Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Diamond City Gets A Lift

The gift shop is currently hovering 6 feet off the ground.

A view of the front support from inside the gift shop.

Temporarily closed for business :)

General Manager Yancey, admiring the crew's handy-work.

Year after year, our gift shop grew more and more popular, thanks to Tawnya's efforts.  She dedicated tons of time to tracking down the perfect items to fill the floor space, to decorate the walls and to fill the shelves and drawers.  Hats hung from the rafters, toys overflowed from the corner, and a trip into the back storage room to resupply the showroom was a journey into a veritable jungle of hanging clothes.   Our jewelry space was packed top to bottom with turquoise and silver, beautiful necklaces and earrings and designer purses.  Last season, it seemed we had reached the limits of the current space, but our guests and staff clamored for more.  

The building has a top floor, but it has gone unused over the years due to accessibility issues.  After considering our options, we decided to make that space usable again by adding an interior staircase and strengthening the foundations.  This would effectively double the space in the building, and the entire ground floor would become available as retail space.  As with all construction done on the ranch, it was of the upmost importance that we preserve this historical building as much as possible, so our only option was to lift the entire building off the ground!

The crew first inserted long steel beams to create a network that criss-crossed through the windows and doors.  These were propped up by carefully stacked towers of 4x4 cuts of wood.  Next, the crew utilized four powerful jacks to slowly lift the building off of its foundations, lifting first with the two in front of the building, and then with the two in back.  This was incredibly tricky, as we wanted to preserve the existing fireplace and chimney without having to take it down and build it back up again.  In the end, after a long day of work, the crew hoisted the building 6 feet off of its old foundations, with the chimney standing unharmed.

Returning guests and staff will be delighted to find a revitalized gift shop next season, offering a little more room to move around amongst the western treasures we've placed there.

Why, you ask, didn't we go the cheap and easy route and tear the whole thing down?

The preservation of the historical elements of this ranch has always been a priority.  Many of our guest cabins and our lodge date back to 1929, and were carefully remodeled in order to preserve that look and feel, while adding all the comforts and details that have earned this ranch Montana's only 4 diamond AAA rating.  History as rich as ours shouldn't be carelessly tossed away.  To brush up on that history, click HERE.

Diamond City, as the building has long been dubbed, was an old homesteading home of the Lewis family, and was moved down from our upper pasture to its present location by the lodge by then-owner Charles Murphy, back in the 1920's.  He used the log home as his year-round residence and office for the ranch.

1 comment:

  1. I am so excited to see the renovation of this historical cabin. Tawnya has been so amazing over the years with juggling all that the shop has held. It's going to be really fun to shop. Not that the confined space EVER stopped me before.:) Keep up the great work everyone. It's going to be a great 2010 season!!