The Finlen Hotel stands on the site of the old McDermott Hotel. The McDermott, built in 1889, was known as one of the grandest hotels in the Northwest. James T. Finlen bought the McDermott in 1902 and renamed it the Finlen Hotel. James, however, envisioned an even grander hotel located on Broadway Street in Butte, Montana. James had the hotel closed and razed in 1923. James hired the architectural firm Shanley and Baker to design his new hotel.
Shanley and Baker designed the Finlen Hotel after the Hotel Astor in New York City. The plans called for a nine-story French Second Empire building with a copper shingled roof. A local contractor, Albert Broadland, broke ground on the new building in the fall of 1923 and completed construction on New Year’s Day, 1924. After spending $750,000 for its construction, James saw his vision become reality. The Finlen officially opened its doors in February 1924.
A 1924 newspaper article about the newly completed Finlen stated that a “Homelike Atmosphere Will Be Ideal of Management”. The article went on to report on the qualifications of the staff and management. Maurice Weiss, the manager of the Placer Hotel in Helena, had been hired as Manager. Jack Harris, formerly of the Rainbow in Great Falls was brought in “to make dining a popular diversion”. To try and retain the reputation of the McDermott, many of the staff members were given jobs in the Finlen.
The McDermott Hotel had been host to many notables including Marcus Daly, William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, and the noted western artist Charles Russell. The Finlen Hotel continued the tradition of playing host to the famous as they came to Butte. Some of the recent notables who chose to stay at the Finlen include Charles Lindberg, Mrs. Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, then Senator John F. Kennedy, and then Vice-President Richard Nixon.
In 1948 the Hotel Finlen advertised 200 attractive rooms for $2.50, as well as Montana’s Most Distinctive Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge. Twenty years later, the hotel advertised 185 rooms and apartments, the Cavalier Lounge, the Dining Room, and Coffee Shop.
The Taras Family purchased the Finlen in 1979 and still own and operate it today. Since then a number of significant improvements have been completed, such as; Restoration of the Hotel Lobby, Treasure State Ballroom, Copper Bowl Ballroom, and Cavalier Lounge. Other notable improvements have been made to the hotel rooms, heating plant, elevators, plumbing, and electrical. All of the visitors and guests can now experience the grandeur that is the Finlen.