The Hotel at Bonclarken instantly brings wonderful memories to so many. “I have heard many people refer to the Hotel as ‘this iconic building,’ this ‘historic symbol of our ARP faith heritage,’ this ‘inspiration to young and old alike’. She has stood as a beacon to thousands of Bonclarken guests since the opening of our ARP conference center in 1921,” Bonclarken President Chip Sherer said.
Many who return to Bonclarken year after year savor the sweet nostalgia of days there, especially as they walk into the Hotel… and the memories come flooding back. Many ARPs have memories of staying in the Hotel while attending conferences and eating delicious home-style meals served in the central dining room. Others remember working at Bonclarken during their teenage years and staying in the Hotel’s third floor rooms. Many more remember warm summer evenings, rocking on its wrap-around front porch.
The Hotel will be forever remembered in countless wedding photos of brides poised on the Hotel’s staircase or in front of the stained glass on the front porch. The gift shop has, and still does, draw countless numbers of children and adults who can hardly wait to see the donated hand-made items, canned items, candy and Bonclarken T-shirts for sale.
However, the years have taken its toll on the old building. Even as far back as 1974, in her book on Bonclarken, Peggy Murdock said: “The Hotel has always presented a problem. It is too expensive to fix up and too beautiful to tear down.”
A wooden structure has many problems as it ages, and these problems have plagued the Hotel for years. “Our Board has wrestled with the same question that other Bonclarken Boards have wrestled with for the past 50+ years—what do we do with the Hotel?” Sherer said.
In the upcoming March/April edition of The ARP Magazine, read about a master plan to repair and preserve the Hotel’s exterior and save the crumbling structure for future generations to enjoy. A campaign is now underway to raise the necessary funds – and you can help.