History of Sylvia's Irish Inn
Sylvia's Irish Inn is one of Urbana's finest examples of the Queen Anne style of Victorian architecture. It was designed by Rudolph Zachariah Gill, an 1887 graduate of the University of Illinois in architecture and engineering, and was built in 1895 for Dr. Austin Lindley, a prominent physician and surgeon for the Big Four Railroad in Urbana. The Lindleys lived there until around 1922. For a time Dr. Lindley used the first floor as his office and the family lived on the second floor. The house was empty from 1922 until 1942. For the last half century the house has been used for various commercial enterprises, the last of which was the Conservatory of Music of Central Illinois. In 1995, Norman and Carolyn Baxley refurbished the house, and with their friend Catherine Cutter, opened Lindley House Bed & Breakfast. In September 2003, Ernie and Sylvia Sullivan purchased Lindley House and have continued the restoration and appointment of the property. Most recently Lindley House was renamed Sylvia's Irish Inn as a tribute to Sylvia and her Irish heritage.
Architecture of Sylvia's Irish Inn
The imposing gables and asymmetrical massing gives Sylvia's a strong silhouette. The design is quite whimsical and charming with many irregular exterior details and a variety of mismatched palladian, baroque, and lancet windows. The front facade has two gables, an octagonal turret on the left corner, and a curved porch supported by carved wooden columns and decorated with radial brackets. Under the porch is a lovely beveled glass triptych window. Inside the house, intricate Victorian architectural details abound: inlaid parquet floors in the four public rooms, a magnificent oak gingerbread staircase, many original brass lighting fixtures, beveled and stained glass windows, butternut pocket doors, fireplace, and decorative woodwork. There are three queen bedrooms on the second floor, each with its own unique features, and a lofty king attic suite that accentuates the fanciful asymmetry of the house. Behind the house is the carriage house that has been converted into an apartment for the owner.