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Monday, February 19, 2018

Vicki Viall photo

Building with storied past nears three lost decades (slideshow)

By Vicki Viall

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

The old Stipek Building located at 200 South Merrill Avenue has had many owners, but for the last quarter century or so, it hasn’t had many visitors. Now, the building better known locally as the Lulhaven is once again for sale.

Per an advertisement on trading website Craigslist, the building is more than 3,000 square feet and would be perfect for a restaurant, retail or office. The building has a new roof, has had electrical work done and has over two thousand dollars worth of building supplies on property. The asking price is $54,000

The long-road to the current state of shambles began in 1905. J. J. Stipek started building what would become The Bee Hive Cash Store which sold saddles among other items, on land owned by Charles Krug.

In a newspaper advertisement dated July, 1908, The Bee Hive Cash Store offered buggy harnesses, single harness, single track harness, whips of all kinds, quirts and lashes. 

Stipek also added a pool hall behind the main store front according to a Glendive Ranger-Review article written by Cindy Mullet in 2008.

He moved from the area on Sept. 1, 1937, according to  information from the archives of the Frontier Gateway Museum in Glendive, Montana.

Subsequent owners have included Merchants National Bank, William Lindsay, Frank Turluck, John Sterhan according to an Architectural Inventory prepared by Bill Babcock of Missoula, Montana in Aug. 1987. In that time it housed offices including C. A. Rasmusson Land Office, Jone’s Hemstich Shop, Mrs. McLeod’s Tea Room, and George Scherger Sr.’s Sandwich Shop

However, the most prominent occupant is the one that left its neon sign over the door – the Lulhaven.

That name would be brought into existence as the result of the purchase of the property by E. George Lulham. 

His daughter Alice Smith Lulham succeeded him, and served as owner operator of  The Lulhaven Tavern and Cafe.

The tavern was located in the front of the building with the cafe in back of the building. The kitchen was in the back and opened on the alley.

When opened, The Lulhaven gained a reputation as the most modern and up-to-date bar around.

Alice made the Tom and Jerry, a Christmas cocktail popular in the 19th century,  the tavern’s signature drink.

Alice started marketing the Lulhaven’s Tom and Jerry mix for sale outside the tavern.

The Lulham family eventually closed the tavern and cafe and sold the building on Oct. 16, 1987.

The building has changed hands many times since. 

According to an article in the Glendive Ranger Review by Cindy Mullet dated Dec. 11, 2008, Jesse and Jodi Thom purchased the building from Steve Moore and Cary McSweyn, who had in turn purchased the building in 2006.

Despite the many changes in title, no one has since opened a going concern at the location. 

Now, with the building back on the market, there is a chance that might change, according to Executive Director of the Dawson County Economic Development Council Amy Deines.

“We have had nibbles about the building. Nothing concrete yet. Some of the ideas that people have shared with us for a ‘new’ Lulhaven include restaurants, wine bar and professional offices. All we have talked with so far have stated they are determined to keep the art deco exterior for the building. This building has great bones and is so stylized. It could be what triggers downtown returning to its past glory,” Deines said.

In the meantime, The Lulhaven stands as an abandoned and disheveled reminder of a bygone era in Glendive’s past.

Vicki Viall may be contacted at rrwriter@rangerreview.com.

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