Henry Richardi came to the Bellaire area in 1881 when his family moved there from Missouri. His father Robert founded a wooden utensil company called Richardi & Bechtold, which years later became the Woodenware Company. Henry took over the company in 1895; he was in a position to build himself a lavish house, thanks to his financial success and the craftsmanship of his employees. This house was constructed at 402 N. Bridge Street.

But the mansion was not intended just for himself. His main purpose of the extravagant home was to impress a young German lady who he wanted to marry. He figured the house would coax her into coming to live in Bellaire. She insisted the house should be built first before she would agree to anything. Henry went all out, even hooking up electricity, which was unheard of in 1895. But this girl did not desire, or have any intention, to marry Henry and she ended up getting married to another man. Heartbroken, Henry continued to work; but in 1905, the last in a string of fires completely ravaged the company. It was never rebuilt, and the company ceased to exist.

Henry never moved into his expensive mansion and he ended up moving to California in 1925. After sitting empty for years, several owners came and went until it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It became the "Richardi House Bed and Breakfast" in 1989 and was re-named the "Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast" in 1991.

So what about the hauntings?

Some feel that after Henry died, his spirit came back to finally live in the house, making his appearance known by strange, unexplained lights appearing in the cupola. He now keeps unseen company with customers of the Bed & Breakfast, and makes sure his house is well-maintained. Who knows...maybe the spirit of the woman who jilted him changed her mind and accompanies him?

 

Stay a night for yourself sometime...

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