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A new chapter for Wabasha's Anderson House

A new chapter for Wabasha's Anderson House
Rachel and Brian Yenter plan to re-open the historic Anderson House Hotel in downtown Wabasha and create a museum on the first floor. The couple are pictured Tuesday, November 22, 2011 in front of the hotel, which closed in 2009.

WABASHA — With the purchase of the historic Anderson House, Rachel and Brian Yenter intend to breathe new life into the 155-year-old landmark here and add to their growing portfolio of lodging and restaurant businesses.

The Yenters, who own Eagles on the River vacation rentals, entered into a purchase agreement about two weeks ago with First State Bank of Wabasha and expect to close on the property Dec. 27, Rachel said Tuesday.

"It's, basically, an expansion of our lodging business, and to put a museum in the downstairs part of the hotel," she said.

The former owners of the Anderson House, Teresa and Mike Smith, closed it in March 2009. They had bought it in 2004 and made some upgrades to the property. However, by 2006, they put the building back on the market.

The Yenters will add the Anderson's 23 hotel rooms to the 12 units they already rent out in three Wabasha condominium complexes. The units are owned by individuals who contract with the Yenters to rent them out.


A portion of the first floor of the Anderson House, including what used to be a restaurant, will be converted into a Small Town Inspirations Museum, Rachel said.

"The museum is not only about the history of this area, but about individual entrepreneurship," she said. "We want to show how people made a living and produced products."

She plans to open the hotel by Jan. 1, and have the museum open in March.

The first floor of the Anderson House also will have a meeting room to accommodate 50 to 72 people, and a kitchen for catering.

In addition, the Yenters plan to create retail space for small local vendors who make products such as jewelry, clothing, soaps and other handicrafts.

"Our driving desire is to inspire people to be entrepreneurs, because we feel it's the only way this country is going to get out of this economic downturn," Rachel said.

Other than some cleaning and painting, the couple does not intend to renovate the old hotel. Rachel said it's in good shape.

"It was a functioning business when it closed. We're not going to make a lot of changes to it. Plus, it's a historic icon, and we have a keen interest in history and preserving old buildings. She'll get some fresh paint, we'll clean her up, and we'll put in displays and things of interest."


Things of interest, however, will not include resident cats, she said. The former Anderson House was known for having the little felines, which guests could have in their rooms, if they wished.

The Yenters are not strangers to residents and visitors to Wabasha. The couple own The Chocolate Escape candy and espresso shop, Flour Mill Pizzeria and Twain's Wheelhouse Tavern.


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