The Journey

Aging House Remains a Comfort for Local Citizens in Davenport, Washington
By Rachel Johnson

Davenport Project

A century-old house sits on the corner of 10th and Morgan Street in the heart of Davenport, Wash. Once known as the "pink house in Davenport" for its then-rosy exterior, the house attracts town members and visitors with its mix of Greek revival and country home architecture.

Know as the "Hutsell House" to the locals, the structure is now a bed and breakfast and coffeeshop. Before this development, two generations lived in the home: Lew and Mildred Hutsell, followed by their grandson, Scott Hutsell. Both families hold a major place in the legacy of the house and the town as a whole.

The house was constructed in 1896 by Malcolm McInnis, who, along with two partners, owned the largest lumber business in Big Bend County. As a contractor, McInnis was able to secure the best building materials for the beautiful 2,500-square-foot, two-story home. At that same time, the courthouse was also being built, and the two structures resembled each other in their classic brick siding.

In 1910, the house was sold to Jack Adams, a Kentucky native who owned the town's racetrack and kept his racehorses on his new estate. When he died, the house was let out for the next 30 years and became run-down, trashed by renters.

Mildred Hutsell's dream was to own an antique shop on Morgan Street in the center of town. Lew Hutsell had to be convinced, but finally Mildred persevered and they bought the house and the one beside it for $12,000. The Hutsells gutted and completely remodeled the inside.

"In the '50s you bought a house and fixed it up to look brand new," Scott Hutsell says.

The only original piece in the house is the old brass fireplace that sits in the living room.

Since all of Lew and Mildred Hutsell's children were grown and on their own when the Hutsells moved in, the couple rented out apartments on the second floor, along with the house next door. They also painted the house pink over the vintage brick. At long last, Mildred opened her new shop, Pink House Antiques, in the front rooms.

As the couple got older, Lew Hutsell moved to the local nursing home while his wife kept the house and the business running. Scott Hutsell, who lived just down the street, visited his grandparents often as a child. His grandmother had strict rules about not touching the antiques.

"My grandma was a little eccentric," Scott Hutsell says. "I gardened for her to help her around the house."

Lew Hutsell died in 1965, and the house and antique shop still thrived under Mildred Hutsell's watchful eye for the next 13 years. Mildred died in December 1978, and Scott Hutsell bought the house just a month later.

With the pink outside layer way out of date, Scott remodeled the house in the mid-1980s, covering the brick with vinyl siding. While taking out the porch railing, he found the signatures of the original general contractor, the carpenter and the plasterer carved in the wood. Scott Hutsell believes he was able to make the house more modern while keeping the old-fashioned look that the community loved.

After 21 years, Hutsell and his family moved out into the Davenport countryside to have more acreage for horses. He still owns the Les Schwab Tire Store in town, and is still very proud of the house's heritage.

"It's the most well-known house in town," Hutsell said. "It's the only house in Davenport on the Historical Register."

Long-time Davenport residents Brett and Charlene Guhlke turned the house into the Morgan Street Bed & Breakfast. They wanted to add their businesses while still maintaining the original look and feel of the house. The same porch is there, along with the stained-glass window of a rose made by a local artist. The sound of warm chatter from visiting customers fills the rooms now.

"I love the history and I love the front porch," says Charlene Guhlke.

She loves that the house remains on Davenport's main drag and that the community still values the property. Brides in the community schedule their weddings there, and old-timers come in every morning for breakfast.

"Scott Hutsell takes great care of his things," said Charlene Guhlke. "We are trying to do that, too."