Dandy Inn, originally built as Bechererís Tavern in 1850, has been a general store, a tavern, a dance hall, and always as it still is today, a popular gathering place.It has been said that Abraham Lincoln was one of the early visitors.
Beginning as a one-room log cabin located on U.S. 50 (the Vincennes Trail), the tavern offered food, water, and supplies to travelers.The well, located in front, fed a horse trough as well as provided a water supply for the business.Initially, the building was primarily a one-story structure.The business grew and additions encompassed the original one-room tavern.
Near the turn of the century, Henry Bechererís son, Adam, took over the tavern.During that time period, a building was constructed on the edge of the highway.It was a dance hall.When the present two-story tavern structure was built in 1933, it was used as a store and a tavern.The farmers liked coming to Bechererís.The early 1900s boasted an expanding clientele when coal mining became big business in the area.The miners enjoyed congregating at the tavern when work was finished.The prospering mines created a rail industry to carry the ore to distribution points.The railroad workers, needing a place to quench their thirst and get a sandwich, frequented Bechererís tavern.
Workers, deciding that the area would be a good place to build a house and raise a family, created a community with life interwoven at Bechererís Tavern.Visitors kept increasing.The railway had a streetcar that carried people from Lebanon to East St. Louis.One station was at Old Collinsville Road, the Crossroads Station.More and more people were traveling by automobiles and Bechererís had one of the first gas pumps in the area.
Dances were held in the pasture Ė admission $.10.Some guys would jump over the fence to avoid paying the cover charge.This was bootleg time Ė so root beer was the main fare.But remember anything was available at Bechererís.If you wanted bootleg whiskey, you simply told Adam.The place had a somewhat protected status.Near the end of prohibition in 1932, when Roosevelt indicated a repeal of prohibition if elected, Adam began building a new building to accommodate the future beer drinkers.The new building opened New Yearís Day 1934 and beer was legal.It was a magnificent building with few like it outside the cities.It provided a store and tavern and living quarters for all the family.The business prospered.Adam Jr., Orville and Kate Roach, and Adamís children, began running the place when their father went into the service in 1941.By 1960, the clientele had changed again.It wasnít a community center anymore.The dances long since had ceased.The towns had grown and people were more interested in OíFallon or FairviewHeights social gatherings.By then, Bechererís was a neighborhood tavern and store.It was a nice spot for the residents of the surrounding subdivisions to stop on their way home from work or to visit for a late evening beer.Those were the folks most affected when they decided to close.Until they decided to retire on New Yearís Eve 1976, the place had changed little.The beer was cold and the sandwiches made fresh at the grocery counter in the next room.The customers, a blend of newcomers and crusty old-timers made a visit an interesting experience.The neighbors waited four months before the Daniels bought the corner and opened their own place.On April Foolís Day 1977, Dave and Phyllis Daniels officially opened the Dandy Inn. Two of their children, Mark and Ann, were put to work and are still connected to the place today.Phyllis is now retired but loves to come in for lunch with friends.Mark is in from early morning to late night most days of the week, usually fixing something or chatting with customers.Ann has since retired from the restaurant business.She stays busy raising her kids and running The Scrapbook Factory right down the street.Every year on St. Patrickís Day, she is pulled from retirement to help out during one of the busiest times of the year at the Dandy Inn.Those of you who knew Dave know how fitting it was that he was laid to rest on St. Patrickís Day, 1998.Continuing the family business, Markís son, Casey, works in the kitchen after school.Most people think he has the restaurant business in his blood, too, but who knows what the future will bring.After over three decades in the business, the Dandy Inn has seen many changes, but still has something for everyone; a great gathering place for families, a well-worn bar for an after work beer, and always delicious, home-style family recipes.
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