Scenic USA - Illinois

Rose Hotel

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Rose Hotel - Elizabethtown, Illinois

Photos by Ben Prepelka

     Nearly a thousand miles long and winding through three states, the Ohio River National Scenic Byway hugs the shoreline of the great river and offers byway travelers the chance to explore a beautiful section of the country. From East Liverpool in Ohio, the byway follows more than a dozen local routes, allowing sightseers to follow the river's sweeping curves and enjoy the pleasant variety of quaint river communities and historic river cities. Here in Illinois, the byway passes through a large section of the Shawnee National Forest and a string of parks, conservation areas and a dozen points of interest.
     During frontier days, the Ohio and Mississippi rivers were the primary thoroughfares used to deliver produce and manufactured goods southward. Here on the Ohio River at Elizabethtown, 19th century river travelers found the McFarlan Tavern a welcome sight. Perched on a bluff at the river's edge, the tavern was one of the first establishments in Hardin County. Built during the early 1800s, the tavern eventually expanded Ohio River view from the Rose Hotel - Elizabethtown, Ilinois into the McFarlan Hotel, serving river captains, crews and countless riverboat passengers. The hotel's business license, secured in 1813, set the prices that James McFarlan could charge. Guest lodging was priced at 12½ cents, 25 cents for a day's meals, while a half pint of whiskey and a quart of beer were set at 12½ cents.
     The hotel was purchased by Sarah E. Rose in 1891, and remained in the family for almost 100 years. The State of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency purchased the property and proceeded with a 1.5 million dollar restoration project in 1998, returning the Rose Hotel to its former glory. The hotel is leased as a bed and breakfast, but remains a national and state historic site.

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