A True Beacon Of Bozeman: Historic Sign Is An Iconic Landmark
There is something about a landmark that says "welcome" or "your home". Of course, a lot of cities and towns have these, maybe it's the town water tower or an iconic building. Here in Bozeman, we have such a landmark and at one point, it could be seen for miles away.
The Hotel Baxter sign.
The sign and the building for that matter, are a major part of the Bozeman skyline and have been for almost a century. The Hotel Baxter was completed and opened for business back in 1929, however, the owners of the hotel wanted to make sure that travelers knew about the building and decided the best way to do that would be through advertising. So they came up with a big idea.
In fact, their big idea was 32 feet high and 45 feet wide.
They wanted something on top of the building that folks driving could see for miles away, so the Hotel Baxter sign was born. The designer of the Hotel Baxter sign, August H. Lake wanted it to be seen all the way to Butte according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
For years the sign lit up downtown Bozeman, until one day it didn't. Long-time Bozeman residents will remember life without those famous neon letters lighting up downtown. The sign would remain unlit for four decades, until a few years ago.
On January 10th, 2013 the sign would come roaring back to life after a group of folks refurbished the sign. They wanted to make sure the sign was close to as original as possible, so they studied the old neon tubes before replacing them according to NBC Montana.
Of course, the sign isn't the only landmark on top of Hotel Baxter. There is also the famous flashing blue light.
For 40 years, the "Bridger Bowl Blue Light" has let the folks of Bozeman know when there is fresh snow on the slopes. Long before the internet where people can just jump on their phone and check out a website, the folks at Bridger Bowl came up with a way to alert Bozeman residents that there was fresh powder and the light went into effect in 1981. A quick call and the entering of a passcode turns on the light and it remains on for 24 hours.
So much history and of course, such a huge part of not only downtown but Bozeman. It may not seem like a big deal to some, or folks might think "it's just a sign" but it's more than that. It's part of who we are and what we're about. It is a shining light for a city that welcomes folks from all over to come and visit, just like it did almost 100 years ago.
It's a beacon of Bozeman.
Credit: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, NBC Montana, Mountain Culture Group