Delays to ‘Guardian of the Gulch’ fire tower repair frustrate heritage council

Stalled restoration work on the Guardian of the Gulch fire tower in downtown Helena has sparked frustration among members of the city/county Heritage Preservation and Tourism Council, who spoke recently to the city commission about the wooden structure which has served as a symbol of loyalty and vigilance for 150 years.

Historic timber structure specialists survey the Helena Fire Tower in this July 2022 file photo. 

THOM BRIDGE, Independent Record

Doug Smith, Helena’s director of parks, recreation and open lands, told city commissioners Wednesday the contractor, who city officials identified as Porter and Associates of Vermont, has had issues with the city’s stock contract and they were still in discussions.

“We’re waiting for a response from the contractor at this time,” he said.

Three members of the heritage council — created by the Helena City Commission and Lewis and Clark County commissioners in 2012 to protect and promote the area’s history — told the commission at the end of the 2 1/2-hour meeting they were concerned about the slow pace of progress on the repairs.

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