The Sentinel Pine is one of the last remaining grand estates of the “old west.” It boasts a long and rich history, dating back to its purchase by the current owner’s family in 1944.
JL McLaughlin of Great Falls was one of the West’s most prominent general contractors between 1925 and 1960. He named this spectacular Swan Lake property for its landmark Ponderosa pine, believed to be one of the oldest in the country, which overlooks the lake. For more than 70 years, McLaughlin and his descendants have continuously used the property as a summer home. Its capacious and comfortable accommodations have made it a gathering place for both business associates and personal friends, hosting many major renowned politicians, industrialists, military figures, artists, educators, and even sports figures. In 2015 the Montana Board of Tourism used the Sentinel Pine, with its majestic vistas, for a photography shoot.
McLaughlin was perhaps best known as one of the Primary Contractors for the famous Going-To-The-Sun Highway in Glacier Park. He also built numerous dams throughout the West including the Hungry Horse and Libby dams. Other construction projects included several hundred miles of the Trans-Canadian and Alaskan Highways and partial construction of several airports, such as Boeing Field and Sea-Tac in Seattle. Additionally, he was involved in the manufacture of military tanks and armored vehicles for the federal government. McLaughlin was active in civic affairs in Great Falls and the state of Montana. As a philanthropist he contributed significantly to numerous colleges and hospitals and was a major benefactor of Charles M. Russell Museum in Great Falls. The McLaughlin Research Institute, a major independent US biotechnology laboratory, still bears his name.
As his business interests and networks grew, McLaughlin used the property’s spacious and comfortable accommodations to host numerous prominent individuals, many of them on an annually recurring basis. Among politicians, one regular guest for two decades was Burton K. Wheeler, perhaps Montana’s most famous senator. Mike Mansfield, who served for 34 years in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate before becoming US Ambassador to Japan, was also a guest. John Hoeven, former Governor and current U.S. Senator from North Dakota, frequented the property in his youth. Business partners and associates included the heads of Kaiser – Permanente, Genstar, and other co-venture partners with Mr. McLaughlin. Reginald Jennings, one of Calgary’s most prominent business leaders and owner of the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League visited annually for many years. Cornelius Kelley, who made the Anaconda Copper Company the third largest corporation in the world, regularly dropped in by boat, from next-door Kootenai Lodge, which is now registered as a federal national historical site. Because of McLaughlin’s involvement in the defense industry, generals and other military figures were also guests. Among them was General Charles Sweeney, the only man who flew on both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing missions in 1945.
Not all of the visitors have been business associates. Sentinel Pine has also hosted several renowned western artists who have found inspiration from its mountain vistas. These have included Nicholas de Grandmaison of Canada, Branson Stevenson of Great Falls, Elmer Sprunger of nearby Bigfork, and more recently, well-known bronze sculptor Eric Thorsen. Others who have enjoyed the estate’s hospitality include NHL Hall of Fame hockey player Red Dutton, bishops and cardinals of the Catholic Church, and Prof. Dudley Herschbeck, a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry. Additionally, Harry Lewis, former Dean of Harvard College and chair of its computer science department, has been a partial owner of Sentinel Pine where he has summered every year for more than half a century, often accompanied by other leaders of Harvard College.
The Sentinel Pine is a grand legacy estate set on 30 acres with 2100 feet of Swan Lake frontage. This timeless and one-of-a-kind property, with a rich history and owned by one family for 72 years, now presents a once- in-a- lifetime ownership opportunity. Its manicured lawns feature 4 separate homes and 3 cabins. The property can comfortably accommodate 20 people. The central Main Lodge features a stunning old-world living room with a Montana rock fireplace. Its spacious dining room and wraparound cocktail area feature great mountain and lake vistas. Its large, covered, three-slip dock and beach create an unsurpassed watersport heaven. With a tennis court, ball field, and more you have the perfect place to build lifelong family memories for generations to come!This unique property can be purchased as a single 30 acre estate or it can be separated into a 21 acre and a 9 acre parcel. The 21 acre parcel would include the historic log residences, guest cabins, boat dock, beach area, tennis court, caretakers home and maintenance buildings. The 9 acre parcel would include the more contemporary “Point House” along with a very private entry and possible additional building site. This unique parcel has apx. 700 feet of Swan Lake frontage.
14833 Sunburst Dr , Bigfork, MT – Exclusively offered by Patrick Hanes, Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty.