Community Spotlight: Jail Hill Inn


For about a hundred years, the Jo Daviess County Jail was home to inmates who committed crimes.

“The jail cells was on the 3rd and 4th floor of the building, the Sheriff and the family or the caretaker of the jail would live in the 2nd floor and the first floor is where they would process the inmates, the kitchen, the boiler room and where they had the dispatch center as well,” said Innkeeper Matthew Carroll.

Now, it serves as a different type of lodging.

“We have a lot of wonderful hotels and bed and breakfast, but wanted to come in and give galena a luxury property also…”

Tucked a block away from the Galena shopping district, guests can bunker down on a luxury experience at the Jail Hill Inn.

“Here we have private bathrooms and we have individual dining tables as well, so this has a boutique hotel feel with the spacious rooms and layout.”

Matthew Carroll bought the property in 2015, after it sat in foreclosure for five years.

 “The building was in a very sad stage. I was like gosh if we can just kind get it turned around there’s no reason it can’t be a popular spot for people to enjoy.”

Carroll was able to put to some new and creative use in every part of the jail without compromising much of the original character.

“The windows from the first and second floor are original. And we have a room where we have the prisoner’s names etched into the window seals. “ 13

And was even able to add some extra special touches.

“That juxtaposition, you have a 140 year old building…but yet everything has been modernized…bubble message tubs…”

Carroll says, this is the one slammer guests tell him they would like to be locked away in and wish the key were thrown away.

“Like this is the nicest jail we’ve ever seen. Or maybe they’ve never been to jail before so then they’re like we’ve never been to jail, but if this what jail is like then we should get in trouble more often.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.