Our History

THE STORY OF Colonial House Inn

When researching the history of Colonial House Inn, it is surprising how many conflicting stories are told and many conflicting documents exist. Over the years, the Inn has been known as the John Chambers House and the Colonial House Hotel. Although we believe the facts we share with you are accurate, the true history may always remain a mystery.

The Colonial House was built as a residence by the Chambers family (John Chambers Sr.), who emigrated from County Mayo, Ireland. The family arrived in Philadelphia in 1846, moved to Mackinac Island and finally settled in St Ignace around 1870. The site for the home was received from the St. Antoine family, in exchange for the Chambers parcel of farmland, in the current 900 block of North State Street.

The house is listed with both the Michigan Historical Preservation Network and the National Register of Historical Places. It is recognized as an example of Colonial Revival architecture and built by local builders. The home was constructed during what is often referred to as the “ Boom Times in the Gateway City”. The oldest section of the house was completed around 1870 and the front addition was completed around 1910. As the story goes, the front addition was built to acknowledge the prominence of the Chambers family.

The Chambers family prospered as businessmen in St Ignace. The sons, John Jr., Patrick, and Michael, opened a small general store, built the first dock, and pooled their money to acquire large real estate holdings in the city. Michael rose to political prominence, serving as a State Representative and later Mayor of St. Ignace.

In 1945, relatives sold the house to a retired Great Lakes Ship Captain Routhier who converted the house to an inn and ran it from 1947 to 1978. The inn was closed for several years and re-opened in May 1981 after extensive interior renovations. Today, each of our rooms have original name plates, hand-carved by the captain.

At present, the Colonial House Inn is the only Bed and Breakfast in St. Ignace and the view of Moran Bay, Lake Huron is just as beautiful as it was in 1870.

Captain Routhier