Illinois’ Lost Destinations

[] The removal of Morgan Cottage at Manteno State Hospital in Kankakee County, Illinois has added one more landmark to the list of allegedly haunted places lost to legend-trippers over the past two decades. Some, like Alonzi’s Villa in Brookfield, the Lindbergh School on Shoe Factory Road in Hoffman Estates, and Sacred Heart Chapel at Barat College in Lake Forest, were destroyed to make way for real estate development. Others, like Sunset Haven outside Carbondale, Illinois, were destroyed to erase the building (and its notorious reputation) from public memory.

Sunset Haven, Lindbergh School, and Morgan Cottage - all demolished.

Sunset Haven, Lindbergh School, and Morgan Cottage at Manteno State Hospital – all demolished.

The Lindbergh School on Shoe Factory Road in Hoffman Estates was genuinely a historic landmark known for its unique architecture and its significance to local history, regardless of its ghost stories. For years, preservationists tried desperately to save the building from the chopping block. Unfortunately, in 2007, bulldozers knocked it down to make way for yet another subdivision, just before the housing bubble burst and real estate values plummeted.

Sunset Haven, located on the periphery of Carbondale, Illinois and owned by Southern Illinois University, was a longtime destination for legend tripping in southern Illinois. It was originally the Jackson County Poor Farm almshouse became known as Sunset Haven during the 1940s when it was converted into a nursing home. The nursing home closed in 1957 and Southern Illinois University purchased the property to expand its agricultural program. Around October 26, 2013, a crew from SIU demolished Sunset Haven, leaving nothing but a cement foundation.

White Hall at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois is slated for demolition later this year. Chanute Air Force Base opened in July 1917. After its closure in 1993, much of the base was divided up into residential and commercial properties, but most of the core buildings remain abandoned. Inevitably, local kids exploring the abandoned parts of the base began to bring home unusual stories, particularly regarding White Hall. On September 13, 2001, a police K-9 unit responded to a trespassing call at White Hall. Dutch, an experienced canine, pursued something up to the roof, where he inexplicably jumped off and fell 15 feet to his death. The building was ruled an environmental hazard and too costly to renovate.

Other well-known haunted locations are threatened. In 2013, the Peoria Journal Star reported that the owner of the Bowen Building at the former Peoria State Hospital threatened to “tear the Bowen Building down and sell it off,  limestone block by limestone block.” Peoria State Hospital was featured on SyFy’s Ghost Hunters that same year, and fortunately no action has been taken on the threat. Ashmore Estates in Coles County, Illinois has been struck by two powerful storms in the past two years, causing severe structural damage. Robbin Terry, the owner of the former almshouse and haunted attraction, has vowed to make repairs and restore the building to its former glory.

Human hands were not responsible for the destruction of at least one historic haunted building: the Coliseum Ballroom Antique Mall in Benld, Illinois. The large, red brick building was once the most famous ballroom and music venue in central Illinois. It was originally built in 1924 as a front for local bootleggers who ran liquor through the area. On July 30, 2011, the building was completely destroyed in a fire while the band Shadow of Doubt was performing on stage.

We very much regret the loss of these irreplaceable landmarks, and hope that steps are taken to preserve remaining locations for future generations to enjoy.

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  1. […] be haunted, Peoria State Hospital’s majestic Bowen Building in Bartonville, Illinois may soon join the list of legendary locations lost to the wrecking ball. According to WMBD News, Bartonville’s […]


  2. […] building in Illinois, and each was home to popular legends and ghost stories. We very much regret the loss of these irreplaceable landmarks, and hope steps are taken to preserve other historic buildings for […]


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