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Historic Roadhouse Restoration Project

The Rapids Roadhouse, variously know as Black Rapids Roadhouse or Rapids Hunting Lodge, opened at least by 1904 to serve travelers on the new Valdez-Fairbanks Trail.

Roadhouses could be found along all Alaska trails in the first quarter of the 20th century. Along the 386-mile Valdez-Fairbanks Trail, which at the time was Alaska’s principal travel corridor, roadhouses were typically spaced a day’s travel between each other. Of the more than 30 roadhouses that operated along the route between 1902 and 1923, Rapids Roadhouse is one of only a few that survives. The Alaska Road Commission improved the Valdez-Fairbanks trail over the years and renamed it the Richardson Road.

In 1923, when the Alaska Railroad offered an alternative year-round route connecting interior Alaska with an ice-free port on the south-central coast, traffic on the road declined. Rapids Roadhouse continued to operate until 1993, although its peak years had been during the first decades of the 20th century. Because of this, the period of significance ended in 1923.

As a part of our mission, the Lodge at Black Rapids has restored the historic roadhouse as an Alaskan Historical Landmark. Read about our Roadhouse Restoration Project below!

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 applies for status on the National Historic Register. The Hoppers quickly realized the importance of the history housed at the roadhouse… Read More

Year III: 2001:  Initial clean-up efforts begin with over 45 volunteers. Armed Forces Eco Challenge uses site for staging area. First website. On Wednesday, June 20, 2001, work officially began on the restoration of the BRR. For three days the previous weekend, the owners Mike and Annie Hopper cleaned up the old 1950s lodge as a staging area and brought in equipment… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

Year VII: 2005: Restoration continues. The Rapids Roadhouse, or commonly known as the Black Rapids Lodge, is over 100 years old and is one of the last remaining roadhouses on the Valdez to Fairbanks trail. It is on the National Historic Register and has been under historic restoration since 2000 thanks to two grants from the State of Alaska… Read More