Innkeepers Offer Historic Preservation and Repurposing

From Prisons, Mills, Schools and Trains Into Luxury B&Bs

. October 14, 2008

AUSTIN, TX, May 29, 2008. From jails to convents, hospitality is a habit in this group of former clubhouses, cabooses, churches, mercantiles, and more, now turned into inns. has scoured the country to develop a comprehensive list of B&Bs where history is "recycled and repurposed" for preservation. Read on for stories about how innkeepers transformed former corn cribs and horse barns into luxury accommodations.


Christopher's B&B, Bellevue, KY: Named after the Patron Saint of Travelers, this 100-year-old building was privately purchased from the Bellevue Christian Church. Keeping all of the original stained glass windows and hardwood floors, the church was transformed into a B&B in 1997.

Belfry Inne & Bistro, Sandwich, MA: A collection of a former abbey and parsonage buildings, massive stained glass windows, vaulted ceilings and rooms named after the seven days of creation offer reverence to the original structure. Now featuring a fine dining restaurant and luxurious, spacious rooms, along with a whimsical bistro, this property is a study in preservation.

Lathrop House B&B, Springfield, MA: At one time the building was a Reform Jewish Temple and a Yeshiva (school of Jewish studies). Now it is the only Kosher B&B in the U.S. where guests can attend Friday night and Saturday services without leaving the premises.

Churchyard Inn, Uniontown, WA: Originally constructed in 1905 as a parish house, then converted to a convent in 1913, the Churchyard Inn was renovated as a B&B in 1995, exposing the original detailed woodwork and three floors of spacious hallways, bedrooms, and balconies. It is a wonderful blend of old world craftsmanship and a unique B&B where "hospitality is a habit."

Miller's Daughter B&B, Greenlake, WI: The house was originally built in 1905 as a parsonage for the First Congregational Church of Green Lake. In 2002, the Federated Church of Green Lake planned to raze the parsonage to expand their parking lot. The present owners moved the home to its current location and restored it as an elegant B&B.


John Dougherty House, Mendocino, CA: The Water Tower room, preserved with an 18-foot beamed ceiling, also features a four poster bed, an in-room fireplace, and a beautifully restored ambiance.

Captain Lindsey House, Rockland, ME: Once home to the town's water works office, this inn still has the vault where collections were stored. Guests check in at the former payment window too.


Jailer's Inn B&B, Bardstown, KY: Dating back to 1819, this building has 30-inch-thick stone walls and iron bars on the windows, reminiscent of its old prison days. With one "jail cell" room offering the original bunks dressed in prison black and white, this is a great place to "do time".

Jailhouse Inn, Newport, RI: Built in 1772, plenty of architectural reminders of the old jail remain, including bars on the windows and at the check-in desk, and prison cell doors welcoming guests into the dining room.


Old Mill on the Falls B&B, Hatfield, MA: This historic mill on the Swift River, with its own dam and waterfall, has recently been renovated into a B&B and banquet center.

Inn by the Mill, St. Johnsville, NY: Once part of the Underground Railroad, this inn consists of the 1894 mill house, barn, carriage house, 1888 hog house and 1835 Stone Grist Mill built alongside the Timmerman Creek. It also features an ice cream emporium reminiscent of a museum where guests can help themselves during summer months.

Mill House, Grand Rapids, OH: Overlooking the Erie Canal and the Maumee River, the Phoenix Roller Mill, as it was known, produced "Stumps Best" flour.

Inn at Evans Mill, Smithville, TN: The original mill dating back to 1834 was destroyed in a fire and rebuilt in 1905. Serving as a gristmill for the Martha White company until WWII, it was eventually developed into a conference center and B&B.


Rosemark Haven, Bardstown, KY: Among the seven guest rooms at this B&B are the Stiles Master Suite, which occupies the entire second floor of the former slave quarters and has a private entrance.

B&W Courtyards B&B, New Orleans, LA: Adjacent to the French Quarter in the Faubourg Marigny, this B&B consists of three 19th-century buildings connected by courtyards offering six guest rooms. The old slave quarters have been transformed into a Barbados-style beach house.

Monmouth Plantation, Nachez, MS: A glorious return to the antebellum South, guests can choose to stay in the Courtyard building with three guest rooms and a suite, which once housed the slave quarters and kitchen on this 1818 Greek Revival estate inn.

