Update: On March 16, 2013, I spoke to a couple who lived on a farm near here for decades, and frequently ate at the restaurant. They said it was famous for its fried chicken. I also went back to photographed the house in the fall of 2019. The windows have been boarded up and the building is secured, but otherwise looks to be in good shape structurally.
On US 24 through El Paso, Illinois, it’s impossible to miss this grand dame of the Italianate style, sitting in between the highway and the railroad tracks.
While obviously originally a single family house, and in my opinion, the most lavish in the entire town, it was later converted into a motel and dining room. Below you can see a postcard that featured the motel.
Efforts to save the building, which only closed in the last decade, are commencing, as you can read in the this newspaper article. I hope they’re successful.
I love the cupolas that are the feature of many Italianate houses; there really are houses in Italy that look like this, though they’re usually stone. The cupola was a vent that drew hot air out of the top of the building.
Much of the original woodwork remains, making this an attractive rehab opportunity.
Here is an old photograph of the house; apparently it was owned by one James H. Wathen, and originally featured an ornate front porch, which is now gone.