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Lake Country Places: Bailey house to become attraction in Backus

With the death of (Annie) Sue Bailey of Backus in 2007, the city's oldest home has seen little use. A little over 10 years later, professional theatrical producer and event promoter Doug Taylor, owner of Action Entertainment, hopes to make it his...

The Bailey House could become a major attraction for the city of Backus, acting as a hub where Doug Taylor starts adventures with his guests.
The Bailey House could become a major attraction for the city of Backus, acting as a hub where Doug Taylor starts adventures with his guests.

With the death of (Annie) Sue Bailey of Backus in 2007, the city's oldest home has seen little use. A little over 10 years later, professional theatrical producer and event promoter Doug Taylor, owner of Action Entertainment, hopes to make it his base of operations and a beacon for Backus.

Town founder John Bailey built the house in 1902. It has six bedrooms, two bathrooms, three showers, a dining room and reading nooks. Two of its most breathtaking features are the second-floor balcony and first-floor sun room, both facing Pine Mountain Lake.

Inside, the home's former owner, Heather (Mueller) Feinberg, had outfitted the building with antique furniture and appliances to emphasize the home's vintage charm. After years of no offers, Taylor purchased the building with all of those features included. He saw it as a perfect complement to his vintage stagecoach, 1933 airplane and popular cutter sleighs.

"I've been looking for a home base for a while," Taylor said. "When I walked in here it was a perfect location. It's like walking into 1902."

Taylor hopes to use the 2,100-square-foot home and 1-acre yard as a jumping off point for lakes area adventures. He would like to begin by marketing the building similar to his horse-drawn carriage rides.

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"I think we are going to market to romantic couples for the first few years," Taylor said.

When not home and hosting visitors, Taylor plans to use the building as a Vacation Rental By Owner, rather than a bed and breakfast. Much like the rest of the house, the kitchen is furnished with décor that matches the building's style, including a functioning built-in ice box.

"I don't want to disturb the integrity of the kitchen or the historical value of it," Taylor said. "I don't want to put stainless steel in there."

Taylor hopes to market to locals as well as tourists who come to the lakes area for the traditional resort experience. Unlike other resorts, however, Taylor wants to incorporate his other transportation offerings for once-in-a-lifetime adventures.

"I don't think I'm going to cook breakfast," Taylor said. "I will probably take them out to breakfast with the horses. We also have a fleet of antique aircraft. We're going to offer services of float plane rides to Madden's or Chase on the Lake."

Taylor hopes to incorporate the home into other endeavors. His brother, Craig Taylor, is the Backus Airport manager. Together with instructor J.B. Johnson they are considering bringing flight lessons back to the Backus community. The Bailey house would provide housing for those who come from out of town. Flight students aren't the only students he hopes to house there.

"(I get) lots of requests for people who want to come and stay and utilize draft power," Taylor said. 'I'm thinking of setting up a small school for people to come for one to two weeks to learn to drive safely."

Taylor said he plans to make each room a themed room with a "Sue Bailey" room decorated to honor Bailey and share her story, as well as possible logging history rooms and a Charles Lindbergh room. Recognizing that history is the building's main attraction, Taylor hopes to emphasize that feature as much as he can.

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"It is old world elegance," Taylor said. "You walk in and you can feel the elegance of the time period. It is a Victorian home from 1902. you can feel the good vibes. Sue Bailey was such a wonderful person. I've heard such wonderful things about her."

Related Topics: BACKUS
Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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