Real estate

Listing of the week: County jail turned bed & breakfast

July 24, 2013 at 3:46 PM ET

The current owner of the Parke County Jail was touring it and asked to buy the steel door. She was told she couldn't buy the door but could buy the whole jail, which she did on a whim. She turned it into a private home and bed and breakfast.
Zillow
The current owner of the Parke County Jail was touring it and asked to buy the steel door. She was told she couldn't buy the door but could buy the whole jail, which she did on a whim. She turned it into a private home and bed and breakfast.

127 S. Jefferson St., Rockville Ind.

For sale: $359,900

Most people would probably not think of buying a former prison and turning it into a home. And most probably wouldn't think of opening a bed and breakfast where inmates have slept.

Yes, there are still bars on doors. They couldn't be removed because of how securely they are entrenched in the building's foundation.
Zillow
Yes, there are still bars on doors. They couldn't be removed because of how securely they are entrenched in the building's foundation.

But for those who can imagine owning a place with literally cell-like bedrooms, there's a place in Indiana for you.

The Parke County Jail remained in use from its construction in 1870 to 1998. From there, it sat empty until the current owners paid a visit to Rockville.

"The owners were touring the jail," said listing agent Wendy Buckler of Buckler Realty, LLC. "All she [one of the owners] wanted was to buy the steel door. They told her that they wouldn't sell her the door but the whole jail."

So, on a whim, they did buy the whole thing and began the process of turning it into a private home as well as a bed and breakfast.

As far as original features go, the jail has not changed much. The sheriff's office and a few larger holding cells were turned into suites, and the remaining cells were transformed into smaller bedrooms. Although the rooms have better furniture than you'd expect to see in a prison, the bars are still intact.

"The only way to take out the bars would be to destroy the foundation," Buckler explained. "The bars are buried in 18 inches of concrete."

The bars can still have control panels to lock rooms, but Buckler assures "they don't ever lock people in."

The basement of the former jail.
Zillow
The basement of the former jail.

Upstairs, additional offices — Buckler believes they were once administrative offices — were transformed into a one-bedroom private residence that includes all the features expected in a home: dining room, living room, kitchen and laundry room.

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Erika Riggs, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties and home design trends. Read more of her work here.

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