About Leather Leaf Inn
Nearly two centuries ago in the year 1816-1817, the Leather Leaf Inn structure served as a building for the Harmonist textile industry. It was converted to a residence in 1865 with the addition of a full kitchen, full bathroom and dining room. At this time, it was transformed into the Gothic Revival home you now see, a charming Bed and Breakfast located in historic New Harmony, Indiana.
Conveniently located at the corner of North and Brewery Street, the Leather Leaf Inn is directly across from the entry building at the New Harmony Inn Resort and Conference Center. It is a block from the Roofless Church and two blocks from the downtown shops. Leather Leaf Inn consists of two second-floor bedrooms with private sinks in each room and a shared full bathroom. An additional full bath is located on the first floor, as is the Innkeeper's quarters.
Proprietors Kent and Suzy Schuette purchased the home in 2001 and continues to restore and renovate one of New Harmony’s original structures. A delicious breakfast will be served each morning and may be extended to include friends who have other accommodations in New Harmony for a nominal charge. The events, gardens, and unique shops of this nationally revered historic community await your arrival.
The History of New Harmony
Nestled along the southern border of Illinois and Indiana lies the charming town of New Harmony. Filled with rich history and a thriving community, the town attracts curious visitors from around the country who are yearning for a taste of the past.
During the beginning of the 19th century, the small town of New Harmony was the site of two attempts to build utopian communities. The first of these communities was called “Harmonie,” and was founded by a group of Separatists from the German Lutheran Church. They called themselves the Harmonie Society. The Harmonie Society cultivated and grew the new town of Harmonie for a little over ten years, from 1814 to 1825. Due to their unheard of economic success, the community became known as “The Wonder of the West.”
Nearly a decade after its founding, the small town was sold to a man by the name of Robert Owen. Mr. Owen was a philosopher and an industrialist, and desired to use the land for his communitarian experiment. He wanted to create a utopian society by dissolving social classes, abolishing personal wealth, and offering free education. He encouraged many well-known scientists and teachers to settle in his rising utopian society. With the steady assistance of his partner, William Maclure, the community introduced both social and educational reforms to the United States.
Today, residents of New Harmony enjoy its rich history and slower pace of life. Antique stores, historical buildings, even artwork and architecture contribute to the unique blend of the past, present, and future. The town of New Harmony embraces peacefulness, self-discovery, and renewal. There is no better place for a visitor to relax, rejuvenate, and take a step back in time. The town of New Harmony welcomes you!
Meet the Innkeeper
Kent & Suzy
In 2002, Kent and Suzy purchased the property at 531 North Street in New Harmony, IN as a second home, a little get away spot in a lovely little community on the banks of the Wabash River.
What started out as a minimal clean-up, paint and move in scenario morphed into a complete gutting of the house to correct long ignored maintenance issues. This realization was actually a good thing, as we were able to re-wire and re-plumb the house and add a full bath up. Likewise, while under construction and during a heavy rain storm, it was revealed we had some major leaks in our roof, so we re-roofed the house at that time. Bringing this original Harmonist building back to some glory has been an ongoing labor of love. We are now in the throes of adding a complementary addition to our home and plan to move to New Harmony full time after Kent retires from Purdue University in May of 2018.
Before we were married, we found ourselves on the startup board of a local preservation organization in Lafayette, IN. Kent has served on the National Trust for Historic Preservation Board of Advisors and the state preservation board, currently named, Indiana Landmarks.
Kent also served on the board of Preservation Action, Washington, DC. In our travels in and out of the country, we have always been drawn to historic properties and gardens. We feel so fortunate to have been introduced to New Harmony in the early 1980’s, a town fraught with historic homes, buildings, and gardens.
Leather Leaf Inn was built in 1816-1817 not as a home, but as a selling building for woolens and silk. In 1865 the building was added on to and converted into a residence. We believe that at that time it was renovated and turned into the Gothic Revival home you see today. A wall on the stairway landing reveals the original Harmonist construction, with its z-shaped joining of beams and pegs that were used to fasten pieces together, without nails. The original poplar flooring is intact in the original structure. As mentioned above, we are currently adding on to the property, adhering to the Secretary of Interior guidelines. The original structure has a permanent easement held by Indiana Landmarks.
Kent is currently on the Board of Directors of the Robert Lee Blaffer Foundation, and serves as chairman of the Endowment and Development Committee, and is a member of the Building & Grounds Committee and a member of the Arts & Artifacts Committee. After dark, you may come upon Kent doing his usual rounds of checking on the various lights!! A night walk of New Harmony is an experience you shouldn’t miss.
Suzy’s passion has been more directed in the food and hospitality endeavors. Her experiences include restaurant ownership, party catering, seminars, and symposiums. She served as head cook for a 120 member Purdue sorority. In retirement, Suzy decided that she wanted to fulfill a dream she had always had by running a bed and breakfast. Kent, willingly agreed!! After retirement for Kent, he plans to write & sketch.