The Lunds share their hours while organizing tours and answering people’s questions about the history of the house at 218 Winona St. SE, Chatfield. That’s the essence of running a B&B – the people – said Ruth Ann.
“The reason I like B&Bs is because of all the wonderful people we meet, from all walks of life,” said Ruth Ann. “It’s just so much fun.”
The unique architecture, built in the Shingle style from 1880-1900, is often noticed by guests, neighbors, and travelers, and pause to request a tour. Lunds welcomes anyone who asks.
Tradition refers to the house’s legacy as a “town house”. The house previously served as a residence, like Chatfield Lutheran Church, as a rental home, nursing home, and assisted living home. The companies simply stuck to history — until Bob’s parents, Marion and Shelby Lund, set out to preserve history.
“She (Marion) was just such a good hostess,” said Ruth Ann. “I’ve tried to bring home things from the era. Most of the things in the house are from that era, and if it’s not like the parlor furniture…that’s actually a replica but most of the furniture in the house is old, very old.”
The two loved antique shopping and planned to turn the house into a bed and breakfast one day. With pieces related to American history and more items that Marion enjoyed, the home bears a touch much like the original owner, Ellen Lovell. Mrs. Lovell built the house for her daughter Anna in 1896 with seven bedrooms, 73 windows, and 68 doors.
As the planned recipient of the house, Anna’s is a “premiere room,” as the Lunds described it, with a large bathroom, changing room, and fireplace. Mrs. Lovell’s room contains a large parlour, and her son Frink’s has three wardrobes. Of the four storeys, the front housed the family quarters and the rear servant’s quarters.
“We tried to stick to some of that original history by naming the rooms,” said Ruth Ann.
In a 125-year-old home, don’t expect to hear the word original, though the home features lamps, bathrooms, and woodwork from the 1890s. The
National Register of Historic Places
It lists Oakenwald Terrace architecture as “an unaltered example of the Shingle style.” as a “high style”,
Ornamentation and applied detailing are de-emphasized in favor of intricate shapes wrapped in cedar planks,” according to Wentworth, a Maryland design-build firm.
The house’s grand features were on display at Anna’s wedding—one day after the family moved into their home in February 1897. With a third-floor dance party, a four-piece orchestra, and trains chartered for the event, guests will likely also be amazed at the house’s buildability and indoor plumbing. .
“The house was really state of the art,” Ruth Ann described. “(It) had four en-suite bathrooms when plumbing didn’t exist in rural Minnesota at the time, and it was hooked up before Chatfield actually had electrical service. She knew that was coming.”
After 10 months of construction, the house fetched more than $20,000 when other homes, like the ranch house, can be built for $800, according to Lunds. Mrs. Lovell’s wonderful vision of the house stopped at no charge. I paid for the safes in every room, over the traditional ones, which drove up the taxes on the house. Bob said the taxes were based on the number of doors in the house.
Many of these walk-in closets changed into bathrooms when the Lunds opened their assisted living home, and made the transition easier into a bed and breakfast in 2003.
“They really did everything right when they made this house, and in the world we live in now everything seems to be based on lower Walmart prices and I can find this online for 10 cents cheaper on Amazon, and I don’t even have to drive to Rochester.” To do that,” Bob said. “Here they went above and beyond and did things probably very well. They were willing to spend money to get what was above that back then, even when the average things were much better than what we have now.”
Guests continue to enjoy these features, and learn the history of the rooms and furniture even if they’ve heard the story before or have stayed in the same room each visit.
“A lot of times guests will find their way to a room that looks great to them,” said Bob. Then they come back and that becomes their room.
House Glitter and Sparkle for Christmas will be on from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on December 10 and 11. For their open house each year, which has become virtual in the pandemic, the Lunds deck every room at Christmas with cheer. As a “really talented” Christmas ornament designer, Shelby Lund shared Bachmann’s decorations and flower arrangements before his death in 1999.
“It’s amazing how many people we get every year to say, ‘We’ve lived in Chatfield all our lives and always wondered what the interior was like,'” said Pope. “It’s kind of like a city house, too.”
The city also celebrates the history around the house with neighbors such as the Haven family, who were bankers in the city after Jason C. Easton, who owned the land where Oakenwald Terrace, the Haven house, and the Lucian Johnson house were built. The
Also known as The Oaks, it is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
But in Haven’s home, it’s the exterior stone wall that gets the most attention. George Haven Jr., who began building the stone wall in the 1920s with rocks from Chatfield and around the world, was also a childhood friend of Frink’s. By the time Bob met him at the age of 85, Haven was blind but still knew the path of his stone wall and the stories of its construction over the course of 30 years.
The Haven family recently gifted the city stone wall, which will add a path to the wall and walkways around it.
“We talk about the history of Chatfield and the neighborhood and the Wall with all of our guests, and this is probably the coolest tourist attraction in Southeast Minnesota,” said Bob. “It’s something our guests have been able to experience for the past 20 years, and it was fun for me to tell the story of George, blind George building this crazy wall with all these cool rocks in it.”
These stories share Lunds’ value in preserving history because “This is Oakenwald. This is us,” Lunds said. “This is what we do.”
What: Christmas open house
When: From 1 pm to 6 pm on December 10 and 11
Where: Oakenwald Terrace, 218 Winona St., Chatfield
Cost: It is proposed to donate $5 per person to the American Heart Association