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150-Year-Old Sleeping Bear Inn to Get New Renovations Thanks to Nonprofit

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A historic site located in Glen Haven is getting new life thanks to a nonprofit.

The 150-year-old Sleeping Bear Inn and Garage will be renovated to a Bed and Breakfast through the nonprofit BEAR, or Balancing Environment and Rehabilitation.

“We feel that we want to preserve a legacy of what is here, the legacy of Glen Haven altogether,” said BEAR President Maggie Kato.

The Inn was built in 1865.

“It was fine example of a frontier hotel that was utilized as a lodge until approximately 1972,” said Phil Akers, a chief ranger for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “We purchased it the next year and utilized it for a couple years for additional housing and it’s been closed since.”

The National Lakeshore had been interested in leasing the property for years, and while many interested parties came forward, Maggie and her husband Jeff, along with BEAR, were able finance the lease.

“BEAR is a nonprofit that was formed specifically for this work here to renovate the Sleeping Bear Inn and Garage,” Kato said. “We came upon the proposal that was sent out years ago and thought, ‘this was something maybe we could do.”

BEAR plans to renovate and restore the inn into a bed and breakfast.

“We’re still in the planning phase.” Kato said. “We’re getting our plans reviewed by both the National Lakeshore and SHPO, the State Historic Preservation Office.”

Those plans include having seven rooms upstairs, adding an accessible room on the first floor, and two suites in the garage.

Akers says the total cost for renovations would be $1.5 million or more.

“Yeah, we are crazy,” Kato said. “But we feel we still have a lot to give. We think this inn can be an economic generator for all of Glen Haven to stay sustainable, and for people who visit to be immersed into the legacy and the culture of Glen Haven.”

BEAR hopes to get this project done by summer 2022.

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