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After decades in the dark, Baxter Hotel sign shines with new life

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 11 2013 01:43:32 AM MST
Baxter Hotel light
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

A piece of Downtown Bozeman history got a new life after decades in disrepair- the Baxter Hotel sign.

Originally erected in 1929, the sign provided an iconic glow in Gallatin Valley- and it's said it could be seen from miles and miles away.

A crew set out to light the red neon letters again, and spent weeks refurbishing the sign. Erik "Ole" Nelson of Media Station Design Works, Rob Pertzborn of Intrinsik Architecture and Darren Dust from Treasure State Signs teamed up with Baxter owner David Loseff to repaint and rewire the sign, and install new neon.

They went off a vintage postcard and the original red neon tubes to determine how the sign looked back in the day. 

On Thursday evening, the sign was ready to show off it's new glory.

The Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting right before the switch was flipped, and then just like that, the sign was on.

A huge crowd gathered in the blistery snow to see history in the making, and cheered when the red neon HOTEL BAXTER lit up next to the blinking blue Bridger light.

Spectators said they're happy to see the new landmark downtown.

"I'm really glad that they stuck with the neon and didn't do something all fancy new" said Bozeman resident AJ Rohrer. "It looks real great just the way it is."

Jeannie Gracey-Etgen brought her two kids Conner and Cecelia to see the spectacle. "It's a main staple of Bozeman" she said.

Conner said he was excited to attend because he, like many, never saw the once-defunct sign light up. "I think it's really awesome to see it, and that it's snowing!" he said.

His sister Cecelia agreed."I think it's really cool, and I'm happy that there's a light blinking," she said, referring to the fresh powder at Bridger Bowl.

Gracey-Etgen laughed, adding "Amen!"