Although you may have simply been looking for Michigan accommodations, when you stay at the Grand Victorian you get much, much more. Our historic inn exudes Victorian charm and is a bed and breakfast you won't soon forget.
In 1890, 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" in 1989. Then new owners performed a major renovation beginning in 1991, and the B&B was renamed the "Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast Inn", and so it remains today. 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 Robert Richardi brought his young family into the U.S. from Germany. Married and with one son, he spent ten years in Pennsylvania serving in the 177th Pennsylvania Infantry. Discharged in 1862, he moved to Ohio and then to Missouri. Having patented several wood products, he was already developing a reputation and quite sizable revenue.
In 1881, Robert partnered with Fred W Bechtold, a local Financier located in Bellaire, MI, to build a large woodenware factory, complete with a power generating dam on property purchased from the Railroad. The venture was very successful, employing 145 people and pumping revenues of $80,000 per year into the local economy.
In 1890, the factory completely burned to the ground for a second time, only this fire claimed his youngest son, Charlie. Charlie had been in the factory trying to salvage equipment when a boiler explosion killed him. At this point, a disgruntled Robert 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 fallen in love with a couple of years prior when she visited the area. In attempts to woo her to undeveloped Bellaire, he promised he would build her a most beautiful mansion. His suspicions on her intentions should have been aroused when she requested he build the 'mansion' first, before she would commit to him. Working on what was then the cutting edge, Henry had indoor plumbing, central gravity heat and electric lights installed. (Electricity in 1895?? You see, he had built a hydroelectric plant to power machinery 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.
Soon afterward, the home was occupied by a series of professional men and remained a private residence until 1989 when it was converted into a wonderful B&B aptly named the "Richardi House Bed and Breakfast". Since then, several B&B owners have painstakingly cared for the immaculate hand-carved woodwork, original overhead chandeliers, delightful fretwork, custom fireplaces, and 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 becoming a popular B&B, the Grand Victorian has received numerous esteemed recognitions, featured on calendars, books, magazine covers, and a marketing icon for several national advertising promotions (please refer to 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 history that is so well preserved.