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The Elms Restaurant, El Paso, Revisited

Perhaps one of my most popular posts of all time, especially for one outside of St. Louis, is my original look at the Elms Restaurant in El Paso, Illinois, right on U.S. Highway 24.

The obvious changes are that many of the windows on the second floor, and all of the windows and doors on the first floor are now boarded up. I would say the cupola has been battered by the elements since 2012, as well.

I’m glad the town of El Paso is not choosing to demolish this beautiful house, which is such a great centerpiece of the community’s history.

But I understand that weather and time have a way of vetoing humans’ choices.

And unfortunately, I don’t have any way to help move this house and its accompanying restaurant building back into the occupied and renovated category.

3 Comments

  1. I love the Elms! It would be a terrible loss if it is ever demolished, but like you, I lack the wherewithal to move or restore it. So each time I am in the area it is with a certain degree of anticipation and/or dread as I drive by to see if it has become any better preserved, or not. Unfortunately, its usually the latter.

    I got to go inside one time, back in 2009 when it had a new (but apparently short-lived) owner who had plans to restore it. He’d teamed up with a “ghost-hunting” outfit out of Bloomington to offer a ghost-hunting open house, appropriate I suppose since it was shortly before Halloween. They were nice people, and let me walk all through the main house and the new (1960s-era?) addition on the north side, but we didn’t see any ghosts. The rooms upstairs are tiny, by the way. Unfortunately, whatever plans the new owner had for the place seemed to be for naught because it has done nothing but deteriorate ever since.

  2. I’ve stopped at El Paso a number of times. I was station in St Louis area, Scott Air Force Base, and would commute home to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area regularly. El Paso is on the route. The first time I saw this building, my jaw dropped. I am saddened to see the windows covered over now, but that should help maintain it until, hopefully, someone comes along and restores it.

    • I agree, we sometimes call this “mothballing,” and while maybe not attractive, for the long term, I think it will help preserve the building.

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