In 2008, Jack Barnes, owner of the Prospector Casino, had a vision to create a new casino, bar, and restaurant that would look and feel like a prospector’s cabin, yet have all the modern-day luxuries and amenities .

Our firm had free-range to come up with the overall design not only for the building but the entire corner lot as well. We designed and directed the construction of everything from the old, rough-cut cedar siding to the large custom-made wood bar, bar stools, the 2-1/2-inch thick fir table tops and chairs, along with the outside deck railing made from hand-hewn debarked logs. The specialized Cor-Ten roofing finished the project lending an old, rustic effect of the casino and restaurant. In addition to the full interior and exterior of the building, we also designed the parking area and the landscaping.

One of the specialty features of the Prospector was the dual-line cooking kitchen with top-of-the-line fixtures. This was a game-changer, allowing them to serve large in-house groups and cater for large functions simultaneously. The floor of the kitchen featured special, 1/4-inch thick, non-skid rubber.

In 2011, Montana Natives Bob Powell and Nick Alonzo, purchased the casino and restaurant, and hired our firm to lead the re-design and construction to convert it into The Montana Club; now the fifth in a chain of Montana-based restaurants.

We re-designed the entire interior; opening up the dining room around the fireplace, creating a beautiful solid wood bar, and adding a high-tech 30-person conference room. In addition, we re-designed the kitchen to accommodate their “everything is made fresh” brand. We also created a more customer-friendly layout of the Club Casino.

Both clients indicated that Nelson Architects had exceeded their expectations; in terms of design ideas, solutions, and a stellar construction team.

Cost: $2,300,000

Size: 9,700 SF

Unique: The woodsy, cabin-feel complete with stone and water features is more representative of Western Montana. However, it has become an iconic Great Falls destination. The railings were created from locally sourced knarly branches and barked to create the live-wood rail look.


The Prospector Casino – Jack Barnes (2008) / The Montana Club – Food & Fun – Nick Alonzo & Bob Powell (2012)

What we did

Architectural Design / Interior Design / Construction Administration

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