For over 150 years, a historic school known as Arcadia Academy has been a landmark in the scenic southeast region of Missouri.
It was built in 1846 south of Ironton as a Methodist high school and served as a hospital for Union soldiers during the Civil War.
After the war, the campus was sold to the Ursuline Order, where Catholic nuns transformed the space into a prestigious school for girls.
A number of buildings were added during this time, including a theater, gymnasium, the St. Joseph's Chapel and other wings.
The last graduating class passed through the doors of the academy in 1971, according to the website.
Arcadia Academy is now home to a variety of attractions, including a restaurant, bakery, ice cream parlor, chapel, antique mall, event spaces and bed and breakfast accommodations.
It largely retains its historical architecture, mostly late Victorian or revival, all from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Not much has been significantly altered since the campus closed to students, according to the National Register of Historic Places. "The growth of the trees found there may well constitute the most notable change on the campus," the document reported.
Garrison Christodora is one of the eight owners of Arcadia Academy, along with seven other members of his family. They acquired the property in March and plan to continue to highlight its historical significance.
"It's so unique that we're never going to see it in our lifetime again," Christodora said. "If the building wasn't here, we'd be missing a lot of history."
Visitors are welcome to see the craftmanship themselves during guided tours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Friday and Saturday.
Christodora said each tour across the campus highlights the halls of the old girls' school, the 1920s theater and chapel and other important markers, plus giving an in-depth narrative of Arcadia Academy's history.
Tours cost $7.50 per person and last 45 minutes to an hour.
Arcadia Academy also houses two bed and breakfast facilities in the historic Priest's House and Laundry House for those wishing to spend more time soaking in the history.
The Priest's House holds five rooms and is connected to the main building. The Laundry House has four rooms that are more modern, including a bridal suite and a penthouse, plus a common space and event area, Christodora said.
Every stay includes breakfast available only to guests.
Rates for rooms start at $129 per night but may vary depending on availability.
Thee Abbey Kitchen is also on site with a restaurant, bakery and creamery. Fresh bread and buns are baked daily. The cinnamon rolls are popular, and new ice cream flavors are continuously on rotation, Christodora said.
Restaurant menu items include salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers and hand-battered chicken.
Christodora said he and his family hope to add more attractions in the months to come.
Thee Abbey Kitchen is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday. Catering on and off-site is also available.
Arcadia Academy has several spaces for events, as well. Whether it's for a birthday, anniversary or business outing, Christodora said there is a space to accommodate it.
A murder mystery dinner is held once a month, and the gymnasium is large enough to stage concerts in the future. Upcoming events may include piano wars, comedians, musicians, plays, festivals, health conferences and car shows.
The historic St. Joseph Chapel, built in 1908, is available for weddings, too. The website likens the experience in the historic chapel with its large stained glass windows to a fairy tale.
"Most people when they come here, they're just blown away by all the uniqueness that it has to offer," Christodora said. "It's hard to just put one word to it. It's one of those things you have to see it and be able to take the tour."