Restored B&B

The John Kaiser house has been overlooking Harmar and the Oho River from Bellevue Street since its completion in 1902.

Current owner Judy Grize, who owns the house with her husband, Doug, said the house has been a bed and breakfast for many years.

“We turned it into a bed and breakfast 14 years ago when we bought it,” she said.

Before the house could be a bed and breakfast it underwent a full restoration.

“When you renovate something, you make it look the way it needs to look,” she said. “When you restore something, you bring it back to the way it originally was. We have restored the house.”

Grize said many hours have been spent working tirelessly to make the house look like it originally did.

“We had to do a lot of mechanical things,” she said. “We had to rewire the house, replumb it, fix the roof…We refinished the floors, we had faucets with no water coming out, we had gas leaks in the basement. There was a gas stove in the kitchen I wanted to restore but the gas company said to ‘get it out before it blows the house up.’ We had bats and birds in the house…The list goes on. We’ve restored, restored, restored, restored and there are things that constantly have to be done.”

The original blueprints of the home are in a secret room upstairs, said Grize.

She said the history of the house and its first owner is important for Marietta.

“He made his money in gas and oil,” she said. “He leased drilling equipment to people who were looking to find oil on their property. He was very forward thinking.”

Grize said Kaiser was so forward thinking that his house had something unheard of for the times.

“In 1901, (while the house was under construction) he put a bathroom in with running water,” she said. “There was running water in the bathrooms and kitchen…Harmar Hill (as a whole) didn’t get running water until around the 1930s.”

The maid’s room has been turned into a second bathroom, but the first bathroom still exists, with the original tub, Indiana marble sink and toilet tissue holder still present.

Grize said Kaiser also spent time shining shoes in front of the banks downtown, and also started the Marietta Register newspaper and was instrumental in getting the trolley system set up in town.

The house cost $6,050 to build at the time.

Local historian Kurt Ludwig said Kaiser had work done in the house by two German brothers.

“(Charles and Fred Brickwede) had learned to work with wood at Stevens Organ Factory,” Ludwig said. “In the 1880s, they dropped out of high school to support their mother and younger siblings. They made the piano casings that housed the organ work.”

Grize said they also worked for the Marietta Mantle Company and worked to create not just the mantles on the fireplaces, but other wood work as well, even the dining room table and chairs.

“They did all the wood work in the house,” she said.

Marietta Councilman Harley Noland, who lives in the neighborhood, said there is a unique feature to the house.

“One feature that I find very unique (about the house) is very thick glass window panes with patterns cut,” he said. “These are really thick panes that look like Victorian glassware. It almost makes a prismatic effect of colors.”

There’s even a former ballroom upstairs, where the Grizes reside.

“It gives our guests privacy and gives us some privacy,” she said. “This is an amazing space to have.”

The widow’s walk has also been restored.

“It’s the only (original) widow’s walk in the neighborhood,” Grize said. “None of the neighbors knew (there was one).”

Grize said the home is charming and that many people book a room just to sit on the porch and enjoy the view.

“We’ve been told it has the most spectacular view of anyplace in Ohio,” she said. “There’s just so much charm to this house. John Kaiser built a nice house and he’s let (us) live in it for a while…I think we’re meant to be in this house.”