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Local artist restores long lost piece of Glacier Park history

By Rebecca Vogt, KCFW Reporter, rvogt@kcfw.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:11:11 PM MST
Updated On: Jan 16 2013 08:29:23 PM MST
Local artist restores a long, lost piece of Glacier National Park history

Hockaday Museum of Art

KALISPELL, Mont. -

A piece of Glacier National Park history that almost disappeared forever is now getting a second chance to shine.

In the early 1900s, large murals were commissioned by Louis Hill, president of the Great Northern Railway, to hang in Glacier Park Lodge. In the 1950s the lodge was remodeled and the murals were ripped off the walls and discarded. Fifteen of them were saved by an East Glacier couple and passed down through their family over the years.

Last fall, Leanne and Alan Goldhahn donated the murals to Kalispell's Hockaday Museum of Art. Local artist Joe Abbrescia has been put to work on the murals that cost $2,000 to $3,000 each to restore.

The first mural, a scene in the Grinnell Lake area, is currently on display at the Hockaday.

"We're very happy that we've gotten them in this critical stage of their decay almost so that they can be restored and we're thrilled to have them," said Hockaday Executive Director Elizabeth Moss. "My goal is to get them out into the public because we can't house them in house, all 15 of them. So I'm going to be looking for public spaces."

Museum staff say they hope to release one newly restored mural a year.