Historic Home in a Commercial Location in Waterloo, Illinois
By Brenda Chandler | Published January 23, 2020
Sometimes it’s hard to picture what life was like long ago, but in Waterloo, Illinois, just walking a few blocks can transport you back to a simpler time. You can find historic homes and landmarks galore on almost every block in downtown Waterloo. Federal and Georgian architectural styles and even a bit of Italianate styles can be found throughout the town.
Waterloo’s history begins in the 1780’s when the settlers formed the first permanent American settlement in the Northwestern Territory. In just a few short years, around 1800-1820, the population grew rapidly with many different settlers coming and going through the area. General stores, mills and even the quarry were being built, not to mention homes for families to live and grow in.
One home in particular, a single-story cabin, was being built on the northside of Waterloo in 1822 by Benjamin Marney for his pregnant wife. Unfortunately, Benjamin contracted yellow fever in New Orleans and never met his unborn child Mahala. Twenty years later his daughter married George Ditch and moved back to the family farm. During the time they lived at the homestead they transformed the cabin into the two-story structure that stands there today.
Over the years this two-story farmhouse has been converted into the Waterloo Winery and then in 2008 into J. Fires’ Market Bistro. The beautiful hardwood floors are still intact and the two-story fireplace makes quite the statement when you first walk into the room. Spacious rooms provide an enjoyable setting to have dinner with family and friends. The potential for this property as an investment is immense. Opening up this historic property as an elegant bistro would make it the perfect destination for visitors from all around the St Louis area and neighboring towns. Also, the cobblestone back patio provides a lovely area to gather on a warm summer day to enjoy a cool beverage. Waterloo can be described as the perfect bedroom community for St Louis. With its Microbreweries and fantastic restaurants, Waterloo is an easy overnight destination. The possibilities for this property are endless and the location is great. Proof of the property’s great visibility is noted by the daily traffic count of approximately 11,900.
Combined Atlases of Monroe County Illinois – 1875-1901-1916. (1978). Unigraphic, Inc., Evansville, IN.
Rex, Nelson William. 1st edition (2011). Grand Legacy : A History of Monroe, County, Illinois. N.W. Rex.
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