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Route 66 News

Two Edwardsville businesses on Route 66 soon will switch places

If you go looking for Afterwords Books or Bailey Cakes at their old locations along Route 66 in Edwardsville, Illinois, and you can’t find it, you probably won’t have to look for long.

That’s because the two businesses will be switching locations, almost across the street from each other.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports the bakery will get the building complex at 454 E. Vandalia St., and the bookstore goes into the building at 441 E. Vandalia St.

As it turns out, both locations boast much Route 66 history. First is the housing complex where the bookstore is about to vacate:

The three-story Hotz House was a tourist inn for Route 66 travelers for many years. It was built in 1897 by wealthy Edwardsville lumberman Joseph Hotz, who was first president of what became First Cloverleaf Bank (and chief deputy to his brother, the sheriff), according to local historian Cindy Reinhardt.

The house became a tourist inn in the early 1920s, housing as many as 12 people at once. More tourist cabins were added in subsequent years, some of which still exist on the house’s property.

Across the street sits the Wheeler House, another historic building. Built in 1898 for the Wheeler family, which owned a number of houses in the neighborhood, it became the Hi-Way Tavern and Cafe in 1934, owned for years by the Catalano family.

Afterwords stated on a Facebook post it would be hauling its inventory into its new digs the weekend of Jan. 7. In its Facebook post, Bailey Cakes states it will reopen at its new site Jan. 17.

Earlier this year, a Route 66 information center opened in Afterwords Books. Cindy Reinhardt of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission said: “So far as I know, the information center will stay at the same address since they have a perfect nook for it.”

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