Butler Greenwood Plantation, St. Francisville, SC: While the main plantation house is occupied by members of the original family, B&B accommodations are in private cottages scattered across the landscaped grounds. Two of the most popular are recycled historic dependencies. The Old Kitchen, built of handmade brick in 1796, was where slaves did the cooking for the plantation families. With exposed beams, working fireplace, gigantic four-poster cypress bed, and full kitchen, the Old Kitchen's most popular feature is the double Jacuzzi placed next to the original well, 115 feet deep and brick lined, still containing six feet of water (covered with Lexan for safety, but the bottom is clearly visible). The other historic dependency accommodating guests today is the 19th-century cottage where the plantation cook lived, today enhanced with covered porch swing, back deck with BBQ grill overlooking duck pond, double Jacuzzi, working fireplace, queen bed and full kitchen.


Lighthouse Inn at Point Cabrillo, Mendocino, CA: Winner of the 2007 Governors Award for Historic Preservation, and the 2007 Outstanding Historic Preservation Project from the California Preservation Foundation, this romantic inn, a restored 1909 lightkeeper's house, overlooks the active Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, 270-acre Nature Preserve and the Pacific Ocean. Accommodations include rooms with private baths, gourmet breakfasts each morning and a private night time tour of the lighthouse and its working 3rd order Frensel lens. All net revenues derived from the inn and public donations are invested in the restoration, reconstruction, maintenance, educational programs, and operational management of the light station.

Two Harbors Lighthouse B&B, Two Harbors, MN: Built in 1892, this working lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As assistant lighthouse keepers, guests work with the lighthouse staff to contribute to the preservation of this historic navigational aid. The four guest rooms share a common bath along with an inviting living and dining room. A Scandinavian breakfast is served each morning. Guests learn about the history of the lighthouse, and proceeds contribute to the restoration and maintenance of this historic lighthouse treasure.

Quirpon Lighthouse Inn, Quirpon Island, Newfoundland, Canada: Quirpon (pronounced like harpoon) presents the unique island experience of a 1922 lightkeeper's home on the shores of "Iceberg Alley." Fully restored by a local tour company, the inn features 10 guest rooms in two houses at the base of an operating lighthouse. Included in the price of a stay is the 45-minute boat tour to get to the inn, along with all meals. A helipad, boat dock and whale watching station for spotting the numerous humpback, minke and orca whales also serves as a good lookout for watching icebergs float by.


Noftsger Hill Inn B&B, Globe, AZ: Originally built in 1907 and closed in 1981, the former elementary school classrooms are now unusually spacious guestrooms, each with a sitting area and fireplace. Former cloakrooms now house palatial bathrooms, and original chalkboards in guest rooms are "decorated" with comments from past guests including former students and teachers. The inn houses a collection of mining era and school memorabilia including class photos, books and desks. Miner-sized breakfasts are served in the kindergarten room. Generations of successful Arizonans were educated here, including Rose Mofford, former Arizona governor.

Carr Manor, Cripple Creek, CO: What was once the Cripple Creek High School is today a delightfully appointed boutique inn, and is one of only two of the original 17 Mining District schools still standing. It served as a school for over 70 years, educating such notables as former Colorado Governor Ralph Carr. The school was first renovated as a small hotel in 1983, then was further restored and enhanced in 2003 by the Ledford family. The manor still retains blackboards in each room on which guests scroll romantic missives and proposals of marriage. The ballroom sports the stage where students performed, and the grand central staircase brings back the days when students scrambled to get to class.

Lebanon Schoolhouse B&B, Delores, CO: The original Greek Revival-style schoolhouse was constructed in 1907 to serve the now defunct town of Lebanon. Restored to life as a B&B in the 1980s, the original merry-go-round still remains in the schoolyard grounds of the inn. Old-fashioned phones and the school's grandfather clock adorn the common areas. Guest rooms are named after school memories -- including the Art Room, Recess, Social Study and more -- and have Mission-style furniture, platform beds, and vaulted ceilings. The former teacher's quarters, built in 1920, has been converted to a private garden house.

Davie School Inn & Banquet Center, Anna, IL: In 1869, the town of Anna floated bonds to raise the $22,000 needed to build an elegant three-story brick edifice to educate the town's burgeoning population. Closed in 1996, the school sat empty until it was restored by Gary and Andrea Dahmer in 2002, who preserved the atmosphere of the old schoolhouse while adding modern comforts and conveniences. Although each former classroom still has an original chalkboard and bookcase, and the original hardwood floors still show the marks made by students' desks, the private bathrooms have double whirlpool tubs, and air-conditioning guarantee comfort. Rates start at $100 per night, making the math easy.

