The water wheel will turn again next year, this time as the St. Nicholas Landmark.
During a name/logo reveal event on Nov. 29, St. Nicholas Brewing Company President Tom Welge took reporters on a tour through the Landmark building, the first story of which was constructed sometime between 1830 and 1833.
In discussing the logo - which features "St. Nicholas Landmark" and "Chester, Illinois" on a bike sprocket along with the initials "SNBC" - both Welge and SNBC General Manager Abby Ancell stated it was important to keep both names.
St. Nicholas Brewing Company is a brewpub based in the historic St. Nicholas Hotel in Du Quoin, a building at least 45 years younger than the Landmark.
"We're definitely going to give it its own feel for Chester," Ancell said. "We're going to keep the same integrity of our menu, the same kind of unique pub food, but we're going to change it up and make it unique to Chester."
Ron's Construction and Superior Custom Builders, both of Sparta, are collaborating on the renovation project. Ron's Construction has restoration experience with the old Gulf, Mobile and Ohio train depot in Sparta (now the Misselhorn Art Gallery), as well as Bald Knob Cross in Alto Pass.
"Most of the demo work is completed," said Ron's Construction owner Ron Stork. "So, we've found everything that we have to address and now we're in the phase of replumbing, rewiring, cleaning everything up and while it's opened up, putting things back to make a new, modern building out of a 200-year-old building.
"It's a challenge, but it's fun for us too."
During the press tour, workers were jack hammering and removing the old concrete floor on the first floor, while a separate crew was installing new windows on the second floor.
Both main floors are around 4,000 square feet in size.
"Just 200 years of surprises," Stork said, on what the biggest challenge of the renovation has been thus far. "It's really nothing too much unexpected, you're going to have (surprises).
"We've been through enough projects that kinda got our attention over the years."
Stork noted that patrons will notice very little changes to the overall structure.
"We're doing mostly cosmetic, so you'll see very little change," he said. "We're putting a metal roof back on.
"Years ago, for a previous owner, I had put a shingle roof over the old metal roof, so we're really taking it back to what it was when it was originally built."
Ancell was asked about how many staff members SNBC would employ in Chester.
"It will be one of those things where we staff as needed," Ancell said. "In Du Quoin, we hired a lot on and we ended up keeping a large majority, we have about 22 staff members and we stay right there and I see it kinda being the same (at the Landmark)."
In comparing the two locations, Ancell said there is more space for outdoor events at the Landmark, which will be a taproom instead of a brewing facility.
She added that between 10 and 12 of SNBC's beers will be on tap at the Landmark, with equipment upgrades upcoming to update SNBC's brewing system capacity from three-and-a-half barrels to seven barrels.
"We'll transport the beer here," Ancell said.
Welge was asked if he had received any advice from the Landmark's former owners and he said Jim and Rose Oetting, who still live in the area, have visited several times.
"It's been great to talk with (Jim) about what they did and how they did things," Welge said. "Stories and ghost stories and all that kind of stuff. Jimmy operated a really successful business for a lot of years here."
One name that probably won't make the jump to the new ownership is the Captain's Table, the name of the building's upstairs restaurant after its renovation in 1990.
"It's probably all going to be the 'St. Nicholas Landmark,'" said Welge, who noted that some of the Captain's Table signage would be preserved. "It's all one unit, we're not going to have a separate menu necessarily or anything like that."
Work continues to be on track for a late summer/early fall opening next year.
"We want people to come in and feel cozy and comfortable," Ancell said. "We want this to be more of a neighborhood place to bring your family and friends to make memories."