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Lakeside Heritage Trail
14. Richards House
317 Maple Avenue
Richards Hotel circa 1950
Same Time Next Year 2022
Nathaniel Byington erected a one-story dwelling on the SE corner of Maple Ave. and W. 3rd St. in 1880, and with assistance of his wife, Louisa, operated it as the Byington Boarding House for five years. In 1885, it was purchased by Rev. Jesse and Ella Richards and the name changed to the Richards House. They expanded by adding 2nd and 3rd stories on the original Byington house and purchasing additional cottages to the south on Maple. The cottages were connected and large porches added. Rather than remove a large silver maple tree, they built the first and second story porches around the tree. This decision added an interesting architectural feature that lasted well into the middle of the 20th century. By 1897, the Richards House had 70 guest rooms, two cottages for employees and a cafeteria.
Jesse Richards hired Bert Vail, age 15, in 1901 as a porter. He became Mrs. Richards’ manager after her husband’s death in 1908. Bert Vail purchased the Richards House in 1911 and cared for Ella Richards until her death in 1922. Mr. Vail extended the size of the business to include a larger cafeteria that seated 200 people and a total of 90 rooms by purchasing the cottage at 318 Walnut. In 1936, Mr. Vail also purchased two cottages on the west side of Maple, opposite the Richards House, to create a much needed parking lot for guests. He had the cottages relocated to vacant lots he purchased on Poplar Ave. and 4th St.
Vail sold the Richards Hotel, as it was then known, to the Lakeside Association in 1939 and moved to Florida fulltime. Lakeside appointed Harry Knorr as manager to the hotel in addition to his management position at Hotel Lakeside. The complex was sold in 1953 to Hugh Scharer and Lou Milligan. They sold off the cottage at 318 Walnut in 1954 and managed the Maple complex for 18 years. Between 1972 and 1992, the complex changed ownership four times. During this period, two portions of the hotel (315 Maple and 319 Maple were sold off until only the 317 Maple section remained. That was purchased by William Drackett and Tim Hearth in 1992. They operated it as a bed & breakfast inn for a year, then renovated it into an 18 unit suite hotel called “Same Time, Next Year.”
Toward the end of the ownership by Mr. Drackett and Mr. Hearth in 2002, they made the decision to convert the rental units into condominiums. This construction project resulted in the creation of 15 condominiums from studio to four-bedroom units that range in size from 254 sq. ft. to 1027 sq. ft. All are privately owned. The parking lot on the west side of Maple, created by Mr. Vail in 1936, is now reserved for condo owners. Since the buildings are not winterized, occupancy is available only from April 1 to October 30.