319 Meeker St. Galena, IL 61036


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Jail Hill Inn Blog

The Exciting Transition: Neglected Old Jail to a Luxury Small Inn

Demolition and reconstruction is now in its 7th month and it has been an amazing journey.  Filled with highs and lows and still about two months to go until Jail Hill Inn will welcome its first overnight guests. In the end, from purchase of the building, securing the needed permits, demolition and full reconstruction – the project will have taken a year.  As construction enters its nearly final phase, the focus is on insulation, drywall, taping walls and priming.  Then final paint will put put on the walls, along with trim, doors, hardware, lighting and flooring.  The coordination of workers can be complex with so many projects relying on something else to be done before it can be.

In a couple weeks, Jail Hill Inn will be part of the 48th Annual Tour of Homes in Galena.  The property will not be complete, but will welcome close to 1000 people through its doors to discuss the history and purpose of the building from 1879 and get a sneak peak of how it will look when its complete.

In the next few weeks, Jail Hill Inn’s website will be redesigned and the online reservation system will be up to start taking reservations.  Keep checking this site and the Facebook page as we continue to detail the progress and final stages!

The Summer of Progress

July has been a busy and exciting month at Jail Hill Inn.  With construction nearing the halfway point, much focus has been put on final framing of rooms, how electrical, plumbing and heating/cooling will lay out.  In addition, Jail Hill Inn and myself were featured on KCRG-TV 9 (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) on a special segment showcasing young entrepreneurs in Galena.  The positive feedback has been incredible with this large and complex project.  I have been spending my days picking out furniture, design concepts, flooring, towels, sheets, appliances, window treatments and many more items that will be required to be ready for opening day.  Below are some fun photos of the exterior and progress thus far.  Enjoy and I look forward to updating on an official opening day soon and launch of the online reservation system, etc.

June: Four Months Away from Opening

Summer and warm weather is in full swing in Galena and things are getting really busy at Jail Hill Inn.  Carpenters, plumbers and electricians are in the building everyday working floor by floor and old walls are being taken out and new walls are being constructed.  In the end, when construction is complete, Jail Hill Inn will have 7 new bedrooms, 9 new bathrooms, 6 sitting rooms, 8 fireplaces, 1 kitchen, 2 laundry rooms, 1 dining room capable of hosting 15 people and three new staircases in 8,000 square feet of renovated space between four floors.  Oh, and one really big stone wall outside!

Jail Hill Inn is also excited to announce that the property will be featured in this year’s Historic Tour of Homes in Galena on September 26 and 27, 2015.  The property was featured several years back under different ownership and not the entire property.  This year, all four floors will be viewable as finishing touches may still be underway as we prepare for the October opening for the business.  This will be a great opportunity to tour the property and learn some of the history of the building while seeing all the exciting changes the renovation has created.

Coming to life in May

It’s been an exciting month as intense focus has been given to the exterior property at Jail Hill Inn.  On May 5th, work began to tear down and rebuild the stone wall that is along the driveway.  With the help and expertise from Vincent’s Earthmoving in Elizabeth, Illinois, a new taller and more substantial wall was built and completed on May 12.  Over 70 tons of stone were put in place and the wall spans nearly 20 feet in some parts.  This wall not only enhances the property appearance, but also stabilizes the neighboring property and allows for proper water run off .

In addition to the stone wall, the ornate and original fence in front of Jail Hill Inn was completed on May 12.  The fence was originally white and was painted a glossy black to better blend in with the property and showcase the building.  Numerous hours were required to paint, given the detail and angles that were needed to be painted.  I have even had help from some of my neighbors on the project and everyone is excited, to see it complete

Inside, Jail Hill Inn has been undergoing major demolition work to prepare as contractors begin the construction inside very soon.  Existing walls that will no longer be needed or need to move, based on the newly designed plans, are being taken out.  Existing bathroom fixtures that show age and distress have been removed and discarded, to give way for the 7.5 new bathrooms that will be added to the building.  Water and electricity were tuned on in the building recently as the property had incurred frozen and burst pipes from its sitting vacant for 2 years.  The broken pipes were shut down or repaired and everything is in great working order.

I have also been continuing my work with the State of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency with acquiring historic tax credits with Jail Hill Inn.  These credits provide financial relief to property owners who are renovating historic buildings.  There is an extensive application process, site visit and importance given to maintain as many original and historic features as possible.  I look forward to continuing my steps with the agency and showing my exciting vision with this historic and important structure in the city of Galena.  Here is the link that detail the historic tax credits:  https://www.illinois.gov/ihpa/Preserve/Pages/Funding.aspx

Thank you to everyone who has shared in my excitement and has stopped by to see the property or liked us on Facebook, etc.  Your feedback and support are important in this process and I’m so excited to share this journey as it continues.

I hope everyone has a productive and healthy rest of the month and look forward to sharing more updates soon!  Cheers!


April at Jail Hill Inn

Spring is in the air all over and it’s very exciting to see things come to life at Jail Hill Inn.  With this being my first spring at the property, it’s a fun mystery to see different bushes and flowers coming up around the yard and many ideas of enhancing and expanding the outdoor appearance of the property.  With the warmer weather I have begun painting the ornate fence in front of the inn from white to black!  Black will be a wonderful backdrop and complement the bricks nicely and is a wonderful clean and classic look for a property such as this.

Inside Jail Hill Inn, we recently said goodbye to the large spiral staircase that was on the first and second floor.  The staircase was determined to not be necessary as it took up a large portion of the first floor lounge and dining area and also took up 1/3 of the second floor, which will be replaced with the floor being put back in and making a very stately and charming second floor guest suite for guests.

I have also been busy meeting with contractors, finalizing bids, plans, measurements and working closely with the bank and the financial team as we craft the next steps of Jail Hill Inn as it moves from the design phase to the implementation and actual construction phase for the next 4 months.

I will be setting up the Jail Hill Inn Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Foursquare, Google spots and Yelp and TripAdvisor once the business opens, later this year.  Please watch the site for those updates and look forward to following on social media as well!

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to sharing more exciting progress soon!

Matthew Carroll

Jail Hill Inn

Welcome to Jail Hill Inn in historic Galena, Illinois

Thank you for your interest with Galena’s newest lodging establishment.  I couldn’t be more excited to share my love for history, elegance and hospitality than with the creation of the new Jail Hill Inn which I purchased in January 2015. The building itself has unmatched history in the city of Galena, having been the county jail from 1879-1975. It’s solid and ornate construction will thrill the history and architectural seekers and it’s views of Galena and location to the downtown district are incredible. Currently the business just passed zoning in the city to become a 6 room small inn and I am going finalizing my architectural plans and getting bids from contractors for the build out.

There will be six guest suites on floors 2, 3 and 4 with the first floor featuring the lobby, dining room, lounge, kitchen and innkeeper’s quarters.  Rooms are currently being designed with all the latest amenities while celebrating old world elegance and the local history.  I look forward to sharing the progress of the transformation of this project and encourage you to check back often and share with your friends. I hope to have Rooms open by October 1, 2015 or sooner and this page will have the latest news at all times with anything regarding the  Jail Hill Inn.

Thank you and I am so invigorated to turn a large dream of mine, into a reality and am so thankful to so many people out there that have made this moment possible for me!

Below are some beginning photos of the building exterior and interior and very special thank you to my friend, Fallon Oldenburg at www.fallondoyle.com for the the photo shoot and look for more fun photos from her!

Matthew Carroll


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