Tamaqua inn offers historic stay
A large brick building in a residential area of Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, houses a colorful and captivating combination of modern and vintage stylings. The Bischoff Inn began welcoming guests in early 2023.
The building originally housed Bischoff Planning Mill and Furniture Factory. Conrad Bischoff, an immigrant from Bavaria, Germany, established a cabinet factory, furniture store, and a funeral home in Tamaqua in the 1800s.
All these years later, the three-story Victorian brick building houses a five-room hotel, and the only one in Tamaqua. It was recently recognized with a Historic Preservation Award by Preservation Pennsylvania.
When you walk in, you’ll be greeted by a colorful, bright space and Maria Stabio, an artist who moved from New York City when she bought the building.
Her and her father’s artwork lines the hallways and pieces are on display in the shared kitchen and living space.
“You’re going to get a place to stay that is a little bit more unique, a little bit more off-beat," Stabio said, describing what makes her place different from a typical hotel. "Something that still provides a safe, clean, comfortable place to stay but still has a story to tell."
The inn’s character is reflective of the time it was built. Tamaqua was a regional hub for the railroad and coal industries in the 1800s.
“The character here is definitely industrial,” she said. “We show our age here, and we show the marks of the people and the traces of what used to be in this building and we love it that way.”
Gina M. Douty, a historic preservation consultant who worked with Stabio on the renovation, said they went the extra mile to preserve some qualities of the structure.
“Repairing windows rather than replacing windows, the exposed brick in the interior,” she said. “So that people can still have a sense of what its historic use was.”
There are curiosities in every room, and even a few rare pieces of restored Bischoff furniture.
The factory closed in 1930, but the founder's great-grandson and great-great-grandson continue to operate the funeral business as Zizelman-Gulla Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc.
Over the years, the building had several owners and functions, and was an antique furniture store most recently.
“A lot of people have stories of coming into this building,” she said. “So I think that that inherently makes it special, and also the fact that it is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the town of Tamaqua.”