Get to Know Us
Learn more about this historic building and the less than historic folks who currently serve as it’s stewards.
Heritage House: A Brief History
Heritage House was originally built as a single-family residence by W.E. Davis and his wife Annie Cole Davis in 1912-1913 on a gifted lot from the Preston’s, Mrs.Davis’s aunt and uncle. During the construction of the new residence, the family resided at downtown Opelika’s Clement Hotel for almost a year. The total build was documented at $12,500 and included specialized details such as Ashlar block stone foundations and a Spanish-tile roof.
The family resided here until 1971 when it was sold to Ruth Crook and her sister Virginia Magee. The sisters moved their antiques business from South Railroad Ave and are the originators of the name Heritage House.
After 17 years, they decided to retire and put the home back on the market. By this time, the house was in disrepair and there were proposals to demolish it to build a fast food restaurant. To ensure the preservation of the home, Barbara Patton and son Richard purchased the property in 1993 and spent over a year renovating and remodeling both the main structure and the carriage house. In 1994, they opened Heritage House as a bed & breakfast and event venue which they ran for a decade.
Steve and Carole Harrison bought the house in 2003 with the intention of running it on a limited basis as a bed & breakfast. Ultimately, it was kept predominantly as a single family home as their family and other obligations grew. In 2015 they sold it to mother and daughter, Virginia Haley and Haley Wilder.
Virginia and Haley initially focused on reinvigorating the property, and re-opened as a bed and breakfast, venue and antiques shop in April 2016. In 2019, they put the house on the market to pursue their primary interests of purchasing and renovating historic homes.
In January 2020, husband and wife, Leif Espelund and Dani Nelson purchased the property and moved to Opelika from Seattle, WA to reopen Heritage House as a boutique bed & breakfast and event facility. They began hosting overnight guests and events again in June 2020. Despite starting a travel business in the middle of a global pandemic they have found success and have since hosted thousands of satisfied travelers and dozens of special events.
Meet the Innkeepers
Leif Espelund and Dani Nelson have been partners in crime for over a decade. They met in Seattle, Washington, where Leif worked in marketing and Dani was an event planner. Over the years, they have organized and hosted a wide variety of professional and personal events, along with managing an Airbnb out of their home for many years.
While Leif is from Oregon, Dani actually grew up just 40 miles away in Alexander City, Alabama. The charm of this historic building, neighborhood, and wonderfully thriving downtown area made it an easy decision to transplant to Alabama and take up the business of hoteliers. Their extensive travels have helped drive every detail of your stay and hopefully is reflected in the warm and welcoming atmosphere.