The Ticker’s Emily Tyra took a tour of the Inn & did a nice interview with Maggie Kato:
Leelanau Ticker: How actively were the inn and garage maintained since the 1970s, until this opportunity arose to rehabilitate them now?
Kato: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has definitely maintained the exterior of the buildings with fresh paint, cedar shake shingles and replacing the shiplap siding over the years, however nothing has been done to the interior.
Leelanau Ticker: So after all those years, what does the inn look like inside right now?
Kato: In some ways it is frozen in time and there is some disrepair as well. The ceiling in the sunporch is in very good shape — as are the wood floors of the first floor of the inn — but the ceiling of the parlor is falling in. When we gathered in the inn for our October board of directors meeting, a mouse crawled out the toilet to join us. All new electrical, mechanical, plumbing, insulation and fire suppression will need to be added.
Leelanau Ticker: Are there any particular historic details that BEAR and the historic architects are working hard to keep intact for generations to come?
Kato: The exterior of the inn will remain virtually unchanged. We will repair the brick stairs and we will include accessible ramping — however, our plan is to do this subtly with earthen ramps. We will add an accessible inn room on the west side of the first story where the innkeeper quarters were and we will have to make moderate changes in the kitchen to meet code requirements. We are going to try to keep the ceiling in the sunporch and the wood floors of the inn. We will replicate the wainscot in the dining room. All three fireplaces will be retained. At one time there were lightning rods on the roof and we will replace them. Although we can’t keep the original kitchen island, we will be replicating it.
Leelanau Ticker: Once open, proceeds from the Sleeping Bear Inn are to be re-invested throughout Glen Haven Village Historic District, yes?
Kato: Yes! Our goal is to return profits from the operation of the inn back into all of Glen Haven. There are several other homes and buildings that need rehabilitation. There are even remains of a tennis court and curling rink in Glen Haven and we intend to restore these structures as well.