Kaitlyn Aguiles

ANACONDA (KPAX) - The Anaconda Restoration Association is restoring the old Montana Hotel one floor at a time.

"Preserve it for the community primarily and all the people that live (here) and for the history that this building has in this town," said Ken Maynard, construction chair of the Anaconda Restoration Association.

Ken Maynard and the Anaconda Restoration Association are working to finish the entranceway to the ballroom they have created in what used to be a rotted and deteriorating space.

"It’s gonna be spectacular. It’s historically correct with a few tweaks that were approved by the state Historical Preservation Office in Helena," said Maynard.

The Montana Hotel in Anaconda was built in 1888 by Marcus Daly. He wanted Anaconda to become the capital of Montana and thought the hotel could persuade opponents from thinking Anaconda was only for the working class.

As the result of a successful negative campaign against Anaconda by Daly’s rival William Clark, Helena remained the capital. Since then, the hotel's ownership changed several times until the Anaconda Restoration Association bought the building 18 months ago.

Joe Strelnik, who has been involved with the Restoration Association for 10 years and is currently vice-chair, used to work as a bartender in the hotel. He remembers what the building used to be before the top two floors were removed.

"It was such a neat place to work and such a historical place to work so I just love this building," said Strelnik.

Strelnik said community involvement has been a huge help to the association. The community aided in funding the chandeliers, the stained glass depicting Daly’s favorite horse, Tammany, and the soon-to-be-installed entranceway.

"People love to see what’s going on here, especially the people that lived here in Anaconda that are coming back," said Strelnik.