Stoneover Farms B&B, Lenox, MA: The 600-square-foot School House Suite is a completely renovated 1850 school building sitting by a pond with views all around of woods, water, fields and a barn.

School House B&B, Rocheport, MO: This historic circa 1914 schoolhouse, once an institution of learning for ages 5-18, is now a luxurious 10-room bed and breakfast inn, only two blocks from the scenic Katy Trail. Beautifully restored and decorated, this inn combines the charm of old-fashioned school desks and blackboards with the comforts that guests seek, including double whirlpool tubs and in-room fireplaces. So authentic that Hallmark was inspired to choose this B&B for a series of greeting cards, it has been featured in cookbooks, guidebooks, magazines, TV shows and newspapers.

Inn at Bingham School, Chapel Hill, NC: Operating from 1845-1865, the Bingham School served as a preparatory school for young men seeking entrance to the University of North Carolina at nearby Chapel Hill. Although the school itself is no longer standing, the headmaster's home, listed in the National Historic Registry, has received an award for its meticulous restoration.

Washington School Inn, Park City, UT: The original limestone three-room schoolhouse was built in 1889 for $13,000; desks, furniture and fixtures cost $698. In 1984, renovations began to transform the school into an elegant inn. Over the years, former students have shared reminiscences of ringing the school bell, raising the flag as a reward for good behavior, and lining up outside the building each morning to march into their classrooms. The coal chute in the lower level of the building -- now the location of the spa and private ski locker facility -- was a popular place for mischievous behavior. Guestrooms with names such as Ms. Thatcher, Ms. Evans, and Ms. Hager remind guests not to forget the three R's.

Barclay Cottage, Virginia Beach, VA: Built as a private home in 1895, it was converted into Miss Barclay's School in 1921. Miss Lillian Barclay taught kindergarten through third grade in the building for the next 50 years, all while continuing to accept overnight guests. Lillian closed the school in 1972 when she was 80, but she continued to host guests and live in her home until she passed away in 1989. Restored as a B&B, Miss Barclay's School/Barclay Cottage was totally modernized with all new electrical wiring, plumbing and central heat and air conditioning. Wicker rockers grace the porch, and guests can still borrow books from the inn's library just as they could from the school in the past.

Wilson Schoolhouse Inn, La Crosse, WI: Built as a one-room rural school in 1917, the Wilson Schoolhouse closed in 1965. Restored and elegantly furnished to retain the open atmosphere of the original schoolhouse, this B&B still maintains much of its original character and charm, with the original slate blackboard and school desks. It sits on 10 rural acres surrounded by woods, hills and gardens. Where children used to play hide-and-seek, guests now enjoy solitude and nature, although children are still invited to stay, run and play.

Old Schoolhouse B&B, Waukau, WI: This former 1926 schoolhouse still retains some of the original blackboards and desk chairs. Today the four homerooms (guestrooms) are named for teachers who taught here. The original hardwood floors remain throughout the inn; though refinished, they still retain the marks where desks and chairs were once fastened down. For those whose favorite memory was "library time," you'll still find one in the loft here, and games and puzzles are available to entertain guests aged 12 and up.

Amber House, Nelson, New Zealand: This single-story house was a private boarding and day school for girls and boys. Founded in 1906, the owner and principal of the school, Ms. Janetta Hormsby, was a teacher of pianoforte, theory, singing, elocution, and languages.


Historic Jacob Hill Inn, Seekonk, MA: Formerly the Jacob Hill Hunt Club from 1920-1940, the building was a gathering place for the affluent of nearby Providence, Rhode Island. The Hunt Club members included such names as Vanderbilt, Chaffee, Gladding and Firestone. The Hunt Club was dissolved in 1943, and the building became a private residence until 1991 when it was converted into an inn. Remnants of the inn's Hunt Club days include the door knocker, the servant's call box, and antique wainscoting from the Men's Smoking Room.

Idleyld Lodge Inn, Idleyld Park, Oregon: This historic lodge was originally a gathering place and trading post for the local Indians who fished at the nearby Nort Umpqua River Narrows and traded with mountain men and pioneers. In the 1920s, it was converted to an open-air pavilion as part of an amusement park, and then converted to a B&B, where the knotty pine walls are still reminiscent of its history.

