Sep 7, 2013 1:23 AM by Tara Grimes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
GREAT FALLS - A historic block of downtown Great Falls is getting an overhaul, and workers are pounding away inside the Arvon Block Building.
Slated to open in mid-October: the Celtic Cowboy Pub and Restaurant, and Hotel Arvon.
The building is located on the 100 block of 1st Avenue South.
The "Celtic Cowboy" moniker stemmed from a nickname given to Robert Vaughn, a rancher from Wales, who was a close friend of Paris Gibson, the founder of Great Falls.
Randy Hafer, an architect, explained, "You start to think back to what was it like when people would actually stay in these hotel rooms when now it's dripping and it's soggy and there's pigeons all over, but you're seeing the wall paper and all these bits and pieces that somebody left."
Hafer says the remnants inside the Arvon Block building gives him a sense of what it was like after Robert Vaughn constructed the building in the 1890's.
Hafer noted, "They actually kept the horses in the basement in stalls. There's a ramp that came down in the back. Upstairs there was a hay loft."
As one of the oldest buildings in Great Falls, it hosted a livery stable, vegetable market, freight transfer office, and hotel in its earliest days.
Now Hafer and other developers are working to turn the structure into an experience visitors won't forget.
The Celtic Cowboy Pub and Restaurant will not only feature Irish food and a band stage on the main floor, but a wine bar and unique conference rooms downstairs.
Hafer says the Victorian-style Arvon Hotel will be unlike any other contemporary hotel: "Most of the rooms are interior. They don't have outside windows, the big skylights on the roof and light wells that bring natural light down all the way through the building and then there are windows in the hallway that bring light into the rooms."
And with plans for the new Pantages Theatre in the Rocky Mountain Building along Central Avenue, tourism experts say the businesses could be good for the Great Falls economy.
Phillip Aaberg of the Montana Tourism Advisory Council said, "Both of those buildings together are going to create a kind of magnetism that's going to draw all kinds of people to the area. In turn that will develop other businesses, develop other performing arts opportunities, develop more restaurants. It's just to be better for everybody."