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!
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
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
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.
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
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
had intended for his young bride.
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
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 & 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!
|Woodenware Product Display
||World's Fair Award
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 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
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.
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).
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.