Those that stay with us frequently ask us about Bellinger Rose Bed & Breakfast, and its history. The following is a summary of its history and how we came to call it our home.Built in 1865, Bellinger Rose was the original home to Jacob Bellinger, whose father, Christopher, built it as a wedding gift to his son. Jacob Bellinger and his wife had two children and employed one servant. Details about the Bellinger’s are few, but they, along with other Bellinger families owned a substantial amount of property on the north side of Herkimer. The surrounding streets, such as Caroline, Margaret, Marion and Henry were named after Bellinger descendents in the early 1920’s.
In 1902 the home was sold to John Steele for $1. Over the course of ten to twenty years the property was subdivided along its borders and the homes that currently line N. Caroline St were built.
In 1917 a 2 story section of the home was detached and then moved adjacent to the home, which is currently 613 W. German St. Reasons for doing so may have been an extended family situation, or perhaps servant’s quarters.
The O”Donnell family purchased the home in 1912 and raised ten children in the home. Mr O’Donnell was a railroad engineer. Four of the original ten O’Donnell children resided here into old age. The home was sold in 1979. Later generations lovingly refer to Bellinger Rose as “611”, where lasting memories of the home and the extended family that lived and visited here for so long were formed.
In 1979, the Rev. Leonard Humbert, a Methodist minister and his family purchased the home and resided here until 1986. The home was maintained as it had been by the O’Donnell family.
In 1986 the home was purchased by Paul Mielcarski, an electrical engineer and his wife Barbara, a registered nurse who together made major improvements to the home. The home underwent decorating, plumbing, wiring, bathroom and kitchen renovations. Between 1989 and 1993 the residence was operated successfully as Bellinger Woods Bed & Breakfast, despite initial village objections and concerns. The Mielcarskis then relocated to N. Carolina and the home was home to the Mielcarski’s son Eric and his wife until 1995.
In July 1995, we purchased Bellinger Woods, not as a Bed & Breakfast, but as our family home. Leon was employed as a school counselor in Ilion and I was an RN working at BlueCross BlueShield. At the time our three children were either entering college, high school or attending elementary school. In fact, just a year prior we had purchased a small parcel in the country in Mohawk, with the desire to build a modern cedar home with a great room and lots of windows. We were living on Church St, around the block and walked by from time to time. Curious about the large gray house, obscured by evergreens, and surrounded by a pressure treated wooden fence, and rumored to be a bed and breakfast, (whatever that was), we decided to look at the property. As we stepped inside the front door, we fell in love with the home and its unique charm. We envisioned our oldest daughter someday walking down its winding staircase in her wedding gown, and soon know that life in the country could never compare to the charm on German St. Our lives here began on a memorable note, with the boiler in the basement literally exploding at the end of November 1995. We were without heat for 3 weeks, and the upstairs bathroom was 32 degrees.
In 1995 we had no knowledge of what a Bed & Breakfastwas, let alone ever stayed in one. We visited other B&Bs and talked extensively with other Bed & Breakfast owners. For the next five years we became Victorian fanatics, and decorated our home with period furnishings, suitable for a Bed & Breakfast. We made extensive improvements to the exterior of the home, with new colors, landscaping, and stone patio, complete with fountains, a pond and waterfalls. Our oldest daughter Michelle indeed walked down the grand staircase in her wedding gown.
As our older children left for college, we pursued the option of turning the home into a Bed & Breakfast someday. In the meantime, my nursing career with hospitals and insurance companies was in need of a drastic change. I decided to pursue a totally new career as a massage therapist, by attending evening classes and obtaining my license after 14 months on the road back and forth to Syracuse. My thought was to someday be able to quit my day job and do Bed & Breakfast and massage fulltime. Where else could one come to a Bed & Breakfast and also receive a massage after dinner?
In December 1999, we officially opened our doors as Bellinger Rose Bed & Breakfast, named after the original owners, the Bellingers, and Rose, because of the rose theme thoughout the house. We began with 2 rooms, with private baths, and in 2004 we expanded to 3 rooms with private baths. In 2005 we again expanded to 4 rooms with private baths and added fireplaces and jacuzzi tubs. Over the years we have found innkeeping to be rewarding and extremely interesting, playing host to people from all over the world.