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Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn (Fischer's Hotel, Union House Hotel)
Theodore Fischer, a former bartender at the Exchange Hotel (now Zehnder's Restaurant at 730 S. Main Street with a facade inspired by Mount Vernon), established the Union House Hotel in 1888 and renamed it Fischer's Hotel. The William Zehnder Sr. family, distant relatives of Fischer and descendants of nineteenth-century German immigrants, purchased the Fischer's hotel in 1950 and continued serving their chicken dinners. Inspired by a family trip back to Bavaria in the 1950s, the Zehnders extensively renovated, enlarged, and redecorated the restaurant in 1959 and 1969 in a fantasy Bavarian theme. In 1971 William “Tiny” Zehnder Jr. (1919–2006) even sent Beach to Bavaria to inspect its architecture with an eye toward reproducing it in Frankenmuth. The Bavarian Inn's motif, accented by a fifty-foot-tall glockenspiel and carillon tower, symbolizes Frankenmuth's German heritage. Behind the inn a replica of a nineteenth-century wooden covered bridge known as the Holz-Brücke spans the Cass River. The Bavarian Inn Lodge next door (1 Covered Bridge Lane) was built in phases from 1986 to 1999.
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