New Inn Will Offer Services from the ‘Heart’

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - For many people, simply owning a home is part of their American dream.  But for Melanie Johnson, owning a historical home and turning it into a bed and breakfast is part of her dream.

"We feel like such a treasure as this, we are keepers of history for a time," she said.

Turning the 160-year-old Napoleon Stone Mansion into the renovated Silver Heart Inn is a 25-year-old dream come true for Melanie.  She and husband Perry expect to open it to guests this fall.

"I'd like to keep the house to preserve it, to continue it and exist long after we're gone," Perry said.

"When you have a historical property like this, how you make it count for people is to give them a historical experience," Melanie continued.  "If they can come in and partake in some of that history, they own it.  They start to become a part of that history."

As a whole, Independence has welcomed the idea of a new guest house, especially because it could mean more money flowing through the city's restaurants, shops and tourist attractions.

"When you look at bed and breakfast and you look at inns the audience they attract is very affluent," said Tom Lesnak, the Independence Council for Economic Dev. president.  "They have a lot of control of their time.  They are somewhat free spenders.  They have disposable income and that's something we look at from an economic stand point.

Before Silver Heart Inn can open its doors, the historic home must undergo renovations to its floors and fixtures, as well as a complete installation of a sprinkler system for fire safety.

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