It was in the 1950s, Cut Bank was a small community that was doing well. The town had shops, restaurants, bars, motels and four drive-thru restaurants: The Point, M&M, A&W and Tasty Freeze.
One of those drive-in restaurants is about to be recreated in all its original glory, thanks to a grant recently received by the Glacier County Historical Museum.
In November 2020, Dennis and Betsy Seglem, on behalf of the Glacier County Historical Museum, applied for the grant through the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development. They asked for $ 36,450.00 to rebuild the Point Drive Inn as it was in the 1950s.
A few weeks ago, the museum received a letter from Governor Gianforte stating that they were receiving $ 31,400.00 in grants to be used to rebuild the Point Drive Inn. Grant money cannot be used for the running costs of the museum.
“The aim is to showcase the history of the region by attracting new audiences and engaging audiences in creative ways while earning income,” said Betsy Seglem. “While this project has the potential to be a great victory for the museum’s revenue, it is also a victory for resident and non-resident visitors to have fun at the museum and participate in an exhibition interpretation of the museum. ‘living history of the 1950s. ”
Betsy said they hope they can start construction on this project “immediately.” We are currently in the design stage with our contractors and county health officials, figuring out how to blend history with modern health codes. We anticipate an opening day at the end of spring 2022.
This project came about when guests, friends and community members explained to the museum how Point Drive-In had been a focal point at Cut Bank for a number of years. The more the museum and staff heard this commentary, the more the idea of rebuilding the drive-through began to take shape.
“The project involves recreating the 12-by-24-foot Point Drive-In at the front of the museum, based on photographs and oral histories of former employees and clients,” Betsy explained. “Two brothers opened this little drive-in restaurant in Cut Bank in 1947. They overtook it and opened a larger restaurant in the mid-1950s, where Town Pump is now east.”
Betsy said she hoped the grant money would cover the cost of the construction, although prices have risen recently, meaning “the exact numbers are unknown at this time.”
The grant will not cover the costs of sewers and electricity, which means the museum is about to begin fundraising efforts in the hopes of raising enough to cover these costs.
The sewage and electricity costs for the new building are “unknown for sure,” Betsy said, “especially with the potentially higher costs of building materials. However, we have a few ideas for fundraising, including an event involving burgers and shakes at the museum at the All Class Reunion this summer. Watch for details on the museum’s website, www.glaciermuseum.org.
If you would like to send a donation to this cause, you can either send a check directly to the museum at PO Box 576, Cut Bank, MT 59427, or “bring a check when you visit the museum,” Betsy added. “If you would like to donate electronically, donations can be sent through our web page. »All donations are tax deductible.
There are other ways to help the museum as well. First, they know that when the drive-through is over, they’ll need volunteers to run the drive-through at the select and limited times it is open to the public. If you would like to volunteer, Betsy suggested contacting the museum by phone at 406-873-4904 or emailing them at [email protected]
“If anyone has any memorabilia from the Point Drive Inn, especially the original, please make an appointment to bring the photos or information directly to the museum or email the information and photos to glacierhistorymuseum @ gmail. com. We need to hear from as many people as quickly as possible so that the building is true to the story, ”Betsy said.
When the Point Drive Inn is completed, the museum hopes to open the historic site on certain summer and fall evenings, offering sidewalk service with vintage music from the 1950s.
“A limited menu of ice cream cones, sundaes, floats, sodas, shakes, malts and bottled sodas will be offered for purchase at market prices. Some days the menu may include hot dogs, burgers and other sandwiches, ”Betsy commented. “The museum also has the Point Drive Inn neon light sign which will be updated so that it can be illuminated when the drive-in is in use.”
Betsy concluded, “This project is truly a community project and its success depends on community participation. The opportunities for dancing, vintage car shows and ice cream also have the potential to attract people from outside our community.
The museum hopes that this project and its current Overnight in History program will fulfill the museum’s goal of being a tourist destination in Glacier County.