"Esther"
Road House History
...Written in 1993
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     Although there are a few mixed opinions whether or not the old "Stenhouse" building dates back to Lincoln's Oregon visits, stage coaches and Indian attacks, it is certain that the old structure and design dates itself somewhere in the mid-to-late 1800's.  Our most accurate recollection is by area old timers. They all state: "It's been here as long as I can remember." One gentleman is now ninety-some years old.
    
Another thing for certain is that "after hours" the walls of this building echo laughter and countless wonderful old stories about trap doors, bootleggers, gangster visits and high stake poker games around a big, old wooden table in a hidden basement room. (By the way, both are still here.)  Also, high-back, rickety old wooden booths, delicious juicy steaks, couples meeting and falling in love and persistent, eerie and playful rumors of energies that still roam the old tavern floor mostly after midnight.
     
If you look in the dictionary under "Roadhouse" it almost says "Stenhouse."  Def: A roadside inn or tavern where local patrons and travelers stop to eat, drink and rest then continue their journey or return home.
     
In reading that, visions of the past reflect the old Stenhouse building to truly have been a turn-of-the-century landmark that in its hay day saw horse drawn buggies, carriages and plows all pass to the advent of gasoline tractors and motor cars.
     
As the new era of the 1930's, 40's and 50's drew near, bands and dancing were to become the rage. The public, politicians and local officials (to include 
judges, lawyers and cops) still indulged in the continued 
high stake card games in the hidden basement room. It was 
considered safe as well as a privilege to dine, drink and 
dance on the floor above of such rural heirarchy. During this 
period the "Stenhouse/Roadhouse" was the busiest, 
hoppin'est place around with frequent visitors from throughout 
the Midwest. (See February 19, 1948 newspaper ad.)
     
Today at the Road House, you may, only if you wish, 
momentarily re-live those not so long ago times, enjoy a tasty 
steak, cocktails, laugh with your friends, then continue your 
journey rested and assured that the old Stenhouse "Road House" continues to live on...
     
THAT SMOKE SMELL??? If it's now well after midnight? The juke box in the saloon mysteriously stops in the middle of a song?  In the quiet, listen carefully and you will hear the sound of poker chips rattling to a stop in the basement, footsteps creaking up the old wooden stair steps and one loud, single slam of an old trap door.  The smoke?  It's Esther's cigar - she wants you to go home now so she can try to get "Mary Jane" and "Kate" to go to bed.
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This page was last updated on: October 26, 2016
Click The Bull's Head
To Continue The 
Road House Tour
Esther
Mary Jane
Reprint from the Republican files of 
February 19, 1948
Phone 815-732-2300 
807 S Seventh St
Oregon, IL 61061