The Three Forks area marks one of the most significant points along the Lewis and Clark Trail. Here at the headwaters of the Missouri River, Sacajawea was reunited with her brother and brokered safe passage for the explorers. Following on the heels of this epic American tale, the Sacajawea Hotel was constructed in 1910.
Mr. John Q. Adams, a purchasing agent for the Milwaukee Railroad, built the hotel as a rest stop for passengers and train crews. The heart of the hotel is the Madison House, a private residence which was built in the old quarter of Three Forks in 1882. Mr. Adams hired a contractor to move the house to the new hotel site. Halfway through the relocation, the contractor — a bit of a gambler — lost his horse team in a poker game. After sitting in a bog for a season, Madison House was finally delivered to its current location. Bozeman architect Fred Wilson designed the remainder of the building, which today stands in stately white-clapboard elegance.
Through the 20th and into the 21st century the Hotel weathered many hardships. In 2001, the Sacajawea was boarded up. However, in 2009 the Folkvords, a third-generation Montana farming family, purchased the Hotel. The family held the goal of restoring the structure to its original grandeur. Over eight months, they accomplished just that.
Today, the Sacajawea Hotel boasts 29 luxury guest rooms, two full-service bars, meeting space, wedding venues and Montana’s finest steakhouse, Pompey’s Grill. The Hotel has quickly garnered the reputation of “one of the finest historic hotels in the West.” Nominated as the only Montana property to join as a member of Historic Hotels of America and receiving the 2011 Historic Preservation Award of Excellence, the Sacajawea Hotel is open year-round to Montanans and visitors from afar who wish to experience its rich ambience and friendly staff.
When the Folkvord’s started Wheat Montana, in 1990, their first bakery was located in Bozeman, on College Street. The first loaves of fresh, Wheat Montana breads were sold at the local Albertson’s and Town and Country Stores. The family has had close ties to Bozeman, and the Gallatin Valley, since day one of their business ambitions. It seems fitting that as they’ve transitioned and grown as a family, that they would have a keen interest in Bozeman and its surrounding opportunities. Today, the family has sold all their holdings in Wheat Montana, and the dryland wheat farm that became nationally recognized, as the supply link to their Montana Born and Bread products.
When Hillary and Haylee expressed an interest in entrepreneurship and hospitality, the efforts of the family turned to acquiring, and reimagining, local hotels. The first – The Sacajawea Hotel/Pompey’s Grill – in Three Forks, proved that they could take a heretofore unprofitable and rundown property, and restore, revitalize, and establish economic success. Now, ten years in, the family considers this property a centerpiece to the family story. With the full engagement of the daughters, their new RSVP Motel and Farmer’s Daughters Eatery opened in 2018. Once a dilapidated motor hotel, the new place is upscale and modern, while featuring health consious food. Customer response has been positive. Enough so, that the family has its eyes on doing another soon. “In total, we have four hospitality properties, and we’re banking on this areas attractiveness to visitors now, and after the COVID crisis abates”, said Hillary Folkvord. Younger sister Haylee said, “In the meantime, we’re working together, as a family, and as a team, with our excellent employees to ensure that we get to offer travelers, AND Montanan’s, a unique experience when we do business together.”
The Folkvord’s enjoy travel, new experiences, great food, their friends, and meeting new people. Every time they travel, there’s a new idea, or a new way of doing business that gets brought back to Montana, and is incorporated into the businesses. It’s proven to be an effective strategy, and hopefully our State benefits, as Montana-grown entrepreneurs - like the Folkvord Family – strive to make their dreams come true.