Owners of the historic landmark Hanson House recognized by historical society
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
A Grayling couple who have been restoring historic homes for over four decades were recognized for preserving a landmark home in the community and preserving the history of the family who built it.
Paul and Heather Crandall have owned and operated the Hanson House, located 604 Peninsular Avenue, since January 29, 2015. The Crandalls live in the home and host guests through a bed and breakfast they took over when they bought the business.
The home was built for businessman Rasmus Hanson and his wife, Margrethe Hanson, in 1890.
Howard and Debbie Bellknap turned the Hanson House into a bed and breakfast in 1993.
Dave Wyman assumed ownership of the Hanson House, and replaced the roof and windows, installed a new boiler, rebuilt the carriage house, and expanded the kitchen.
“Dave Wyman took it to the next level,” Paul said. “He did a tremendous amount of really hard things.”
The Crandalls took over the ownership of the Hanson House after visiting the home while they had a cabin on the Manistee River.
“We thought this is a cool and historic home and it might be just the thing for us,” Paul said.
The Crandalls purchased their first historic home, which was located in Detroit and built in 1870, in 1977.
They were drawn to the home’s Victorian architecture and appearance.
“If you like historic architecture, that’s what you are going to look for and live in,” Heather said.
The couple went on the purchase and renovate 10 other homes in metropolitan Detroit historic business districts.
“If you’re going to have an old place like that, you’ve got to keep busy,” Heather said. “There’s always something to do.”
Paul learned how to do the renovation work himself.
“I learned as I went, and I just got better and better at it as time went on,” he said.
They purchased and opened a bed and breakfast in 1998 in Auburn Hills called the Cobblestone Manor, an award winning business.
Paul retired from his job as a sales and marketing executive in the medical field, while Heather stepped down from her position as an executive in the food service industry.
They put their focus on renovating the bed and breakfast.
“It’s just what we do for enjoyment,” Heather said.
At the Hanson House, the Crandalls stay busy during the summer months with guests, and in the winter when they host cross country skiers.
They do maintenance and remodeling projects during the slow times.
“When we have slow times, then we can do more renovations,” Heather said. “You can’t do that when you have guests here and things are torn apart,and the furniture is moved.”
They started coming to Grayling in 2006, and sold their cabin on the river when they purchased the Hanson House.
“We love this little town,” Heather said.
Paul said he appreciates that Grayling is such a walkable community and has businesses and attractions in the downtown business district.
“It’s such a friendly town,” he said. “We’re just so happy to live here.”
On Wednesday, January 29, the Crawford County Historical Society presented the Crandalls with a picture of the Hanson House, which was done by local artist Cheryl Stephan. The picture was etched with a wood burning kit on a divider from a filing cabinet which came from the Salling & Hanson Co., one of Rasmus Hanson’s businesses.
“It took a lot of work and it was just a thoughtful nice thing to do,” Heather said. “I think our guests that come and stay here will be interested in seeing it.”
Paul said they have learned a lot about the Hanson House and Hanson family by reading through the archives of the Crawford County Avalanche, which has been published in Grayling since 1879.
“It’s still great to have that publication that is available all these years,” he said.
The Crandalls received the memento from the Crawford County Historical Society on their fifth anniversary of owning the Hanson House.
“We were so pleasantly surprised and honored to receive some recognition,” Paul said.
Gail Thomas, the vice president of the Crawford County Historical Society, said this is the first time the non-profit organization has recognized the owner of a historical business.
“Paul and Heather have put a lot of time and effort into restoring and preserving the Hanson House, and that is something the community should appreciate and be proud of,” Thomas said.