Biz Buzz Monday: Historic Galena building to see new life as inn

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In addition to this update from Galena, Ill., we will share additional developments in Tuesday’s edition.

For years, Galena resident Jim Ryndak admired the historic building at 1004 Park Ave. in the city that was the longtime home of the Annie Wiggins Guest House bed-and-breakfast.

“It’s a very unique house, and it sits prominently on Park Avenue,” he said. “Every time I’d drive across the river going east, I’d see that house, and I always liked it.”

After the Annie Wiggins Guest House closed in 2020 and the historic home went on the market, Ryndak seized his chance. During the summer of 2021, he purchased the building that he had once loved from afar.

He now is renovating the eight-bedroom structure, which he plans to reopen in late spring as The Mansion on Park Avenue.

Ryndak will operate the business as an inn rather than a bed-and-breakfast. He does not intend to rent out individual rooms, but rather, he will rent out the entire inn for larger gatherings such as family reunions or bachelorette parties.

In rehabbing the home, Ryndak said he is striving to preserve as much of its historic charm as possible.

The three-story, brick house was constructed in 1846 by former Galena Mayor Col. Darius Hunkins, who helped superintend the Illinois Central Railroad and made a fortune in mining and smelting. Much of the original Greek Revival architecture is still intact, from the woodwork and double-hung windows to the pocket doors and hand-carved marble mantels on the fireplaces.

“For the time, it was a fabulous mansion for somebody to have. Even Chicago didn’t have houses like this,” Ryndak said. “There’s high ceilings — 11- to 12-foot ceilings on the first and second floors — so it’s a pretty grand house.”

In tandem with the historic appeal of the inn, guests will enjoy newly renovated kitchens and updated flooring throughout the entire home. Ryndak also is adding central air conditioning and completing other cosmetic work.

The Mansion on Park Avenue will be available on once it is ready to open this spring.