Franklin Street Inn History

  • historical door sign

This Queen Anne inn, approved by Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association, is nestled in a charming historic neighborhood. The house was built in 1897 for William Rhodes, who, according to history, was a grocer on College Avenue. William’s wife, Florence, gave piano lessons in this house. Her name was recorded in the 1900 Appleton phone book on the page along with all the other local piano teachers.

W.W. Delong, was the architect for this large and stately size Victorian house spanning four floors. On your visit to the inn, drive by three other look-like Delong houses all with turrets and wrap-around porches. He included a double air space principle by building a double vestibule at the front entrance. The original oak pocket doors with wide woodwork and crown moldings, beautiful open and grand oak staircase, lovely birds-eye maple hardwood floors, window seats, high ceilings, original oak woodwork trimmed fireplace with beveled mirror, leaded and stained glass windows, old chandeliers, oriental rugs, and period antiques give you the warm and elegant feeling of the nineteenth century.

  • Franklin St Inn exterior

All of the house’s character is still maintained even as a bed and breakfast. The original dining room built in china cupboard displays our china collection beside the swinging maid’s door. Now located in what was the maid’s bedroom, our largest bathroom can be enjoyed by Lawrence Room guests. The back stairway for the maid, years ago, is where our guests can now enjoy complimentary beverages from the inn’s refrigerator.

Through the years, the Rhode’s house has been used for numerous private residences, apartments, the home for the Dean of Students at Lawrence University, and now a bed and breakfast since 1994. The major decision to renovate this house at that time for a bed and breakfast was because of its proximity to Lawrence University. This inn is the closest lodging to the campus to accommodate Lawrence families and friends and others traveling on business with Lawrence. Through the years, the inn has expanded its customer service by featuring two romantic whirlpool and fireplace suites. The inn’s business has grown to the present time with a long list of services so that the public can gather and enjoy the ambiance of this state historical record house.

The Rhode’s house has received numerous improvements through its history. Believing that all major restoration was complete, the current owners submitted their work to the Appleton Historic Preservation Commission. On May 2, 2007, Appleton’s mayor, Timothy M. Hanna, presented an “Appleton Historic Restoration Certificate” to the owners. With pride, Ron and Judy Halma display their certificate stating:

“The Halma’s, 318 East Franklin Street, in recognition of your efforts to restore the exterior character of your historical residential building, which in turn will have a positive impact on the City of Appleton.”

The Franklin Street Inn is surrounded by impressive century old churches on every corner in a five block area. By following our walking tour map of the neighborhood (including other historical record houses and the downtown area with original business store fronts), you can step back in time to one hundred years ago. Perhaps of special interest to our guests, the owners have expanded and renovated a second house, the Franklin Inn on Durkee Bed and Breakfast, which opened in July 2007.

Here are a few special buildings in our neighborhood to include on your walking tour: Edna Ferber’s home( author of the Giant and Showboat), Hammill House (home of Appleton’s first mayor, Frank Hammill), Temple Zion, circa 1890, (Houdini’s father was the first rabbi), History Museum at the Castle(featuring Houdini because he claims Appleton as his hometown), Franklin Inn on Durkee,(home of Albert F. Huetter), and Lawrence University.