01.06.17

Daines Honors Montanan of the Week: John and Stephanie Hekkel of Anaconda

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today recognized John and Stephanie Hekkel of Anaconda in celebration of the rebuilding of Club Moderne. 

AnacondaMToftheWeek 

Daines’ recognition in the Congressional Record is available here. 

Through his “Montanan of the Week” initiative, Daines each week will highlight a Montanan by submitting a statement of recognition in the official Congressional Record, the document that reflects the official proceedings of Congress. 

Daines welcomes anyone to nominate fellow Montanans for Daines’ “Montanan of the Week” program by calling Daines’ office at 202-224-2651 or by filling out the contact form on Daines’ website: http://www.daines.senate.gov/connect/email-steve

The following is the statement submitted to the Congressional Record:

MONTANAN OF THE WEEK 

Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, today I have the honor of recognizing John and Stephanie Hekkel of Anaconda in celebration of the rebuilding of Club Moderne.

The bar had been considered an area landmark since its founding in 1937 and was truly a sight to behold. With its rounded front facade and Carrara glass panels, it reflected the Art Deco style of the time of its founding. It was designed by Bozeman-based architect Fred Willson and built by local carpenters and craftspeople under the direction of the first owner John “Skinny” Francisco.

Until recently, the Club Moderne had changed very little since its opening day and in 1986, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. 

In 1997, the Francisco family sold the bar to a close friend, long-time bartender, and Anaconda native John Hekkel who continued its legacy as a flagship watering hole, especially for area law enforcement and firefighters, while maintaining its retro atmosphere.

A recent Yelp review described taking a step inside “like walking inside a time capsule!”

Last April, it also won the top award in The Big Tap: 2016 Historic Bars Tournament Championship, an online contest sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Unfortunately, Club Moderne was destroyed in a fire in October, a tragic loss to the Anaconda community. 

The night the fire happened, I understand John Hekkel stayed at the bar until 4:00 in the morning, and after the fire was extinguished, grabbed a shovel and physically helped with the cleanup. 

Just this week, I was thrilled to hear the Hekkels announce plans to rebuild the bar and restore this historic establishment. 

This is a true Montana story. Montanans pull themselves up by their bootstraps, even in times of hardship or loss. 

I invite fellow Montanans to stop by to try whatever’s on tap or a Moscow Mule, which is an Anaconda specialty. 

The Hekkels, through Club Moderne, have welcomed those just passing through our state and native Montanans alike for generations. As small business owners, they have brought their community together. I wish them all my best as they restore Club Moderne and renew it as a bright spot in the Anaconda community. I look forward to visiting with John and Stephanie there when they reopen.

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