The Inn

The Hitching Horse Inn had been, until late August of 2008, the longtime residence of Bonnie Gardner and family of Pierre.  The home had always been a single family home and had been well taken care of over the years by the handful of families who lived in the beautiful home on Euclid Avenue.  However, at the time the home was purchased, several structural issues had left the home in need of serious repair.  An unstable and sinking foundation had caused severe cracking of the walls and caved in the basement to the point that walls were allowing water to enter the basement at an alarming rate.

New property owner Ron Lutz of Pierre and business partner Jeremy Phelps knew they had their work cut out for them when embarking on this project.  So many issues needed to be corrected simutaneously that this project could very well have been a feature on an HGTV special!

The first repairs were made on the foundation.  Brush and sibling trees that had grown around the perimeter and been the cause of at least some of the damage were removed.  Then, working with only a rented backhoe and an operator, a twenty foot deep trench was dug around the perimeter of the home to inspect the foundation and to assess the damage.  In a period of a couple of days and a couple of sleepless nights, the foundation was inspected, underpinned and yards of concrete were poured in around the home to ensure no more sinking would occur.  Tar and sealer was also applied and a drain tile system and sump pump were installed around the house to make sure water would no longer be an issue.

Interior repairs then started at a whirlwind pace, and just about every area of the home was repaired or upgraded.  Walls and ceilings were repaired and replaced and tons of plaster and lath needed to be removed from the home.  The layout of the second story was redone, upgrading a level with 5 bedrooms and only 1 bathroom to a 4 bedroom, 4 bath inn.

All electrical as well as every inch of plumbing in the home was replaced to ensure safety and effeciency.  Once this was complete, all floors in the bathrooms (4 on the main level, 2 on the lower levels) were tiled.  The kitchen floors, countertops and several of the walls received a similar treatment.  All walls in the home were then sprayed with texture and painted.  Once this was complete, the majority of the hardwood floors which run throughout the home were sanded down and refinished.

The kitchen was then equipped with all commercial appliances and the Equestrian Barroom was constructed on the home’s main level.  At the same time, the basement was gutted and was redesigned as a beautiful one bedroom apartment on one end with a laundry and wine cellar on the other.

Terrible weather conditions forced most of the repairs to the exterior of the house to be pushed back to late spring and early summer.  This included reshingling the roof, removing the asphalt siding and painting.  The upper level porch was taken off and replaced and the lower level porch was refinished.  On March 17, 2009, the doors were opened and fingers were crossed.

The residents of Pierre were very encouraging and their kind words helped us to continue each and every day with the construction, and the Equestrian Barroom routinely had a group of customers waiting for us to open the doors at 5:30 PM for a drink on the porch!  For that, we are very grateful and welcome anyone who had not yet been to our establishment to stop by for a tour of the property.

The Owners

Ron Lutz and Jeremy Phelps, both of Pierre, have partnered to create the Hitching Horse Inn and Equestrian Barroom.  Ron Lutz is a registered civil engineer who works for Aaron Swan & Associates / SHP Engineering & Architecture.  His expertise as a bridge inspector has allowed him to travel to many parts of the country reviewing bridge reports and doing physical inspections for U.S. and Tribal governments.  He is perhaps more well known in the area for the numerous bars and restaurants that he has owned and operated.  Ron prides himself on creating an enjoyable environment for all of his guests and loves the interaction with people that the hospitality business provides.

Jeremy Phelps, originally of Nebraska, also works as a business manager for Aaron Swan & Associates / SHP Engineering & Architecture in Pierre.  His business background and several years studying and living in Switzerland bring a unique perspective to the Hitching Horse Inn.  Jeremy owns and operates the Equestrian Barroom and is usually found discussing wine and travel with our guests the evening.