Who’d have thought that little Peru, Indiana could be the birthplace of one of Indiana’s most famous sons? Composer and lyricist Cole Porter was born in Peru, Indiana and spent his first ten years at 17-19 South Huntington Street. It’s there that he composed several of his early songs, including “The Bob-O-Link Waltz.”
But some people fail to recognize history, even when they’re living in it, and the home was turned into a small apartment complex, which fell into disrepair and disrepute. But in 2003, the City of Peru took over the property, and the Ole Olsen Memorial Theatre purchased the property the following year. They spent the next four years returning it to its original 1891 condition (but with more modern amenities).
They also turned part of the home into the Cole Porter Inn, a B&B with a gift shop, reception area (Kate’s Parlor), and three suites: The Cole Porter Suite, The Anything Goes Suite, and The Night & Day Suite. (Hence my really bad pun as the headline.)
My friend, Cathy Day, actually grew up in Peru without ever knowing she shared a hometown with one of America’s “most prolific composers.” She was actually in New York when she made the discovery. Now she’s writing a book about his wife. (You may remember me mentioning her here in these pages; she wrote the book, A Circus In Winter, which some Ball State students turned into an awesome musical. Click that link to read my review from 2011.)
The Inn is now operated by John Kirk, chairman of the Cole Porter Festival (held in the first part of June every year) and President of the Ole Olsen Memorial Theatre board.