ABOUT OLD JAIL INN
The Old Jail Inn, also known as the original Parke County Sheriff's office and jail served the county from 1879 to 1998. It was also the residence for the sheriff and his family. The Italianate building is a brick typical of the late 19th century with a porch that was added in later years. Behind the jail is the boiler house that was something of a forerunner in the technology of the times because it used hot water heat that heated not only the sheriff's office and jail but was piped underground through a tunnel to heat the courthouse as well. The jail, courthouse and boiler room were designed by the same architect from Fort Wayne, Indiana, Thomas J. Tolan and Son. The boiler house was the site of the last hanging in Parke County, Earl Stout, 1888.
On December 23, 2009 Debra Olson sighted a round top steel door just inside the basement of the jail. Interested in using the door and two matching windows for a pending new home construction, she ventured just two blocks to find the owner of the building. PCI was lead by Kathy Hartridwr, and 20 minutes later she wrote a check for the steel, and made plans to remove after the out of state check cleared the bank! Returned 4 days later and Kathy informed her the door, windows and the building were hers! Leaving confused, shocked and overwhelmed she returned four days later to inspect what she now owned. Walking through the old, gross smelling and shambles of a building, it came to her, “it’s a bed and breakfast”! Not knowing anything about the industry, nor about remodeling a jail, she turned an eye sore into a world known inn! Scrapers, tons of debris, power sprayers, plumbers, electricians and 380 gallons of paint later, on her father’s birthday, May 31, 2010 she hosted her first guests.
The Old Jail Inn is a destination spot in a county with three state parks, a large biker bar and the most covered bridges in one county in the world. People have come from around the world to stay in jail. The Drunk Tank Winery is the only wine tasting bar in the county and proudly has its very own Old Jail Inn Red Wine made and bottled by Huber Winery in Borden Indiana.
During their stay, guests are encouraged to use the original jail clothes and uniforms to dress up and take pictures. We encourage groups to take over the entire Inn, so they can move around freely and enjoy the entire jail experience. The jail comfortably sleeps 18 people, but has the option to accommodate more with newly expanded sleeping options.
The story of the Old Jail has been reported in many newspapers across the world. National magazines and tv shows such as Midwest Living, Bagger World Magazine and HGTV have published articles and shows on the Old Jail Inn.
The success of this business as been the setting provided by the building itself in beautiful Parke County. But the continued success of the business lies in two people who stand by Debra’s side daily to make all of this possible. Since the beginning of conception Trina Poynter has been by Debra’s side, cleaning, building, serving wine and filing paperwork. Her continued dedication has been the stability of the unusual business. The other key ingredient to a personal balance and success in business is Greg Goluska. His many years experiences in business has been crucial to the success. His calm, encouraging and stable guide has allowed Debra to do what she does best- welcome everyone to the Old Jail. Many other people with positive attitudes and honest ways have walked through the trying times of owning an inn and also been helpful. Our motto from day one has been: come as strangers, leave as friends!
ABOUT THE DRUNK TANK
Just below the historic Old Jail Inn is the Drunk Tank Winery. A small eclectic place to gather with friends and family and enjoy a non traditional, unusual and entertaining wine tasting. You pick your taste- dry or sweet! We teach you how to taste wine and laugh at yourself while enjoying the education.
The Drunk Tank’s success comes from the “ wine tender”. Trina Poynter, Greg Goluska or Debra will teach you how to “slurp, chew and swallow”. Like no other wine tender in the world, Trina will read your mind, make you laugh and crack jokes the entire time making it hard to leave but easy to return. Greg will teach you the fine art of chewing your mind and show you how to pair your wine with food. Debra usually ends up explaining how, where and why she has a wine bar in the basement of an old jail, with only a speak easy door missing to complete the earthy, organic experience of tasting wine.