The new Snowline Acres building along the east side of U.S. 93 South in Kalispell might cause drivers to do a double-take. Not only is the impressive gable-roofed building a massive new addition to the South Kalispell landscape, but it’s also a familiar icon to many local residents.
In 2017, Kristin and Tom Davis moved the historic Kalispell Lumber building from its longtime location across from the Flathead County Fairgrounds to its new home at 3315 U.S. 93 South.
“It was such a landmark downtown,” Tom said. “It was important to us to keep that character.”
The Davises took over the long-running Snowline Acres tree company four and a half years ago from the Little family. To complement the seasonal Christmas tree business, they bought and relocated the Kalispell Lumber building to their South Kalispell property.
The process involved dismantling the historic structure, thought to have been built in 1913, hauling the pieces five miles south and then putting the hundreds of pieces of old-growth wood back together.
“It was kind of a fun puzzle,” Tom said. The couple worked with Heritage Timber, a Missoula-based company that specializes in dismantling and reassembling old buildings. The entire process took about 18 months, starting in summer 2017. They finished the rebuild in spring 2018 and started hosting events in the new location this past summer. Snowline Acres opened for its annual Christmas season on Nov. 29.
Nearly everything in the 22,000-square-foot structure is original to the early 20th Century building, except for the windows, doors, flooring and tongue-and-groove joints. Because they are so old, the ceiling trusses were left completely intact and carefully carted down the highway in semi trucks.
“Is it even possible to disassemble and move it across town?” Tom remembered wondering at the onset of the project.
“But it worked out,” Kristin added.
The reconstructed building is the same width as it used to be, but half the length and about 6 inches shorter. With these adjustments, it comes in at an impressive 40 feet, 6 inches tall, with the capacity to accommodate more than 300 people for special events. It includes the main event space, a retail store, a hot chocolate bar and eventual kitchen area, as well as a loft and bridal suite upstairs.
“I love watching people come in the building for the first time,” Tom said of the incredibly airy and spacious structure. “It’s a fun surprise.”
The unique building is just one of the Davises’ many plans for the future of Snowline Acres, which has been running in the valley since 1955.
“We saw so much opportunity for year-round business,” said Kristin, who got her start with her husband running businesses such as pumpkin patches and apple orchards in Wisconsin.
“We’re planning on doing so many different things here for different seasons,” she said. With their nearly 30-acre property, they plan on hosting activities like fun runs and concerts in the summers and inviting the public to their pumpkin patch and apple orchard in the fall.
Over the next few years, they have a number of future developments in the works as well, including a skating rink in between the two buildings scheduled to be ready by next year’s holiday season. “This is the first of a couple phases,” Kristin explained. “We plan to keep improving the property and making it a gathering place for people through the seasons.”
In addition to public events, Snowline Acres also offers its scenic new space for events such as weddings and fundraisers.
“Originally, we were going to have a smaller building. Weddings and events weren’t even part of the equation,” Tom recalled.
As the plans evolved for relocating the old Kalispell Lumber building, they began to realize the potential for the large, vintage structure. “Why not make it available to the community?’” Kristin remembered thinking. “We’ve got something special here.”
They’ve already hosted a handful of events, and they said they have a lot of bookings scheduled for next year, especially weddings. Since hosting a 300-person fundraiser in June, they said interest in private bookings has spread quickly through the community, even though the space has only been open officially for just over a week.
As the business diversifies, Christmas trees and holiday items are still the backbone of Snowline Acres, and the Davises anticipate this year will be their busiest season yet. Between retail sales and the wholesale market, which spans the entire country, Snowline Acres sells an average of 6,000 trees per year.
After more than 60 seasons, it’s clear they have no trouble keeping the business evergreen. “We have such a nice customer base from 62 years,” Kristin observed.
“We’ve really been blessed with the loyalty,” Tom added.
He said visiting Snowline Acres has become a holiday tradition for many local families. Going forward, they hope to keep these traditions alive and add new ones for every season.
“We want to create family traditions all through the year,” Kristin said.
Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 758-4459.