Butte, Montana has earned the title “The Richest Hill on Earth.” For over 100 years, Butte was one of the most important sources of copper for the world. Butte grew from a muddy mining camp to a great city that was built by the tremendous wealth that copper afforded. Historic buildings from the time when millionaires and miners lived and worked together still exist throughout Uptown Butte, but many are in need in restoration.
Numerous programs with support from the Butte Citizens for Preservation and Revitalization, Urban Revitalization Association (URA), and Big Sky Trust Fund Grant are working to rehabilitate dilapidated homes and show off the culture and history of the “biggest little city in Montana.”
Fort + Hom is proud to be part of the revitalization of historic Butte with the Kenwood Building. We are committed to maintaining the history of the Kenwood, while helping to fuel the current economic growth in Butte with affordable housing and retail space that provides amenities to residents and adds to growing cultural scene.
The Kenwood, like Fort + Hom, has a long history of providing affordable housing options to Butte residents. Sisters Marie and Gunelia Brecke started operating lodge houses and hotels in Butte in 1886. To keep up with demand, in 1901, they hired Butte architect H. M. Patterson to design the Kenwood Building. The cost of this “modern building” which was “heated with steam and lighted with electricity”, was $40,000 (approximately $1.2 million in today’s dollars).
The first floor, with floor-to-ceiling windows, was used for business spaces. Fort + Hom will maintain the Brecke sister’s vision both with commercial use and the architecture that allows for sweeping views of the Rockies.
The upper floors served as offices and living spaces. Each room had its own wash stand and closet as well abundant natural light and ventilation to avoid health issues that frequently plagued tenement buildings. While the definition of “modern” has changed, Fort + Home is committed to providing the amenities both businesses and tenants expect. And the restoration will respect the Kenwood’s Building place on the National Registrar of Historic Places.
Revitalization is well underway as we maintain the historic, aesthetic appeal of the building while using modern, long-lasting materials that will withstand the elements of Rocky Mountain winters. We love to document and share the progress we are making and allow our members and investors to see our promise to sustainable restoration in action.
Here’s a few of the projects that have been completed:
Restoring and painting the exterior windows. Much of the trim was damaged, so we replaced all of the trim to provide a good aesthetic look and ensure everything was properly sealed to protect from damaging cold weather.
Demoing failing parging. Water and snow can freeze and damage parging, which is the decorative coating applied to foundation walls.
Removing stucco walls that are tearing away from the frames and re-attaching properly after resheeting the walls.
Installing trim, sealing all joints with stronger concrete tape, and using wire mesh and rigid foam backer – materials that last even in Montana’s harsh climate. Everything will be parged over for a decorative look.
The main level of the four-story building, which was vacant for years, will soon be a modern salon. Additional space on the main floor will support small and start-up retail businesses. By promoting small businesses, Fort + Hom is not only contributing to the revitalization and growth of Uptown, we are providing a space for the community to socialize and adding the growing historic shopping district.
If you are interested in retail space, please contact us for more information. With Butte’s amazing location between Glacier and Yellowstone’s National Park, fine art galleries, antique shops, and acclaimed restaurants, the opportunities for businesses will continue to grow.
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