NEW TOWN Van Hook is well on its way to having a more visible identity. A travel center, motel, housing area and combination business office/fishing lodge are in various stages of construction and planning. All will carry the Van Hook banner.
The Van Hook Travel Center and Territorial Inn are new businesses nearing completion close to the intersection of North Dakota highways 8 and 23, immediately to the west of the well-known Scenic 23 supper club.
"We're very close to opening a motel that's very needed," said Bob Stenhouse, developer. "We'll have 44 rooms, complimentary breakfast each morning. We've already booked rooms for fishing tournaments and weddings."
The Van Hook Travel Center is expected to open early this summer. It is located near the intersection of North Dakota highways 23 and 8, about six miles east of New Town.
Stenhouse anticipated the Territorial Inn opening in less than two months. The decor will include a pictorial history of the old Van Hook townsite that has long been submerged beneath Lake Sakakawea.
"Our manager partner has done some research, spent some time in the archives," said Stenhouse. "There will be pictures of the Van Hook townsite displayed in the Territorial Inn. It'll be a re-adventures of what once was."
The Van Hook name will be front and center on the new Van Hook Travel Center adjacent to the Territorial Inn. According to Stenhouse, construction on the travel center is slightly behind the motel project but an early summer opening is planned.
"We'll carry that Van Hook theme with the travel center," emphasized Stenhouse. "The Van Hook theme will set it apart from New Town, which I think is good. The revitalizing of Van Hook is important. New Town stands alone to the west."
The distance from the new Van Hook development to New Town is about six miles. The travel center will feature gasoline and diesel pumps along with a full-service convenience store. With the increased traffic in the region due to the Bakken oil field, Stenhouse says the time was right to proceed on the project.
"There is such a huge count of vehicles on that road. The state estimates 8,000 to 10,000 a day at the corner of 23 and 8. We're going to try and capture some of that business," said Stenhouse.
In addition to fuel and ample parking, the Van Hook Travel Center will offer a sit-down food service area, a trucker's lounge, washers and dryers and an area behind the center where large semi's can park and have access to plug-ins during the winter.
"It'll be most very fresh deli-type fast food," explained Stenhouse. "All of it will be made on site on a daily basis. Bait and tackle will be offered too. Fishing is a pretty important resource there."
A few miles to the south of the new motel and travel center is the Van Hook Recreation Area. It contains several homes. During the summer months it is one of the busiest places on all of Lake Sakakawea.
Van Hook township has approved the building of housing in the area of the new travel center. Three different builders are said to be negotiating for the construction of as many as 85 homes immediately north of the travel center and motel.
"The engineers have laid it out. It's up above the travel center and has beautiful views of the lake," said Stenhouse.
Another building project yet to get under way is what Stenhouse described as an office and fishing lodge. That project would be constructed on the west side of N.D. Highway 8, just north of its junction with N.D. Highway 23. It would consist of a small lodge, a few rental cabins and an undetermined number of RV sites.
"According to the DOT it's one of the highest profile corners in the Bakken," remarked Stenhouse. "That's why we're there."