In hope, A historic hotel comes back to life

Perched above Lake Pend Oreille's north shore lies a relic of days gone past. Built in 1898, Hotel Jeanott ­ named after its first owner, J. M. Jeanott ­ has again opened its doors as Hotel Hope thanks to local developer Wendel Bergman, the building's fourth owner. The restored Hotel Hope has 15 guest rooms, a dining room, modern kitchen, gift shop ­ and a whole lot of history.

Of course, some things have changed since the turn of the century. "Each room had its own chimney," says Bob LaFore, who worked on the restoration. "They probably used coal for heat." He gestures to the common area and explains that the patrons would visit or play cards to pass the time. "There was no radio or television back then, and people would socialize more."

When the hotel was first built, Hope was a bustling railroad town, much different that today's quiet community perched on the northeast shore of the lake.

In its glory days, Hotel Hope had more than its fair share of VIP guests. Some sources say that Teddy Roosevelt stayed upstairs in room No. 10, which faces Lake Pend Oreille. According to local legend, Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper and other luminaries have also stayed there. Until this summer, however, Hotel Hope had been closed to guests for more than 30 years and had once been used as a butcher shop.

Preserving a historical building is no simple task according to Bergman, who bought the building from Guy Neiman. "The previous owner (who had owned it for 25 years) should get much of the credit," Bergman says. "He didn't have the financial resources, but he steadily kept the restoration on the interior going through the years."

Local residents have assisted Bergman in the restoration by providing him with old photographs and anecdotes of how it was to live in Hope in years past.

Bergman's goal to create a bed and breakfast atmosphere set in breathtaking historical surroundings has been realized.

To find out more, call 208/264-4042 or see their website:

- Ben Silverman


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