In 2001, businessman Jonathan Rudolph purchased the property at 50 S. Main St. as part of a multi-entity land transfer from the Elfman estate. That purchase allowed for other transactions to occur. The neighboring Elfman house would become home to Doylestown Historical Society. The barn at the rear of the property would eventually house a meeting room and research center. The area between the stone house and barn, later acquired by Doylestown Borough, would be turned into a public park.
With plans to turn the old house into an inn, Rudolph took on a major renovation of what had become a run-down building. Work began in November of 2001. The old frame addition, with uneven ramshackle floors and an enclosed porch, were demolished and removed. The original basement had plaster on earthen walls and a dirt floor. Walls were underpinned with engineered, cantilevered steel beams for a new three-story addition that consisted of six inn rooms and a kitchen.
The original stone house also was gutted, leaving only exterior walls, studs, and hand-hewn beams in the process. During the demolition, workmen stumbled upon an old squirrel’s nest that was hidden behind a wall. In the nest were several buttons from a Civil War uniform. Those buttons are now on loan and displayed at Doylestown’s Civil War Museum on Broad Street.
Work was completed the following year, and in October 2002, Doylestown’s only full-service bed and breakfast opened for business. It was originally called the 1814 House, but subsequently was named the Old Hargrave House.
As 2014 is set to end, our 200-year history lesson comes to a conclusion as well. There has been a lot of activity at 50 S. Main St. over the years. At this point, the future is an open book. We hope you’ll join us as we continue to chronicle the happenings of Hargrave House Bed & Breakfast.