Built by David and Emily Lilienfeld in 1878, the Kalamazoo House is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture with
Italianate and Eastlake influences.

 

The stunning pewter and crystal chandelier that graces the breakfast room at the Kalamazoo House.

The stunning pewter and crystal chandelier that graces the breakfast room at the Kalamazoo House.

Built by David and Emily Lilienfeld in 1878, the home that is now the Kalamazoo House Bed & Breakfast is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture with Italianate and Eastlake influences. We know the importance of providing guests with the essentials of modern life—like high-speed WiFi, flat-panel TVs, and expanded cable—but we are also proud to act as stewards of history by carefully maintaining the beauty and elegance of this stunning historic residence, while making it a place where our guests can feel at home.

When the house was painstakingly restored and turned into an inn in the 1980s, great care was taken by former owners Lou and Annette Conti to bring back the elegance and attention to detail that would have been original to the home. They brought in talented artisans to paint stunning stenciling, apply incredible fauxgraining to wood, and to install historic wall treatments including Lincrusta embossed wallcovering, and Bradbury & Bradbury papers. These details—along with the home's original woodwork and hardware, 13-foot ceilings, and the stunning crystal chandelier in the Breakfast Room—provide a real sense of history and elegance for our guests.

1908 Postcard view of North Burdick Street, in Kalamazoo

1908 Postcard view of North Burdick Street, in Kalamazoo

Before It Was an Inn

The impressive Queen Anne Victorian at 447 W. South Street is a popular downtown bed and breakfast inn, now operated by Stephen Gibson and Stephanie Nelson-Gibson, who in 2014 began a transition from Terry and Laurel Parrott. Over the previous eight years, the Parrots lovingly shepherded the inn to its mature status as a highly-regarded bed and breakfast, and the premier lodging alternative to the traditional luxury hotel in downtown Kalamazoo.

The Parrotts often commented that the story of the house could partly be told by way the long list of people who have visited and cared for it over the years, and indeed their care alone welcomed visitors to the house from 49 U.S. states, and more than 25 foreign countries—just since they moved to Kalamazoo to purchase the inn in the summer of 2007. 

1908 postcard photo of the Academy Street neighborhood, just southwest of the South Street National Historic District.

1908 postcard photo of the Academy Street neighborhood, just southwest of the South Street National Historic District.

During its first half century, the Kalamazoo House welcomed the friends and acquaintances of a series of families who resided in the beautiful home near lovely Bronson Park (where incidentally a young Abraham Lincoln spoke a mere 22 years before the house was constructed). The Kalamazoo House was built in 1878 for the family of David Lilienfeld, a wealthy German immigrant who with his brother William owned the Lilienfeld Brothers Cigar Company, the largest company of a thriving industry of cigar makers in Kalamazoo prior to 1900. Mr. Lilienfeld also imported beer and whiskey, and operated an upscale downtown drinking establishment called The Brunswick. For the second 50 years of the home's life, beginning in 1932, visitors to the house were attending funerals of Kalamazoo residents as the house served the community under the caring oversight of the Donovan family, as the Donovan Funeral Home (later Donovan-Betzler).

When the building was slated for destruction in 1985, to make room for a proposed parking facility, it was saved by prominent local restorers and turned into a hotel named "The Kalamazoo House"after the city's impressive first hotel from a century before. With the exception of a few years when it sat idle, the inn has welcomed travelers to Kalamazoo ever since, and long-time Kalamazoo residents will remember dining at Lilie's Restaurant at the Kalamazoo House at the beginning of this millennium.

House Specifics

Built – 1878
Guest Rooms – 10
Sq. Ft. – 8,700
Rooms – 29
Bathrooms – 13
Porches – 2
President in 1847
Rutherford B. Hayes
States in the U.S.
  
38

ACTIVITIES

Golf
Massages
Farmers Market
Indoor Rock Climbing
Nature Center/Trails
Winery Tours
Breweries
Farmers Market
Skiing
Theaters/Concerts
Professional Hockey
Professional Baseball
Kayaking/Canoeing
Shopping
Nightlife
Dining

AMENITIES

Delicious Breakfast
Free Wi-Fi
Parking
Luxury Linens
Warm, Silky Robes
Room Temp. Controls
Free Wi-Fi
Cookies & Milk