Michigan Bed and Breakfast














Although you may have simply been looking a Michigan accommodation, when you stay at the Grand Victorian you get much, much more. Our historic inn exudes Victorian charm and is a Bed and Breakfast with an incredible history!

Richardi Factory 1885

The Richardi House circa 1915

In 1893, a young man by the name of Henry Richardi began construction of what is now recognized by experts as one of the most perfect examples of Queen Anne Victorian Architecture.  A successful business man and owner of the Richardi & Bechtold Woodenware Factory of Bellaire, Henry put his heart and soul into the home that was intended for his German bride-to-be.  But, for reasons now lost to rumor, they never married.   Broken-hearted, Henry left the area, leaving his new home for future owners to enjoy.  Since Henry left the home, the “1895 Richardi House” has been blessed with owners who have immaculately maintained the home in its original form.  In 1978,the home's authenticity was acknowledged through its addition to the U. S. Department of the Interior's National Register of Historic Places.  The general public has been able to access the home since 1989, when it became the "Richardi House Bed and Breakfast Inn".  Then new owners performed a major renovation beginning in 1991 renaming the home "Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast Inn". Now, honored guests have an opportunity to spend time in this unique home and absorb the expert craftsmanship that Henry originally had intended for his young bride.

The U.S. history of the Richardi family begins in 1859 when Henry's father, Robert Richardi, brought his young bride Louise to the U.S. from Germany.  Robert spent a year serving in Pennsylvania's 177th Infantry.  Discharged in 1862, he moved to Ohio and then to Missouri where he established a clothes pin making factory.  Having patented several wood designs and tools, he was already developing quite a reputation and sizable revenue.

Around 1881 Robert partnered with Fred Bechtold and moved to Bellaire to purchase property from the local railroad and build a large woodenware factory.   The venture became very successful, employing 145 people and pumping $80,000 per year into the local economy - a lot of money in those days!

Richardi Factory 1885
Richardi & Bechtold Factory circa 1885

The Richardi products became renowned and the owners were invited to display their products at the Chicago Columbian Exposition World's Fair in 1893, where their Household Utensil products were singled out as best in the world, taking a first place award!

   

Product Display Columbian Exposition 1893 award
Woodenware Product Display World's Fair Award

Around 1893, the factory completely burned to the ground for a second time, only this fire claimed Robert's youngest son, Charlie.  Charlie had been in the factory trying to salvage equipment when he died in a boiler explosion.  At this point, a disgruntled Robert left the United States and turned his sizable Bellaire holdings over to his eldest son, Henry.  Being single and in his mid twenties, Henry hoped to settle down in marriage with a young woman from Germany whom he had met a couple of years prior when she visited the area.  In attempts to woo her to undeveloped Bellaire, he promised to build her a most beautiful house.  His suspicions on her intentions should have been aroused when she requested he build the house first, before committing to him.  Working on what was then the cutting edge, Henry installed indoor plumbing, central gravity heat and electric lights.  (Electricity in 1895??  You see, he had built a hydroelectric plant to power lights in his wood factory located right next door.  By simply running wires to the home, he was able to  boast the county's first 'electrified' home, albeit, using Edison's DC format.)

Regarding his marriage plans, it's not exactly known what went awry, but the two never married.  Heartbroken, Henry decided it best to leave the area, boarding up the house and not so much as living in it himself.

Henry Richardi 1920

Henry and Niece 1910
Henry Richardi around 1920  Henry with his niece by porch 1910

Soon afterward, the home was occupied by a series of very respectful men and women, remaining a private residence until 1989 when it was converted into a B&B aptly named the "Richardi House Bed and Breakfast".  Since then, several owners have painstakingly cared for the immaculate hand-carved woodwork, original chandeliers, delightful fretwork, custom fireplaces, and many huge double-hung single-pane windows.  The clap-boarded  home's outside, with massive ornate porches and cupola, has been meticulously restored and painted in period colors.      

Since popularized as a B&B, the Grand Victorian has received numerous esteemed recognitions, featured on calendars, books, magazine covers, and as a marketing icon for national advertising promotions (please see the recognitions page).

Visitors and guests to the Grand Victorian receive detailed tours and have opportunity to peruse the historic photo albums that highlight the rich heritage of the area and the home.


 




The Grand Victorian B&B | 402 N Bridge St | Bellaire MI 49615 | Toll free: 877 438-6111
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