A.C. Thomas House History
Carefully preserved history in a beautiful dwelling
- The house was built in 1899 (the late Victorian era) for A.C. Thomas, who triumphed over tragedy after being orphaned at age two, to become a highly successful businessman and a well-known advocate for Posey County.
- In 1914, President Taft rode in the vehicle of A.C. Thomas when he served as Grand Marshall for the New Harmony Centennial Parade and he reportedly stayed at the Thomas House.We have a “President Taft Room” as a result.
- Members of the Thomas family occupied the house until 1994.At that time, the house was acquired by Scott and Nancy McDonald.They embarked upon a meticulous restoration of the main floor and second floor of the house and succeeded in having the property listed on the National Register of Historic Places.It was during this time that the wallpapering was done, the push button light switches were installed, several bathrooms were added.After their amazing renovations, the McDonalds used the house for a bed & breakfast for 5 years (from 1995 to 2000) and were well known for their hospitality.
- How the house was used from 200 to 2005 is less clear, but retired Colonel Darvin Barnes and his wife Judy purchased it from a bank (following foreclosure, presumably) in 2005 to use as one of their five personal residences!The Colonel and his wife loved to shop for antiques.When they acquired the house, it was empty.They scoured estate sales and antique stores and auctions across the country to acquire period-appropriate furniture and accessories.The Colonel also turned the attic into a beautiful third floor master suite and performed upgrades to the basement to allow it to be occupied as an apartment so there would always be someone there while the Colonel and his wife were away.The Barnes added a half bath on the first floor and also had the elevator installed in the house.It stops on every floor, from the basement to the attic plus at ground level, so a person can see every part of the house without having to climb a single step.
- The Barnes decided to have the house auctioned off with all of its furnishings in May, 2017.It was acquired by a group consisting of Mary Beth and Michael Guard (who also own Capers Emporium and had come to New Harmony from Oklahoma when Mary Beth’s mother decided to move into assisted living in New Harmony); Jenefer Duane and her husband Ron Spinhoven, who split their time between D.C. and North Carolina; and Elaine Dodd from Oklahoma City.Jenefer, Ron, and Elaine had never been to New Harmony and had never set foot in the house when they took a leap of faith and collectively agreed to go in with the Guards to acquire the property at auction.The group formed InnHarmony, LLC, and set about the many, many tasks required to convert the property from a private residence into a bed & breakfast once again.The first B&B guests were welcomed in late July, 2017.
- In addition to optimizing the house for B&B use, the owners made restoring the gardens a priority.Guests can enjoy a wide variety of flowering plants, along with hummingbirds and butterflies.Another special spot to gather is the spacious front porch, which overlooks Church Park.Most New Harmony attractions are just a block or two away from the house.
- The house features five Victorian-themed bedrooms (each with a private bath), as well as two suites – the Loft Suite on the 3rd floor and the Gallery Suite on the lower level.Guests are treated to elegant tablescapes with fabulous breakfasts and gracious and friendly service from Clarissa Powell, House Manager, and Sarah Marshall, Assistant House Manager.
- The house is filled with interesting artifacts and special touches.See the angels reading under the library table.Check out the two sets of pocket doors.Listen to the story about the “paid-off mortgage light” and ask where the secret compartment is that holds 3 twelve foot Christmas trees and more!The house will be featured on the Christmas in New Harmony Home Tour the first Sunday in December, from 10 to 4 and is used for concerts, weddings, teas, parties, in addition to B&B rentals.