Realty Check: Out Of The Past

A beloved bed-and-breakfast needs new owners to keep its historic, hospitable spirit alive.
Photo courtesy Tom Cooper

FOR NEARLY a quarter of a century, the Life family has welcomed guests into The Looking Glass Inn, a stately mansion tucked among the trees in the Old Northside. Its curb appeal is timeless, with charm that begins the moment you pass through the wrought iron gate.

Jeneane Life owns the inn with her father, Ben. Their connection to the landmark goes back to 1998, when Ben and his wife bought it so they could live next door to their daughter’s family after her first child was born. For Jeneane, it was the perfect work-from-home arrangement. Her sons were lucky enough to spend their childhood dashing back and forth between home and the inn.

Photo courtesy Tom Cooper

In the family’s years of ownership, Jeneane has most enjoyed meeting visitors from all over the world and introducing them to Indy. “We have guests who have been staying with us annually for more than 20 years. Repeat customers are the best compliment,” Jeneane says. The inn’s prime location offers walkability to fabulous restaurants, coffee shops, and historic sites like the Benjamin Harrison Home and the Morris-Butler House.

At nearly 7,000 square feet and containing eight bathrooms, the Free Classic Queen Anne is larger than it appears. Six of the seven bedrooms include an en suite. The jewel-toned interior features stained glass accents, built-ins, pocket doors, and nooks and crannies the Life boys liked exploring.

Photo courtesy Tom Cooper

While it’s clearly suited to continue as a bed-and-breakfast, it also has appeal as a single-family home. It could also be reconfigured for two families. To Jeneane, it’s not as much about what The Looking Glass Inn becomes as it is about honoring everything it has been. “I just hope the new owners love the historic nature of the property.”

1319 N. New Jersey St., Indianapolis
PRICE $829,000 |AGENT Samuel Snell, Berkshire Hathaway, 317-985-9263