Tue07222014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

   2014 39.95 HSD w VIDor PH-Banner2-500-x-125

Historic Bell House still welcoming visitors today

In 1883, the father of Alexander Graham Bell – noted Scottish teacher and researcher Alexander Melville Bell – bought a newly constructed elegant home on the banks of the Potomac River in Colonial Beach. Today, the historic Bell House is still welcoming visitors after more than 230 years.


Anne Bolin first saw the house with its beautiful hardwood floors, stained glass windows and unique balconies in March of 2000. “It was love at first sight,” Bolin said.

She bought the historic home, becoming its seventh owner, and less than four months later turned it into what has become one of Virginia’s top bed and breakfasts.

The home, which is known simply as the Bell House, is the only Colonial Beach house listed on the National Register of Historic Places and it is a Virginia Historic Landmark. Built by Col. J.O.P. Burnside, the son of Civil War General Ambrose Burnside, the house on the Potomac River was sold shortly after its construction to Alexander Melville Bell who owned it until his death in 1905.

Famed scientist, engineer and inventor Alexander Graham Bell inherited the house from his father. Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone in 1875, divided his time between the house in Colonial Beach and a home he and his father built in Nova Scotia in the 1880s.

Both Bells were born in Scotland and were dedicated to research on elocution and speech. Alexander Graham’s mother and wife were deaf, strongly influencing Bell’s work and the work of his father. One of the guests at the Colonial Beach house was Helen Keller, the famous blind and deaf author and lecturer, who studied under Alexander Melville Bell.

Alexander Graham Bell’s research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually led not only to the invention of the telephone – which was first known as an acoustic telegraph – but the photophone, the phonograph and an audiometer to detect hearing problems.

Later inventions included the metal detector, hydrofoils and hydroplanes and a number of aeronautical inventions that helped pave the way to the first airplanes. Because of his many inventions, Bell and his father had to travel frequently from Colonial Beach to Washington to deal with hundreds of patent and court challenges to his various discoveries.

Bell sold the historic Colonial Beach house in 1920, just two years before his death. It was then a private home for Bertha Bray, who lived there for 40 years, and then Judith and Bob Warsang, who lived there for 17 years before it was bought by Anne Bolin in 2000.

“Honestly, I never thought of owning a bed and breakfast,” Bolin said. “But when I first saw the house, I thought golly, it would make a nice, warm, comfortable place for people to visit and stay.”

Bolin put a great deal of love and time into restoring and refurbishing the historic home. “I refurbished the third floor, added three bathrooms, added a guest bedroom and a library and repaired the two widow walk balconies,” Bolin said.

Today guests can relax in one of the four queen size bedrooms, the gathering room or the library. Or they can sit outside on the porch overlooking the five-mile wide Potomac River, recline in a hammock or walk along the beach. Wine and cheese and hors d’oeuvres are served from 5 to 6 p.m. each day. And, Bolin’s hearty breakfasts have become legendary.

“We get guests from everywhere,” Bolin said. “Germany, Japan, South America, Australia and New Zealand. We just had a couple who were sailing their new sailboat from South America, 3,500 miles to Nova Scotia.”

“I get many of the same guests, year after year. They love Colonial Beach; it is a lovely little town. This year we are hosting the First Annual Alexander Graham Bell Croquet Tournament on Sept. 21 with the proceeds going to the Colonial Beach Volunteer Fire Department,” Bolin said.

The Bell House is located at 821 Irving Avenue. The phone number is (804) 224-7000 and the email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Richard Leggitt

201407chamber

 

201407source

 

201401kgpr

Contact Us

The Journal Press, Inc. P. O. Box 409, 10250 Kings Hwy. King George, VA 22485

EditorialAdvertisingOffice
Jessica Herrink, Publisher

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Carla Gutridge
540-709-7061
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Leonard Banks, Production
540-469-4196
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Leonard Banks, Sports editor
540-469-4196
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Steve Detwiler
540-709-7288
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Drue Murray
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phyllis Cook
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Charlene Franks
540-709-7075
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Linda Farneth,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Elizabeth Foreman,
540-709-7076
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Charlene Franks, Accounts
540-709-7075
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Richard Leggitt
540-993-7460
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Bonnie Gouvisis
540-775-2024
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Lori Deem, Church & Community
540-709-7495
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Advertising Information
540-775-2024
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jessica Herrink
540-469-4031
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Journal Print Shop

Contact Steve Detwiler

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

540-709-7288 • 540-775-2024

Quikey

Bulletline

link4

Your Invitation Place

Balloon House