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Historical building turned into Tamaqua hotel

Tamaqua’s newest lodging, Bischoff Inn, a boutique hotel inside a repurposed 1865 Victorian industrial complex, opened its doors Friday and welcomed inaugural guests.

Owner Maria Stabio, a San Francisco native, chose the theme “A Stay to Discover,” and said she was grateful for community support.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for being so thoughtful and generous.”

Stabio has spent the past few years turning the 6,000-square foot furniture and coffin manufacturing building into a five-room venue to host visitors and capitalize on a burgeoning tourism industry. The inn can accommodate up to 12 guests in five rooms.

Stabio, a Barnesville artist and photographer, honored the building’s historic elements while incorporating an eclectic mix of styles. Original wood floors, exposed beams and brick walls were retained, while adding bathrooms, air conditioning and windows.

Each guest room includes a queen size bed, private bathroom and shower with soap, shampoo and conditioner, linens and towels, smart television, desk area, wifi and a digital code access lock.

A special second floor junior suite includes all of the above plus a more spacious sitting area, pullout sofa bed and a large bath with 60-inch vanity and tiled shower. The suite boasts a full bedroom set of Bischoff-made furniture on loan from the Zizelmann family, Bischoff’s descendants.

“I drove to Kentucky to get one of the beds,” said Eric Zizelmann, great-great grandson of 1800s businessman Conrad Bischoff.

The upper level also hosts a large apartment for the innkeeper.

Bischoff Inn does not provide breakfast, but offers a small selection of grab and go snacks and a coffee and tea bar. The inn’s communal lounge includes an entertainment center and kitchenette with a Spinn coffee machine.

In addition to welcoming tourists, Bischoff Inn will serve those seeking accommodations for weddings, anniversaries, parties, celebrations and other events.

The hotel was booked for its first night. Among the first guests were Zizelmann and his wife Christine, William Vacula and wife Jody Kellner, and Anthony Odorizzi and wife Kathy.

“This is just beyond the realm of reality,” said Odorizzi, an attorney who grew up in the North Ward neighborhood just a few blocks from the inn.

Odorizzi serves as solicitor for a funding authority that helped to make the project a reality.

Also on hand was brother Dan Odorizzi who furnished the inn with vintage, decorative pretzel and potato chip cans from the collection of the brothers’ late father Charles.

Located in the historic, residential west end of the Tamaqua National Historic District, the complex spans an area between 320 Lafayette St. and West Rowe.

According to records, Conrad Bischoff emigrated from Bavaria to Tamaqua and began manufacturing furniture and caskets from around 1870 to 1930.

Stabio was assisted with funding through the Tamaqua City Revitalization and Improvement Zone Authority. The CRIZ program has funneled $1.1M in development into the community over the past year.

R. Daniel Evans, CRIZ chairman, was instrumental in introducing Stabio to the community and its need for lodging.

“This all started with the hotel study done by the Tamaqua Area Community Partnership,” Evans said.

State Sen. David G. Argall, R-29, told Stabio and others at the ribbon cutting ceremony that the inn will fill an important need.

“We want you to be so busy that we’ll need to build five or ten more of these.”

Standard room rates start at $170. For more information: https://www.bischoffinn.com/.

Jody Kellner and husband William Vacula had the honor of being among the first overnight guests at Tamaqua's Bischoff Inn on Friday. The couple said they had their very first kiss in front of the building many years ago. DONALD R. SERFASS/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Maria Stabio, a San Francisco native now living in Barnesville, opened Bischoff Inn in Tamaqua, a boutique hotel. Stabio is an artist and photographer.
Bischoff Inn in Tamaqua is occupies the former Bischoff Furniture Manufacturing building, an 1865 landmark at 320 Lafayette St. DONALD R. SERFASS/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS