A Victorian mansion in the heart of St. Cloud that was home to the mayor more than a century ago and in more recent years has been a bed and breakfast is now up for sale.
The Queen Anne style home, which has been called the John N. Bensen House after its original owner as well as the Heritage House Bed and Breakfast, is listed for $500,000.
Owner Deb Middelstadt noted that even though the 3,830-square-foot house is more than 100 years old, it was built with the future in mind. It included heated furnaces and a fireplace and was the first property in downtown St. Cloud to be fully electric.
The property still has its original woodwork, hardware and wood trim. It includes a two-story carriage house that predates the 1904 home. It was listed in 1982 on the National Register of Historic Places, citing the significance of its architecture and its historic pedigree.
In the application, the red brick dwelling was called "one of St. Cloud's finest examples of the Queen Anne style." It quotes the May 19, 1903, St. Cloud Daily Times as describing the house as "a handsome design of the late style of architecture." Bensen, a German immigrant, who besides serving as mayor from 1905-06, was also a grocer, bank president and figure in real estate.
Middelstadt and her husband purchased the property in 1999 and started their B&B in early 2000.
"There was an instant connectivity with the bed and breakfast," Middelstadt said. "We've had so many guests tell us that this house brings people together."
The bed and breakfast saw a lot of guests over its 18 years.
"This spot was built to be a family place, a place for gathering people," Middelstadt said. "It worked wonderfully for us to run our business."
She said they are selling for much the same reason they stopped operating the B&B in 2018: They are getting on in years and the four-bedroom, five-bath house is a lot to maintain.
Middelstadt said that from the beginning, the property has embodied the feeling of a home.
"First time we walked into this house there was an instant feeling of being at home," she said. "I can't explain it any better than that."