The Corsons, years before, renovated the 1902 Index Tavern, transforming it into a coffee shop and Outdoor Adventure Center. Like the inn, for more than a century, the tavern was a gathering place and a source of employment to the Index community.
“Many locals have stories about getting their first jobs in the inn, or celebrating birthdays and anniversaries,” Kathy Corson says. “Now that we’re back in operation, new memories can be made, and this building can continue to serve the greater Index community.”
It’s a welcome revival in a town that lost several historic buildings. The Inn was sold to them by Loyal McMillan, granddaughter of the founder of Nordstrom’s department stores, John Nordstrom, a Swedish immigrant who made his department store seed money as a gold miner.
“Loyal had other offers on the building, but she really wanted it to go to someone committed to restoring it,” Blair Corson said. An earthquake caused shifting in part of the building in 1999, resulting in a portion of it being condemned. Not long afterward, the inn’s doors closed and weather and vandals took their toll.
“It was in really bad shape,” Kathy Corson said. The couple described the decade-long renovation process as intense. The rear event space which had been condemned had to be removed and then rebuilt. The partners lifted the building eight feet in the air where it sat for several weeks while a new foundation was established. They also installed a fire suppression system, in-floor radiant heating, new roof and siding, and an ADA lift.