The Rapids Is Rising – by Michael Hopper
Restoration Progress – narratives and photos:
Year I & II: 1999 – 2000: Should we or shouldn’t we? “Initial Ownership” of property and the dream begins. Evaluation of future restoration efforts follow with architectural and engineering consultation. The Roadhouse is applies for status on the National Historic Register.
The Hoppers quickly realized the importance of the history housed at the roadhouse and all along this historical corridor. Efforts then began to try and save the roadhouse and preserve her historical legacy. The Rapids Roadhouse or commonly known as the Black Rapids Lodge or Black Rapids Hunting Lodge, is over 100 years old and is one of the last remaining roadhouses on the Valdez to Fairbanks trail. It was then place on the national historic register and has been under historic restoration since 2000. State grants became available for individuals and business owners alike to save the many national historic building across Alaska. The first grant was secured from the State of Alaska Department of History and Archeology to save the building from further decay.
The roadhouse almost fell into the glacial grit, but now with its sound foundation established, it has already held its own against the big earthquake.
Year III: 2001: Initial clean-up efforts begin with over forty-five volunteers. Armed Forces Eco Challenge uses site for staging area. First web site.
Year IV: 2002: Roadhouse is added to National Register of Historic Places. First State of Alaska Department of History and Archeology grant assists to begin stabilization of two story section #7 and adjoining section #1. Non-Profit status attained for the Black Rapids Trust, Inc.
Year of the Big Earthquake! Missile Defense groundbreaking takes place and Corp of Engineers visit the restoration site and adopt the Rapids for future restoration. Two articles in Fairbanks Daily News Miner, daily addition and the Heartland (by Mary Beth Smetzer) printed. Article in Delta Wind printed. LA Times prints article about roadhouses and the Rapids Roadhouse in their Sunday travel section (by Michael Parrish).
Year V: 2003: Second State of Alaska Department of History and Archeology grant helps stabilization two adjoining sections #4 & #5 while work begins on sections #2 and #3. Timber Frame school is held to build new lodge on bluff behind roadhouse.
July snow surprises everyone. Original pipeline scientists visit area to evaluate original engineering of pipeline. Missile Defense crew assist with the acquisition of logs, roof poles, etc. Article in Fairbanks Daily News Miner, Traditional Building and Alaska Architect printed. Presentation for Yukon Historical Society given at the Pioneer Park Historical Park.
Year VI: 2004: Grant Applications are being submitted to further restoration efforts.”The board members of the Black Rapids Trust, Inc. and volunteers for the restoration of the Rapids Roadhouse are now in the early planning stages for the summer 2004 project. Grants are being applied in hopes of furthering our efforts. Stay tuned, or better yet come visit, volunteer, cook, and/or help us haul away the pile that has accumulated behind the roadhouse!” — Annie & Mike Hopper
Year VII: 2005: Restoration continues. See the latest photos.
2003 Progress, View of Roadhouse from bluff above