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The Gorge Inn

Newhalem, Washington

Owner: Seattle City Light

Square feet: 22,000

Completed: 2013



The Gorge Inn is part of the Skagit River and Newhalem Creek Hydroelectric Projects National Historic District. Located in the Seattle City Light company town of Newhalem, Washington, the Gorge Inn was constructed in 1925 to serve as the central mess hall for employees working on the Skagit River dams. It later served as a dining facility, catering to the popular Skagit Tours. In 1973 the dining facility moved to the town of Diablo. The Gorge Inn sat vacant, boarded up, and suffering from neglect for almost four decades.

Bassetti rehabilitated the building as a dining and meeting facility for visitors and workers at the historic site. The architectural goal for the Gorge Inn Rehabilitation project was to maintain and highlight the building’s historic features, while reconfiguring the interior spaces to accommodate modern kitchen equipment, a comfortable dining experience, and an inviting small exhibit space. The project includes new roofing; restoration of the original wood windows and building siding; a new foundation; and complete upgrades to the mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems. The project also addressed important challenges including accessibility and stormwater management. The new commercial kitchen wing was designed to match the historic configuration, fabric, and style resulting in a harmonious composition.

Bassetti worked in collaboration with Whatcom County, the National Park Service, and Seattle Public Utilities to design and build a successful and celebrated project.