By Kelley Atherton
Triplicate staff writer
CRESCENT CITY The Anna Wulf House, a 110-year-old Victorian-style home in Crescent City will be opening soon as a bed and breakfast with regular events aimed at the public.
Mitzi Travis, a local real estate agent with Bayside Realty, and her daughter Paula Banta are planning an open house and kick-off dinner event in November. Travis had to postpone the original opening of the bed and breakfast to finish Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for a parking place.
"We're going to start out with a catered (by Northwoods Restaurant) gourmet mystery dinner theater," Travis said. "Then we'll probably do it once a month."
Fox Well Productions will be doing the "Blood and Guts of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)" A light-hearted take on William Shakespeare's works.
Travis also plans to have other small events, such as weddings, tea parties for children or adults and family reunions.
She already has an outdoor wedding scheduled for the end of November.
There will be two rooms available to stay in for $100 per night, including breakfast, Travis said. She and Banta have decorated the rooms to a sort-of his and hers preferences. The Mayor Room is adorned with top-hats and pictures of horses, reminiscent of turn-of-the-century smoking rooms where men would adjourn to after dinner. The Mistress Room is much more feminine with pink and red walls, a Victorian-style chaise lounge and a old wire mannequin figure.
Travis and Banta bought the house two months ago, and according to Travis, Banta had always wanted to run a bed and breakfast. They have kept a lot of the house's original features to retain a Victorian feel. They decided to paint the house lilac with a dark purple trim so that it would stand out.
"I think it looks like a little dollhouse," Travis said.
The house could have been designated as a historical site, she said, but they wanted to have small events for the community.
"People hunger for this kind of entertainment," Travis said. "(For example) those choir kids trying to earn money to go to Germany, they could come here and put on a concert."
The appeal of the bed and breakfast is the ambiance it provides, she said.
"It's a nice place for something small and intimate."
The Anna Wulf House is one of the remaining historical homes in the area. According to the Del Norte County Historical Society documents, the house was built by Richard Hanson, a contractor, in 1896. However, before the house was completed, Hanson's wife died and the children were sent to live with relatives. He sold the house to William and Anna Wulf, who resided in the house until their deaths in 1921 and 1963, respectively.
As with many of the regional homes constructed in the 19th century, it was built of old milled Redwood and had no electricity or indoor bathrooms.
William was the son of a German immigrant, Henry, and was born in San Francisco. William and Anna (then Gilbert) were married in Medford, Ore., in 1899 and lived in Crescent City. Their foster son, Fred William died at the age of 28 in 1925, leaving Anna on her own.
The Wulfs owned a Corner Cash Store in the post office building. According to a local business pamphlet, "Del Norte County, California and its Industries, Resources and Capabilities," the Wulfs' store sold smokers articles, fishing tackle, candies, fruits and vegetables, cigars and tobacco, fine candies, newspapers and magazines.
During the 42 years Anna lived in the house alone, she taught English at the local high school and gave music lessons in her front parlor. Her companion, a setter named Victor, was quite the "character" in town. Anna gave a large framed crayon picture of Victor to the city when she died in 1963.
The story of Victor goes that he would do Anna's grocery shopping for her. She would put a grocery list and money in a basket, which Victor would take to the store. The storekeeper would put the items in the basket with Anna's change and send Victor on his way. On one particular occasion, a loaf of bread fell out of the basket and Victor picked it up with his teeth and carried it home, but forgetting the rest of the basket on the street.
When Anna died in 1963, Joe and Rose Range bought the house and lived there until 1997 when it was sold to Glenn and Christine Gary.
Anna, William, Henry and Fred William Wulf are all buried in the Masonic Cemetery, according to Del Norte County death records.