Collaborative effort will preserve Conrad Mansion grounds

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For nearly 125 years the east side of Kalispell has been anchored by the impressive Conrad Mansion, surrounded by 3 acres of meticulous landscaping and a handsome dry stone fence.

The mansion has been an architectural and historic timepiece as the city of Kalispell has grown by leaps and bounds around it.

The mansion museum’s founding board member, the late Louis A. “Sam” Bibler, was the first caretaker of the extensive gardens and grounds. Bibler’s own 16-acre property overlooking the Flathead Valley above Foy’s Lake stands as testament to his horticultural mastery.

When the city inherited the mansion from Alicia Conrad Campbell in 1974, it was with the stipulation that no taxpayer money be spent to support its upkeep. Under Bibler’s guidance as its president, the new board, along with a cavalry of volunteers, began work on the home’s repair and restoration a year later.

To this day the mansion museum is funded solely by donations, fundraisers and tours.

Thanks to a recent collaboration, Bibler’s legacy organization, the Bibler Gardens, has agreed to collaborate with the Conrad Museum board on a multi-year garden plan. Every donation will be matched up to $12,000 by a generous donor. That funding should enhance and preserve one of the city’s most beloved assets for generations to come.

To donate to the Meet Me in the Garden Fund, mail your check to P.O. Box 1041, Kalispell, MT 59903 or donate at www.conradmansion.com/support-us.html.

Another way to support the museum is by attending the 18th annual Death By Chocolate Murder in the Ballroom fundraiser, April 26-27. Tickets went on sale last week and this popular event usually sells out.

In this year’s murder mystery, guests will join the ball as Cinderella and a cast of royalty discover which “bachelorette” princess the “bachelor” prince gives his rose to.

Enjoy heavy hors d’ oeuvres, lots of chocolate and drinks before the play. Afterward, there will be a raffle, music and dancing. Guests must be 21 and older to attend.

Tickets are $70 each. VIP tickets are $125. Call 755-2166 or stop by the mansion to purchase your tickets.

Off-season tours of the mansion are also available Tuesday through Friday by appointment.

Community Editor Carol Marino may be reached at 758-4440 or community@dailyinterlake.com.

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