BROKEN BOW, Neb. — It’s hard for Anne Thomas not to break into a smile when she shows off her newly completed project: Broken Bow’s Arrow East Hotel.

“You have no idea,” Thomas said with a laugh when asked what it was like, after years of work, to finally stand inside the chic and polished hotel.

With her husband, RJ, and partners for the last 12 years, Matt Thomas and Cathy and Wes Province, Thomas also owns and renovated the Arrow Hotel, Arrow East’s sister hotel, just across the street.

The Kearney Hub reports that the owners of Arrow East had a grand opening Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the years of hard work and attention to detail that went into the 20 suite-style rooms.

The new lodging rose after a tragedy struck the town of 3,500 people in 2007. That’s when a blaze destroyed much of the south side of Broken Bow Downtown Square where Arrow East now sits. Five businesses were razed in the flames. Firefighters from as far away as Kearney and North Platte were called to battle that fire.

“A lady called me on April Fool’s Day and told me about the fire, and was like ‘It’s not an April Fool’s joke, Anne.’ I knew it wasn’t. Nobody would joke about that,” Thomas said in a previous interview with the Hub.

The fire started in the center of the block in the former Photo Center and quickly spread to neighboring businesses. The Photo Center, Square One, a clothing store, Lyne’s Appliance, American Family Insurance and Chapin’s Carpet and Furniture store were all lost in the fire. The buildings, built in 1889, were part of an area that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Nine years later, Thomas and the other owners announced their plans to bring life back to the block.

Along with king and queen suites, the new Arrow has an exercise room, a business room, and a small laundry room where guests can wash and dry their clothes. Visitors can check in at the front entrance using a kiosk and must have a card in order to use the elevator and get up to the rooms for the safety and privacy of the guests, Thomas explained.

Parking is on the first floor, and the front suites are all situated with balconies overlooking the bustling square. To block out the noise from the busy street, those suites have curtains, doors and walls made to act as sound barriers.

With its modern conveniences, the owners worked hard to strike a balance between technology and having the design capture the history of the downtown district.

“The whole idea was, without it being antiquing, to get this building to look like it could have been built in … 1928 or 1900s,” Thomas said.

One of the details Thomas is most proud of is that most of the furniture at Arrow East was sold to them by Broken Bow businesses — everything from the custom-built armoires to the carpet. While not all of the furniture was made in Broken Bow, most of it was made in America and sold by local businesses.

“It’s very important to me but just about everything you see came from Broken Bow,” Thomas said. “For everybody that says, ‘Well, gee, I can’t get it in town,’ well, yes, you can. … In Broken Bow, we’re a small-enough community where if we don’t support us, who does?”


Information from: Kearney Hub, http://www.kearneyhub.com/

An AP Member Exchange shared by the Kearney Hub.