The Bechtel Victorian Mansion was built in 1897 in the town of East Berlin. The house was designed by architect Joseph Dise of Glen Rock, PA for the family of William G. Leas, a wealthy banker and businessman. The house was the first in town to have electricity, which was powered by a generator in the large carriage house on the property. The mansion remained with the Leas family for 85 years and was sold at public auction to Charles and Miriam Bechtel. The Bechtels turned the home into a bed & breakfast and operated it for 16 years. In 1999, the property was sold to its current owners, Richard and Carol Carlson.
The mansion is a showcase for many original architectural features such as the etched-glass windows in the dining room and on the front doors. Beautiful oak, cherry and chestnut woodwork are seen throughout including the massive sets of pocket doors. Several rooms have built-ins, such as the corner cupboard in the dining room and the wardrobes in the master and Sarah Leas bedrooms. Original brass chandeliers hang in the first floor rooms and in several second floor guestrooms. One very unique fixture is the newel post light at the bottom of the main staircase.
Taking a cue from only a few rooms, the Carlsons have been carefully restoring the mansion to its former Victorian glory. They have put up ceiling medallions and Victorian picture rails in several rooms and have hung period papers in the parlors and guestrooms. Two of the bedrooms are stenciled with Carol’s delicate touch. All of the décor is of a Country Victorian nature with great attention to detail. A mixture of antiques and newer furnishings give each room a comfortable, cozy feeling, where guests want to relax with a good book and a cup of hot tea.
Today, the inn has six guestrooms, two of which are suites. Each room has a private bath and air conditioning. Our guests are treated to tea and homemade cookies or other baked goodies upon arrival. The cookie dish stays out all night for late night snackers. We have a first floor common room available for TV viewing with a VCR/DVD player and a collection of movies. Our large front porch is a favorite spot for couples on a cool evening.
In our most recent renovation project, we remodeled the original kitchen and restored the butler’s pantry to its former use. Guests can now keep soft drinks in the guest refrigerator and use the microwave. The pantry is stocked with glasses, mugs, plates and utensils, as well as, a sink, coffee maker and small grill.
We have an extensive array of brochures, pamphlets and maps to help our guests choose their destination and activities. We can help you plan your day and make reservations for your evening dinner. When guests return at the end of a busy day the beds are turned down and the rooms are prepped for a comfortable night’s sleep.
We are often asked if we are haunted. We have been investigated by a paranormal group and this group experienced some activity. While there have been no frightening occurrences or blatant spookings, we have experienced noises, aromas and the disappearance of items. There may be a spirit or two wandering about the mansion. We’ll let you decide for yourself.