BISBEE — She is a successful author, actress, producer, singer, and now she has tossed her hat in a real ring of fire — hospitality — in one of Bisbee’s most beautiful historic homes, The Greenway House.
Gretchen Bonaduce was attracted to the home immediately upon spotting it on, of all places, Zillow.
She was in Arizona for a book signing for “Surviving Agent Orange and Other Things I Learned from Being Thrown Under the Partridge Family Bus.” She was married to child actor Danny Bonaduce of the Partridge Family TV show for 18 years and lived through the trying times of his addiction and on and off drug rehabilitation efforts which finally led to their divorce.
She tried to buy the Greenway House right then and there, but was delayed as the onset of the monsoon season started last year. The sellers wanted to wait.
So, she did, and is very glad she did not give up on the 10,782–square foot home of Gen. John C. Greenway. Renovations have begun and to make things even more interesting, she decided to film the work and chronicle the rebirth with the intent on selling it to a cable company for airing.
Set back off Cole Rd. in the quaint Warren District of Bisbee, the two–story mansion reflects the opulence that once was Bisbee. Ten bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, full maid quarters, a kitchen to die for, magnificent ceilings, original murals, sweeping decks, handcrafted woodwork, a guest house in the back and more make the home a treasure of its time.
Built by craftsmen in 1908, Greenway, a friend of President Theodore Roosevelt and one of the Rough Riders, spared no expense, Bonaduce said. Greenway was the general manager of the Calumet and Arizona Mine, the second largest mine in the city at the time. Roosevelt was often a guest of Greenway.
Now the mansion will become a premiere, overnight lodging destination for visitors for a night or two or more, as some of the rooms have their own kitchenettes. She envisions weddings, small groups and corporate retreats and plans to have theme parties based on various historical times from Teddy Roosevelt’s era to the Roaring ‘20s to the sounds of the ‘80s.
The home has an original, refined elevator to take guests up to the second floor, so even limited-mobility visitors can treat themselves to an unforgettable, uniquely-Bisbee experience.
A record player and old LPs will be available for checkout in each of the rooms and Bansduce has added the nostalgic touch of retro appliances.
She made a discovery while exploring the full attic — old fir floorboards, which were put to use in restoring the home.
She has a lot of help. Three of her best friends from Los Angeles have been with her exploring the home and its possibilities and helping to get it ready for a grand opening later this fall. Cherie Currie, former singer with The Runaways, actress and chainsaw woodcarver; Bobbie Brown, actor and clothing designer and author; and Sharise Neil, a house flipper. Bonaduce said she was lucky to have such good friends who wanted to come and help her out.
The idea, of course, is to save the home for many to enjoy, and help the Bisbee community by bringing in new clientele, she explains.
“I am so over L.A.,” she noted. “I hate the traffic, the high cost of living. You can’t even enjoy the reasons you moved to L.A. for. It takes hours to get to the beach or to go anywhere now.
“I love it here. Everyone is nice and helpful. We’ve been having a blast. I had never even heard of Bisbee before, so I want to get the word out of what a great town this is and help the community. I want to contribute in a positive way.”
Currie noted, “She cares about people. She’s like a Lone Ranger standing in the middle of the desert adventuring into a whole new frontier. I’m speechless.”
Eventually, Bonaduce may bring back her former bandmates of the Fatal ‘80s and rock the hill.
“I’d love to do some gigs here. We’ll be respectful,” she said with a smile. “The mayor lives next door.”