GALENA, Illinois – A Galena Bed and Breakfast is now the number one B&B in the country, but before it got that title it was once a jail.
It’s the place tourists escape to, but it once was the place people wanted to escape from.
“I have a lot of guests that are like,” well we’ve never been to jail”, says Innkeeper Matthew Carroll. “But I guess if this is what jail is like then we can go to jail.”
“It’s kind of an interesting juxtaposition,” says Carroll.
The Jail Hill Inn was once lined with cells and cold cement floors. Now, it’s a top destination that Carroll is proud of.
“People didn’t want to be here they wanted to run away from and now being the number one place in the country I think people form all over are going to stay here for sure,” Carroll comments.
This year the website TripAdvisor named the Jail Hill Inn the number one bed and breakfast in the country for 2019. It’s a crowning achievement for Carroll who started renovating the jail in 2015.
“This has that brick curved ceiling, which is that security feature back in the 1800’s because the sheriff or caretaker of the building would live in this space right there and then above use were the jail cells,” Carroll points out.
Carroll’s kept it authentic, like the original cement floor.
“They’d pour cement over the bricks below us and that was part of the security feature for the inmates,” Carroll says.
To the inscriptions on the wall from previous inmates.
But, this wasn’t your typical jail – not all inmates wanted to escape.
“It was a happy jail,” says Carroll. “It was more of a laid back drunken disorderly, bar fights, or domestic issues but you didn’t have a lot of trauma or drama.”
Today, the Jail Hill Inn is getting rave reviews from those who choose to be there. And receiving national attention for a hometown lock-up.
“Its culminated into this number one destination,” Carroll comments.
The Jail Hill Inn has six different rooms for guests to stay and is open year-round.