Historic hotel reopens after 12-year project

2007-11-01T23:00:00Z Historic hotel reopens after 12-year projectJomay Steen, Journal staff Rapid City Journal
November 01, 2007 11:00 pm  • 

DEADWOOD - As a renovation project, the Martin & Mason Hotel presented possibilities and problems alike: an elegant Victorian-era, storied hotel at the heart of Deadwood, but with long-neglected structure issues that might lead to the building's collapse.

Yet owners Melanie and Blake Haverberg had a vision of the luxurious hotel and third-floor ballroom that they could build. After three phases of construction over a 12-year period at a cost of $3.5 million, the Haverbergs recently opened the doors to the grandeur of the Martin & Mason Hotel.

"It's as historical as it can be," Melanie Haverberg said of building's renovation.

In its five elegant single rooms and three generously appointed luxury suites with offset bay windows, guests can enjoy the 21st-century amenities of Internet accessibility, private bathrooms and television while ensconced in 1890s decor. Pillow-top beds, goose-down pillows, Egyptian cotton bedding, luxurious comforters and plush towels await every weary guest checking in for the night.

The third-floor 1893 Olympic Club Ballroom opens from a 475-square-foot reception and conference area and showcases a beautifully restored 2,000-square-foot polished maple wood dance floor, 14-foot-tall ceilings, lath-plastered walls and five Victorian-era chandeliers. The former law offices have been converted into two connecting conference rooms that can easily open into 668 square feet of space.

"It holds 220 people, and we've already scheduled a wedding for Nov. 30," Blake Haverberg said.

What you won't find in the hotel rooms are telephones, smoking or children.

Eliminating telephones elevated the rooms to a more authentic look, while the smoking ban prevents damage and conserves the antique fibers and fabrics used to outfit the rooms. Situated above the Wooden Nickel Casino, Blake Haverberg believes that children should not be a part of the gambling scene "any more than they should be in saloons or bars."

After a family reunion in 1995, the Northport, Mich., natives saw the future luxury hotel for the first time. "It was a horrible, rainy day, and as I was driving by, I saw its for-sale and condemned signs," Blake Haverberg said.

He contacted his sister, who lives in Deadwood, who connected him with a Realtor. After six months of negotiations, they owned the building and began their remodeling odyssey.

With a basement filled with water, a crumbling foundation, collapsing third-floor roof trusses, a gaping hole in its roof and an assortment of squatters and pigeons living in the upper two stories of the building, they needed a strong vision.

"Every board in the ballroom was warped. The pigeon poop was 3 to 4 inches deep, and there were even dead pigeons in it. They had to use poles to brace up the ceiling. Yet, you could walk into this room and see its grandeur," Melanie Haverberg said.


While the Wooden Nickel Casino operated through the renovation, the building's foundation was replaced in 4-foot sections. The debris was cleared from the basement, second floor and third floor as the roof was built and reinforced. Steel trusses were cut and installed on site. Maple floorboards were salvaged from an elevator shaft for the ballroom. When Hickok's Hotel and Casino was redecorated, work crews salvaged matching heat registers to use at Martin & Mason's. "We had great construction crews," Blake Haverberg said.

"We researched the era extensively. The colors, fabrics and decor are what you would have found in a home of that time," Melanie Haverberg said.

The hotel rooms, with 12-foot ceiling heights, happily had large closets. "We managed to squeeze bathrooms or showers into every one of those closets," Blake Haverberg said.

The Haverbergs continuously have combed antique shops in Rapid City, Spearfish and every state between South Dakota and Michigan to find authentic antique walnut and oak furnishings to decorate the rooms. "Every piece of furniture in here has been moved 15 times," Blake Haverberg said.

While they hadn't planned for the renovation to last this long or to spend as much, they are pleased with the elegant results.

"With only eight rooms, we're never going to make the money we spent on this. You do it more for your own satisfaction," Blake Haverberg said.

"We're trying to make it a historic draw to Deadwood," he added.

If you go

What: Martin & Mason Hotel open house

When: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4

Where: 33 Deadwood St., Deadwood

Web address: www.martinmasonhotel.com

Telephone: 722-3456

Other: Reservations for hotel rooms, suites, the 1893 Olympic Club Ballroom and conference rooms are available. The hotel is above the Wooden Nickel Casino, across from the Adams Museum at the corner of Sherman and Deadwood streets.

Contact Jomay Steen at 394-8418 or jomay.steen@rapidcityjournal.com.

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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