PARKE COUNTY, IN (WTWO/NBC) - An old, closed down jail has a new life after a Park City, IN, woman converted it into a prison-themed bed and breakfast.
Their motto is, "You come as a guest, but you leave as a friend." But at this place, guests are more like inmates.
The bed and breakfast is the renovated remains of Parke County's jail, which was in use from 1879 through 1998.
"It's not just staying at any bed and breakfast. It's an experience all the way through," said owner Debra Ackerman.
The building sat vacant until last year, when Ackerman tried to buy something in the basement.
"I only really wanted the door, but they wouldn't sell the door, so I had to buy the whole place," she said.
Ackerman quit her corporate job and spent four months renovating the space.
"My family, they thought I was crazy. Especially my grand kids because they told everyone their grandma was in jail," she said.
The former jail opened as a B&B last May.
"Inmates" at the Old Jail Inn stay in actual jail cells, complete with working bars.
There are nine rooms total. The first floor cell block has five 7x7 cells.
Inmates share the bathroom, and the original shower the prisoners used.
"We have a lot of people that come here who worked here, or had arrested someone here, or a few who have been arrested," Ackerman said.
Upstairs, once murderers' row, is now home to two suites that are very private.
Every inch of the inn is reminiscent of the original tenants, including bars on the windows and metal food trays.
The building itself dates back 141 years, and nothing inside of it, including tables, chairs and decorations, is new.
"Nothing was bought in a store brand new. Everything was reused and re-purposed, and we're really proud of that," Ackerman said.
With the first-year success of the B&B, Ackerman bought the property next door, and within just 30 days turned it into the Old Jail Coffee House.
"I've always loved this drunk tank. From the first time that I saw it I thought it was the craziest thing I'd ever seen. It has the tunnel to the courthouse. It's just an unusual crazy place to be," she said.
So Ackerman decided to turn the drunk tank into a winery.
They've also created their very own Drunk Tank Wine in addition to the other local varieties they sell.
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