“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Waterloo in Monroe County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Southern Hotel

141 South Main


— Waterloo, Monroe Co., Ill., Laid out in 1818 —

Southern Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sarah Deutch, September 21, 2020
1. Southern Hotel Marker
In 1886, Peter Feller bought a wooden structure for $2,500 located on lots 13, 14 and 15 of block 19, which would later be addressed as 141 South Main Street, and known as the Southern Hotel. In 1892, the hotel was rebuilt of brick and a tavern was added. The building is known as a “Mesker Building” – which best demonstrated the trade of mass-produced building parts during the turn of the century. Peter and his wife Anna owned the hotel for over thirty years. In 1916, their children inherited and ran the hotel.

The Southern Hotel was then sold to Caroline Kaufmann in 1919. Bob Noelke recalls when the Kaumann’s owned the hotel, “There was an entrance on Third Street to the dining room. Mrs. Kaufmann cooked and served meals to the guests.” He also remembers a frequent guest, Joe Elsner, whom they called “Peddler Joe”. Joe would come from St. Louis on the streetcar and spend two nights at the hotel. During the day, he went door-to-door with a sack of small items for sale. The Kaufmanns owned the hotel for twenty-three years before selling it to Phillip and Kate Fagan in 1942. The Fagan’s
Southern Hotel Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sarah Deutch, September 21, 2020
2. Southern Hotel Marker
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sold the property to Joseph and Dorothy Sommer.

The Sommers ran the Southern Hotel for the next 24 years. Their children worked at the hotel doing household chores such as laundry, ironing clothes and cleaning guests’ rooms. Their father, Joseph worked at a tire place. He would bring co-workers back to the tavern in the evening and serve them their famous beef sandwiches and chili, along with some liquor of course. Joseph would host coon lunches and kloepper card games. On holidays, Joseph would serve free drinks at the bar – the most famous being the Tom and Jerry, which was liquor and eggnog. The Sommers did some major renovations on the property, including indoor plumbing! A barber shop was also put in and Joseph became known as the “nickel block barber”. During the flood of 1945, many refugees came to the hotel seeking shelter after their homes had been swept away by the raging water. In 1967, the Sommers sold the hotel to Walter and Norene Becker.

The Becker‘s hired Emil and Marie Krebel to run and manage the hotel. Marie was the cook, and often made roast beef, barbeque pork, chili and fried fish for hotel guests or hungry patrons of the tavern. During the Vietnam War, young men off to war would stop by for their last meal before being transported overseas. In 1973, the Becker’s sold the property to Harry and Nera Schmeig, whom operated
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the hotel for three years before H.S. and H. Ltd. purchased the property. The company allowed the hotel to continue operating.

In 1980, after over one hundred years of use as a hotel, the building became a liquor store, called Waterloo Liquor. Michael Wightman purchased the liquor store in 1993 and allowed Kay’s Arcade to locate in the basement. Three years later, the arcade caught on fire, damaging the entire building. The arcade owner decided not to repair their business; however, Mr. Wightman repaired the liquor store before selling the building to Timothy Reeves and Rebecca Brown. The liquor store eventually became an Italian restaurant for a short time before becoming a sandwich shop called Obee’s in 2001. The restaurant changed its name in 2010 to Subliminal, but remained a sandwich shop. In 2017, a new proprietor operated the sub shop as Momma’s on Main. The sub shop closed in 2018 and the entire first floor was renovated to become Uncle John’s RRR Bar, owned by George Obernagel, Jered Gallagher and John Gallagher.
Erected 2020 by The Waterloo Beautification Committee.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Illinois, Waterloo Beautification Committee series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1886.
Location. 38° 
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20.11′ N, 90° 9.02′ W. Marker is in Waterloo, Illinois, in Monroe County. Marker is at the intersection of South Main Street and West 3rd Street, on the right when traveling south on South Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 141 S Main St, Waterloo IL 62298, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Wallhaus Building (here, next to this marker); The Küenster Building (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named The Küenster Building (within shouting distance of this marker); City Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); The Odd Fellows Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Monroe County Bicentennial Bandstand (within shouting distance of this marker); Harrisonville Telephone Company (within shouting distance of this marker); The Pluth Building (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Waterloo.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 24, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 24, 2020, by Sarah Deutch of Waterloo, Illinois. This page has been viewed 120 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 24, 2020, by Sarah Deutch of Waterloo, Illinois. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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May. 25, 2022