Sun and Cricket B&B, Gibsonia, PA: Once a dance hall on a farm owned by H.J. Heinz Co. of ketchup and pickle fame, present owners disassembled this 200-year-old structure piece by piece with the help of Amish carpenters, moving it five miles away to its present location. The former dance hall now serves as the barn and carriage house for this B&B.

Elkhorn Inn and Theatre, Landgraff, WV: Built in 1923 as the Empire Coal & Coke Company's Miner's Clubhouse, this historic "Coal Heritage Trail" building was flooded in 2001 and 2002. Saved from demolition, it was restored by the present owners as a B&B in 2003. The three-story Italianate brick and concrete building retains many of its original features including the "pay window", original hemlock banister, louvered doors and a 1923 gold-flecked tile bathroom floor.


B Lazy L at Willow Creek, Lewes, DE: The Cottage in the Dog Run, a pet-friendly cottage perfect for those traveling with Fido, was once a potting shed with an adjacent enclosure for pygmy goats. Now this fenced area makes a perfect dog run.

Big Mill Inn, Williamstown, NC: Owned by the same family that built this farmstead in 1922, where mules once slept and corn was once stored, guest rooms now have wi-fi, private fireplaces, kitchens and more. The two large rooms in the Pack House were once used to grade the tobacco for market. Original pine floors and hand-hewn cypress ceiling beams remain in another room once used to store corn, now called the Corn Crib Suite.

Elkhorn Valley Inn Bed and Breakfast, Lyons, OR: A former chicken coup and shed have been recycled into a 700-square-foot cottage with a spacious common area with kitchenette, rock fireplace, tall pine ceilings, and wood floors.

Glasbern, Fogelsville, PA: Seven beautifully restored barns from throughout the Pennsylvania countryside have been saved from destruction and carefully reconstructed on this 100-acre working farm. While heritage livestock still graze here, Amish carpenters have created a juxtaposition of the rustic and the luxurious in beautiful barn suites with lofts.

Creekview Cottage B&B, Muncy, PA: Stay in the Tree House Cottage, and you will hear the innkeeper tell stories of how she once collected eggs from this former chicken coop. Converted into a luxury cottage with gas fireplace and full kitchen, the architecture is country charm with a dose of sophistication.

Barons Creekside, Fredericksburg, TX: The owners here saved a 250-year-old farmhouse in Switzerland by dismantling and shipping all its doors and windows via container to Fredericksburg, where they recreated Swiss-style cabins. Modern and comfortable amenities now include everything from kitchens to I-Pod adapters.

Sunrise Farm B&B, Salem, SC: A grandson of Alec Moss (the original owner of what was then a 385-acre cotton and cattle farm) recalled racing with his cousins, arms full of cotton, to the porch of the 1890s corn crib, where the scale would tell them who had gathered the most cotton. The old corn crib was renovated in the 1980s to create a modern cottage, complete with central heat and A/C, kitchen, full bathroom, and gas log fireplace.


Timbercliffe Cottage B&B, Camden, ME: Formerly known as Edgecombe-Coles House, Timbercliffe Cottage now offers six guest rooms with private baths that boast the best of the old and new. Present owners meticulously repurposed a former apartment and rooming house to create a welcoming B&B with a front porch overlooking Penobscot Bay.

City Lights B&B, Ithaca, NY: Present owners completely renovated this 1860s Greek revival farmhouse from a nearly condemned four-unit apartment building that had been neglected for decades. Pet-friendly and family-friendly, its five guest rooms and suites make this the perfect vacation spot for those visiting this college town in the Finger Lakes.


Grey Whale Inn, Fort Bragg, CA: Originally built by the Union Lumber Company in 1915 as the Fort Bragg Hospital, renovation of the building as a B&B began in 1978, when it was the first B&B in town. The window through which doctors passed newborns from delivery room to nursery still exists. The delivery room is currently used as a display area for owner Mike Dawson's pottery. Although the guest rooms offer period charm and all modern conveniences, the ramped hallways date from its hospital days, making wheelchair access easy.

