Thursday, October 17, 2019
Barkin’ Pays Homage to Past While Moving Mountain Humane into Future
David and Lyn Anderson have been skiing at Sun Valley Resort since the 1970s and have had a home here since 1998.
Saturday, June 22, 2019


It’s been jacked up. Its basement has been emptied out. And a new roof now covers its crown.

And today the historic Rialto Hotel will open as The Barkin’ thrift store to benefit Mountain Humane.

The Barkin,’ as the Barking Basement is now called, will hold a grand opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today—Saturday, June 22—complete with refreshments and raffle drawings at its new digs across from the Hailey Public Library at 201 S. Main St.

JoAnne Dixon and Fritz Haemmerle look on as David and Lyn Anderson cut the ribbon.

Mountain Humane held a ribbon cutting Thursday evening for city officials and construction foremen, just four months after cutting the ribbon on its new animal welfare campus in Croy Canyon.  And those who attended couldn’t praise it enough.

“Look at this!” said Hailey City Council member Martha Burke as she strolled across the patio pavers still being laid. “They pulled out all the stops.”

She wandered inside the store, checking out a beautiful display of china ware. The new building also has affordable pet-friendly employee housing upstairs, along with a studio apartment that lecturers can stay in while conducting workshops at Mountain Humane.

“This is the best thing that’s happened to Hailey since Bruce and Demi came to town,” she added. “It restores the vibrancy of this building, keeps Hailey looking like Hailey.”

Jan Main loves the airiness of the new Barkin’.

Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle praised Lyn and David H. Anderson for their vision to preserve the historic building that Basque sheepherder Julio Astoriquia and his wife Maria built as a Basque boarding house in 1934.

 “The city of Hailey is a very special place. We go back to 1882 when, at one point, Hailey was considered as the state capitol along with Lewiston and Boise. One of the ways to keep it special place is keeping historic charm,” he said.

He turned to the Andersons: “I cannot believe this could ever been restored in the way you have restored it. Way to go! Way to make Hailey special!”

Julio Astoriquia, who immigrated from the Basque region of Spain in 1913, invested the money he’d saved from herding sheep to buy two lots on Hailey’s Main Street during the height of the Depression. His boarding house boasted a dozen boarding rooms on the second floor, using hot water piped in from hot springs in Democrat Gulch.

The second floor will include a studio apartment for guests of Mountain Humane.

It was the longest operated Basque boarding house in Blaine County, until it was sold, eventually becoming the Hailey Hotel in 1980.

Lyn and David H. Anderson, who moved to Sun Valley from California after David retired from his law practice in California, purchased the property with the help of a small group of investors in 2018. David is into land conservation, serving on the board of the Wood River Land Trust. And Lyn has volunteered  at the Barkin’ Basement for four years.

“It had been on the market and we were afraid a developer would buy it and tear it down,” said Lyn. “Mountain Humane had been wondering how they could employ more staff given cost of housing. And we wanted to give the Barkin’ Basement more visibility.”

“This is a very special community, even from a resort viewpoint because it’s one of the last of the family-run resorts. We hope this will be a magnet for the community—it addresses the need for these types of shops since we don’t have Dollar Store in Hailey or King’s, anymore,” added David. “And it helps Mountain Humane with its need. “

Jo-Anne Dixon, the executive director of Mountain Humane, checks out the basement, which is already beginning to fill up.

The new energy-efficient building, rebuilt by Dennis Kavanagh with the help of Architect Tom Dabney, features an airy, well-lit store on the bottom floor—a big contrast with the dark windowless Barkin’ Basement that was a block to the north.

Workers used old photos to recreate the character of the old Rialto, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The store floor contains exposed brick from the original hotel, as well as original etched windows behind the counter. The etchings have been duplicated in the front windows, and the antique tin ceiling of the old boarding house has been replicated in the ceiling.

Workers tried to salvage the original oak floor but it was too cut up by the bar so they installed new wood flooring. They were able, however, to use the original oak floor upstairs.

Workers added two and a half inches to the front of the building, which had damaged by an earthquake years ago. If they had not done that, water would have come rushing in during Monday’s downpour, which dumped eight-tenths of an inch of rain on Hailey, said Michael Muir, project manager for Dennis Kavanagh Construction.

The new store features a themed corner currently furnished with a selection of items suitable for Fourth of July, including cowboy boots and moccasins, an Indian drum and flute, turquoise belts and red, white and blue plates.

That corner will be switched out throughout the year to showcase items for Back to School, Halloween, Christmas and other holidays.

A houseware corner features blenders, coffee makers and unique dishware. Two dressing rooms sit behind a selection of clothing.

And the southwest corner features a loading dock where bins of items can be pushed inside, sorted and then sent downstairs to the storage area via an elevator.

At large patio outside will offer a place for skis and other outdoor gear.

A second patio will offer a place for renters to sit with their dogs, who can amuse themselves on canine grass—artificial turf with gravel drainage underneath that can be hosed down.

The second floor boasts two 1-bedroom apartments and one 2-bedroom apartment, as well as a studio apartment for speakers who are conducting workshops at Mountain Humane. Each apartment contains a kitchen, living room and bathroom. There’s a washer and dryer in the hallway, and one parking space will be allotted each unit in the alley bordering the building.

Transom windows above the doors were salvaged from the original boarding rooms.

Work crews spent about five months working on the basement, which was nicknamed “the dungeon,” said Muir.

They drove a loader inside and dug out 30 dumpster loads of rock walls and other material that had filled the basement, making it unusable.

 “We even found a homemade septic system,” said Muir.

They then poured concrete and installed a fresh air system.

Steel columns extend from top to bottom, creating structural integrity. But the building was actually very sound, said Muir.

“They made this whole building without cutting a brick. The craftsmanship of the Basques who built this was top notch,” he added.

Jan Main, who presides over the Mountain Humane board, said she is ecstatic about how well lit the new store is.

“We hope it will be a gathering place for people with pets to shop,” she said.

The Barkin’ is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, said Brooke Bonner. Mountain Humane has 47 employees, she said, and contributed $5.4 million to the local economy in 2017 with the help of the Barkin’ Basement.


Mountain Humane’s Dogs Days of Summer on July 17 will be held on at the new Mountain Humane animal welfare campus in Croy Canyon on July 17.

It will feature a variety of auction lots, including a trip to Bali for eight, trips to Italy’s Cinque de Terra and Africa, and a private party at Silver Creek for 75.

“I’m as excited as can be because we’re having in our place this year with CKs catering,” said Jan Main, board president.

First up, though: Party for Paws, a benefit concert for Mountain Humane. It will take place Sunday, July 21, at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $50 and include two drink tickets per person.

Music will be provided by blues and soul singer Chris Pierce and food trucks will be on site.


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