Sulfur Springs Hotel

     Located on Dee Bennett Road approximately .7 mile west of the Starved Rock Marina and .5 mile south of the Illinois Michigan Canal is a multi-story stone building known by various names.  These names are: Spring Valley House, the Half-way House, the Sulfur Springs Hotel or the Wayside Inn.  It was located midway on a stage coach route between Chicago and Saint Louis.

image

Sulfur Springs Hotel

     The official history is that the hotel was built in 1852 by Joel Smith.  However, from observation of the building it is evident that it was built in stages.

image

Sulfur Springs Hotel

     The walls were made of 30 inch sandstone.  The wood beams were
fastened with wood pegs.   On the ground floor, there was a bar and dining rooms; the next floor had a parlor and reception room; the next floor had 12 guest rooms each with its own fireplace; finally the top floor had a ballroom.
     There were natural springs in the area back of the house.  These had a high concentration of sulfur.  Many guest frequented the hotel for medicinal benefits of these springs. 

image

Sulfur Springs Hotel

     Among the famous guests at this hotel were Abraham Lincoln, Jennifer Lind, and possibly Edward, Prince of Wales
     In 1862, the hotel was converted to a farm house.  Owners included: J. Neil, Henry Zimmerman, Maurice Keating, Lucille Keating, and the state of Illinois. 
     The area surrounding the hotel is also the site of Kaskasia.  This was an Illinois Indian Village from 1673–1700.  It is a National Historic Landmark.  This is also owned by the state of Illinois. 
   Both the hotel and the Kaskia sites are kept very private by the state.

  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s