150-year-old, long-vacant Sleeping Bear Inn to restore as a B&B

GLEN HAVEN, MICH. – A long-shuttered border inn that once carried loggers and dockworkers could come back to life as a bed and breakfast at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Park officials today announced the National Park Service’s intention to lease the historic Sleeping Bear Inn and Garage in Glen Haven to the nonprofit Balancing Environment and Rehabilitation, known as BEAR, for catering to a first-rate B&B.

Built around 1865, the inn first offered accommodation to business travelers and local workers before evolving into a tourist hotel. An apartment on the second floor of the two-story inn even briefly housed DH Day, namesake of one of Sleeping Bear’s campgrounds and original owner of the iconic White Barn visible from the park’s Dune Climb. The hostel has been closed since the mid-1970s; meanwhile, his two-story garage built in the 1920s served as storage for the park.

“We were looking for someone willing to invest in the hostel, and we think we’re having a great game with BEAR,” Superintendent Scott Tucker said in a statement. “The lease will preserve both buildings and allow for a better visitor experience in the historic village of Glen Haven. “

According to the press release, BEAR will have to make substantial investments to rehabilitate the buildings and bring them up to standard. The organization will also work closely with the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Lakeshore for the operations of the inn.

Chief Ranger Phil Akers, who has been working to find a tenant for the historic site for nearly a decade, said the hostel plans to have seven rooms on the second floor and one on the first floor accessible by l ‘ADA. The second floor of the garage will be converted into two guest suites, he said.

A property appraisal will be done this year to determine the fair market value of the rent before finalizing the lease. Renovations will begin after the lease is finalized, Akers said, with the goal of opening the hostel to the public sometime in 2022.

To learn more about Sleeping Bear Inn and its history, visit https://www.nps.gov/slbe.

A photo of the hostel taken as part of the Library of Congress’s investigation of historic American buildings. Photo via Library of Congress

Sleeping Bear Inn Garage

A photo of the historic garage, via the Library of Congress.

Sleeping Bear Inn Garage

The Inn’s garage in 2016. Photo by Edward Pevos | MLive News

Sleeping Bear Inn

The historic Glen Haven Cannery, viewed from the Inn. Photo by Edward Pevos | MLive News

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