The Grant Street Inn celebrated 30 years since CFC Properties rescued the historic Ziegler House and turned it into a boutique inn with an exhibit commemorating the history of the inn including photos, informational plaques and a video on display at the Fountain Square Mall.
May 1 marked the inn’s 30th anniversary, and the exhibit opened May 10. The video will be viewable until June 7, while the photos and informational plaques will remain on display until August 2. After the exhibit closes, the photographs and plaques will be used to decorate the Grant Street Inn, CFC Properties Marketing Specialist Rebecca Ellison said.
The exhibit tells the history of the Grant Street Inn, beginning with the relocation of the Ziegler House. The Ziegler House, built in 1883 by a former dean of IU School of Law, was in danger of being torn down in the 1990s. Bill and Gayle Cook, founders of CFC Properties and Cook Medical Group, purchased the building for just $20 and relocated it to its current location at 310 N. Grant Street, according to the Grant Street Inn website.
“It could've very easily been demolished and gone forever,” CFC Properties President Jim Murphy said. “Now we have this beautiful house that’s over 100 years old is still being productive in this community to this day.”
According to the inn’s website, much of the original 1880s Victorian structure remains, including the flooring and wrap-around porch. The Grant Street Inn now consists of five buildings that take up an entire block of Grant Street, all of which mimic the original style of the Ziegler House.
“I think it's important that people understand the story of the Grant Street Inn and where it came from and what it means to keep it as opposed to one day letting it turn into another apartment house or something,” hospitality manager Paul Wagoner said.
The exhibit also celebrates the inn’s reopening, after closing for almost four months due to lack of business amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. According to its website, the inn closed January 16 and reopened May 1, on its 30th anniversary.
“When Grant Street Inn's future was being questioned, we thought this would be a good way for us to put in front of people exactly why the Grant Street Inn means so much,” Wagoner, who has worked at the inn for 18 years, said.
The inn celebrated its 20th anniversary with a street fair with ice cream, popcorn and live music, Wagoner said. While unable to host a large event for the 30th anniversary, the exhibit is a way to educate the community about why Grant Street Inn matters without violating COVID-19 guidelines.
“It's not just a building that we built in this neighborhood and made it a hotel. We save these structures, we save this part of Bloomington history. There's a reason to save this property, Wagoner said. “It's not just a building. It has a story."