On Chris Lundy’s first date with his future wife, Jenny, he drove by the stately Victorian mansion on Main Street in Salem, Indiana and declared, “Someday I’m going to live in that house.” Forty years, three children, and five grandchildren later, the Bundy’s have now welcomed guests from all over the country and, several foreign countries, to share the hospitality of Gladden House Bed and Breakfast.
Bundy’s fascination with the Queen Anne Victorian started as early as his childhood when he would ride his bike past what he called, ‘the castle on Main Street,’ although at the time he had no knowledge of the house’s storied past. The house was built in 1898 by Martha Schultz who was a “working girl” in the red light district of Nashville, Tennessee. As she grew older she decided to return to her hometown and open her own “house of the evening.” She spared no expense furnishing the house with fine furniture, art and all the trimmings of the ostentatious Victorian Age. Just prior to opening the house, she married a colorful character by the name of Percy Gladden who listed his occupation on their marriage certificate as “cowboy.” Although it was a brief and stormy relationship, the house became known as Gladden House from that day forward.
The house changed owners five times over the decades before the Bundy’s purchased the home in 1978. Bundy related that he felt that eventual purchase was just meant to be. He noted that the house came up for sale during his freshman year of college, must to his dismay since a college student certainly couldn’t afford the purchase, but the owners took the house off the market after a week’s time deciding not to sell. Bundy called the owners and asked that should they ever decide to sell in the future to remember his name and that is just what transpired. Upon closing on the house, the owner mentioned that on the day Bundy called them as a college student they were installing a medicine cabinet and being a bit loose, she told her husband to go get the copy of the local paper on the table which had a feature in in with Bundy’s picture and a story about a college musical in which he was cast. She said, “I told my husband that if that young man likes our house that much, we’ll just put him in the wall.” Indeed, years later when Bundy renovated that bathroom, the paper was still there.
With their first jobs as teachers and their first child, the Bundy’s moved into the house of their dreams. Those dreams turned into the occasional nightmare as they embarked
on renovations erasing the misguided “modernizations” of the 1950s and returning the home to its original glory.
Upon their retirements from teaching and with their children on their own, the Bundy’s decided it only made sense to open their home as a bed and breakfast and share it with the public.
After a good deal of final renovations and updates, they opened Gladden House in February of 2013 with their first guests being a group of five from Australia.
Jenny commented that one of the most gratifying elements of operating the B&B is hearing the stories from the interesting guests from all over the country and world. While many guests include those attending weddings, funerals, family celebrations and doing genealogical research at the local museum complex, others simply visit their website and are fascinated with the house’s history or just the romance of the Victorian era.
The house is also a popular location for private dinner parties, as well as hosting small weddings in the formal gardens. In all, the house has twenty rooms, counting the wine cellar. The Bundys offer three bedrooms, a full breakfast, and evening beverages and snacks. Guests may also enjoy evenings on one of the many porches, in one of the several public rooms and grab a book to browse in the third floor library which has volumes dating to 1705.
Whether choosing the three-room Queen Anne Suite, the Queen’s Room or King’s Room, guests are always given one distinct instruction upon arrival…that being, to make themselves at home. As Jenny concluded, “They may come in as strangers, but we hope they leave feeling like family.”
Visit The Gladden House Bed and Breakfast at: GladdenHouseBandB.com.