Colony Hospital B&B, Bishop Hill, IL: The original building, one of the first frame buildings erected in 1848, served as a first aid station and dispensary. In 1855, a hospital building was erected on this site with eight rooms for patients and two large west-facing porticos for fresh air. A barrel-roofed medical cellar located under the southwest wing of the building was used to store herbs and perishables. A picture of the medicine vault now hangs in the front hall of the B&B. The nurses' quarters were located on the third floor. It was also used to house Union soldiers during the Civil War. The hospital was turned into a B&B in 1996, after serving as an apartment building for a number of years

Lone Oak Cottage, Moss Point, MS: This B&B cottage was originally a dental office until Hurricane Katrina dumped seven feet of water on it, destroying everything in the building. Following a community plan to develop more walkable living and shopping areas in town, the owners turned this former dentist's office into a private cottage B&B with three bedrooms, two sitting rooms and a fully equipped kitchen.

LimeRock Inn, Rockland, ME: In Rockland, this inn is still known as Dr. Lawry's house. In 1950, Dr. Orem Lawry Jr. purchased the house and for almost 50 years operated his medical practice here. The current parlor served as a waiting room; the foyer was the reception area; and what is now called the Grand Manan guest room was Dr. Lawry's examination room. After Dr. Lawry's death, the house was finally rescued in 1994 by a New Hampshire couple who vacationed in Rockland and wanted to save the house from demolition or conversion to apartments. That was the year that Rockland's first bed & breakfast, The LimeRock Inn, was established.

Holladay House B&B, Orange, VA: This B&B has been recycled twice. It started out in 1830 as a mercantile operated by Dinkle and Rumbaugh, and then was turned into a residence. The building was again "recycled" into a functioning business on Main Street in 1899 when the Holladay family bought the property. Dr. Lewis Holladay housed his medical practice in the building while his family lived upstairs. As his family grew, so did the building. By 1917, the building was expanded to its current size. In 1989, the building passed to Dr. Holladay's grandson, Pete Holladay. He and his wife restored the house as a six room bed and breakfast.

The Old Doctors House B&B, Markt Einersheim, Bavaria, Germany: This restored Franconian property, originally built in 1792, served as a residence and doctor's office for four generations of doctors. Patients came to Nuernberger Strasse 5 for medical advice and help until 1996. Now owner Wolfram, a retired family practitioner, and his wife have turned the home into a B&B welcoming visitors from around the world.


The Featherbed Railroad Company B&B, Nice, CA: Located in the wine country about 125 miles north of San Francisco and set on the shores of Clear Lake, The Featherbed features real caboose cars that have been repurposed as guest rooms, each cheerfully painted and decorated with a theme. With names like Wild Wild West, Orient Express and La Loose Caboose (decorated bordello-style), rail fans can't miss at this caboose resting ground.

Red Caboose Getaway, Sequim, WA: This inn is a collection of restored cabooses, each uniquely themed and set on its own track. Each comes complete with all the amenities, most offering queen feather beds, gas fireplace, two-person whirlpools, TV/VCR, DVD, mini-fridge, hair dryer, in room coffee, and free WiFi. In keeping with the theme, guests stroll past the stationhouse and board the "The Silver Eagle" a private Zephyr dining car for a breakfast.


Goose & Turrets B&B, Montara, CA: The structure now housing this B&B opened for business on April 15, 1908, as the town hall, post office, and a general merchandise store. The Montara Sunday School met upstairs on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Today this B&B is the perfect accommodation for excursions to San Francisco, just 20 minutes away.

Landmark Inn at the Historic Bank of Oberlin, Oberlin, KS: The B&B consists of the Bank of Oberlin building, built in 1886; the Reeder Building, built in 1888; and the new Carriage House addition. The name of the inn was derived from two landmark events that helped shape Oberlin in the late 1800s -- the location of the U.S. Land Office and the arrival of R.A. Marks, who founded the Bank of Oberlin. The Landmark Inn offers seven guest suites, the Teller Room Restaurant & Coffee Bar, and an exercise room with turn-of-the-century equipment to challenge guests.

Ant Street Inn, Brenham, TX: Perhaps this B&B was the precursor to Wal-Mart. A late 1800s thriving business included a grocery, dry goods, feed store, saloon, and buggy shop. Upstairs was a ballroom, offices and meeting rooms for fraternal orders. The original freight elevator, once part of the dry goods store, is still intact in the middle of the Memphis Guest Room, serving as an architectural artwork. is the leading online bed and breakfast directory and reservation network worldwide, listing nearly 7,000 B&Bs and inns. A variety of search functions and extensive maps enable inngoers to find the perfect B&B. Travelers can make reservations online, purchase The Getaway Gift Card from, welcomed at nearly 4,000 B&Bs in the U.S. and Canada, subscribe to free newsletters, read and write independent reviews, and post questions on expert-hosted message boards.

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