the roof. The contractors have run into some interesting challenges as they begin to dive into the project.
“It is an adventure in a way. I mean it's cool to see what it was and what its gonna end up like. And you never know until you get into it. So that's that's the best part about it,” said C & C Construction of the Pacific Northwest Production Manager Glenn Terpenning.
A bit more work goes into historic building because the materials have value and everything that can be saved will be used in the renovation. For example, while dismantling the chimney, each brick is saved to be used in the new chimney.
“Here at the hotel, we save everything we can. Broken windows, we save the glass and will turn it into shelving or different things. The brick itself because it is so old. It's just it's the hotel. So we want to put everything back that we can,” said Burger.
Construction of the new roof should take about three weeks but there is still a lot more work to do once that is complete to bring the hotel back to life.