Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, international travelers were paying customers.
“We had hikers come in from Italy, Australia, you name it they hiked through here,” Matt said. “They love the community.”
Matt and Lori moved to Augusta from western Montana’s Bigfork.
Matt, who is self-employed, originally arrived in the community to work as a construction superintendent on an area ranch.
“It was remote and in all honesty, there’s not a whole lot of people who were willing to move to a small town like this as opposed to moving and living in Great Falls, Kalispell, Bozeman, that had more conveniences,” Matt said. “It literally didn’t take me a month to fall in love with the people in town here.”
A year ago, the Folkmans purchased Wagons West RV Park and Motel, located a block from the Bunkhouse.
Saturday, the day the Bunkhouse Inn burned down, was the one-year anniversary of that purchase.
At the Wagons West location, Matt and Lori reopened a restaurant that had been closed for 12 years.
They purchased the Bunkhouse Inn from Donna Hartelius of Great Falls, just a month before it was destroyed by the fire. The family lived on the first floor.
“My wife and I just love history and old buildings especially in this town and then that place popped up for sale,” Folkman said. “We both just kind of jumped to own a building like that.”