Harwood’s Bunkhouse Hotel: Success on the Divide

Dateline, Jackson Montana

The Bunkhouse Hotel, located a short drive from the mountains nestled between the continental divide trail, ski resorts, and a number of natural hot springs makes the perfect getaway for any traveler seeking solitude and relaxation. Previously the hotel served as the International Order of Odd Fellows Lodge (IOOF Hall). It served the fraternal organizations for many years until the Lodge disbanded near the turn of the century.

Visiting the hotel now it is easy to understand the vision Rick Harwood had when he decided to take on this project, however local and national banks did not share the vision and the project nearly missed being grounded on take-off.Harwood, a Montana Native American who lives in Eastern Washington, ran into some unfortunate circumstances a few years earlier. As a result Mr. Harwood’s credit had taken a terrible hit and there was little to no chance that funding would be available. That was until Rick contacted Northwest Native Development Fund. Ted Piccolo, Executive Director of NNDF, saw the potential and felt compelled to see this project through.

Rick Harwood, Owner and Operator of the Bunkhouse Hotel, purchased the building on Valentine’s Day 2015 in the quiet town of Jackson, MT, population 29. At the time the soon-to-be hotel had seen better days, standing as merely a “shell” with no pluming heating system or walls of any kind. Harwood saw potential, and after a few favors and putting in hours hammer to nail, the Bunkhouse Hotel opened in May 2015. Today, the Bunkhouse is a fully licensed hotel, eatery, tavern, laundromat, and even houses the town’s U.S. Post Office in the front lobby. Guests are invited to stay and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of an old-west era boutique with authentic cowboy décor and ambience, all while taking in the breathtaking scenery surrounding the hotel in the Big Hole Valley of Montana. The main floor provides a relaxing living area and multiple adorable single bed private rooms as well as a full laundry area and private bathrooms. Upstairs you will find the perfect group setting for any retreat, or an opportunity to meet a new friend in the “Bunkhouse” lodging area; a large room with multiple beds, a living area with a large screen television and private bar, the ultimate group lodge.

Since working with NNDF, Rick was able to rebuild his credit nearly 100 points and reestablish his historically good credit. The Bunkhouse Hotel and Rick Harwood serve as a paradigm to the success the Native CDFI industry works towards every day. The diamond in the rough, the unfunded vision, and the development fund that believes misfortune can be turned into success with the right amount of work and guidance and some help from “the little loan fund that could.”

The NNDF

The NNDF