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Archways inside the old Village Inn in Tonica are intact, but the rest of the building is beyond repair. Salvage workers were removing some items and metal from the building Friday. NewsTribune photo/Craig Sterrett
TONICA — After some metal and a few other odds and ends are removed and salvaged, a landmark on the north edge of Tonica eventually will be flattened. Just when it will happen still isn't certain.
Chuck Lucas of Spring Valley, who identified himself as a friend of the owner, was at the old Village Inn restaurant and truck stop Friday, watching as some employees of a Tonica salvage company removed some of the scrap.
Lucas said he anticipated demolition to start next week on the now-ramshackle building that had been a popular eatery and even night spot back when the village had heavy traffic on U.S. 51. However, Dan McFadden, operator of Valley Petroleum Equipment who helped past owners and current owner Tonica Acqui-sitions, isn’t sure demolition can be done yet. McFadden said however there has been some interest in that corner lot from potential buyers.
Actually, he said, while the building looks rickety on the outside, some of the construction inside was quite heavy. Lucas was impressed by some of the 20-foot-long boards and genuinely inch-thick lumber, brick archways inside the building as well as a salvaged bar, a split-rail fence and old cooler door with huge hinges.
Still, the roof no longer was keeping weather out and most of the interior was extremely deteriorated. The owner did not return phone calls Friday night about the status of the site.
The salvage work wasn’t the only activity at the old truck stop site on Friday.
Employees of Integrated Wind were moving the last of their equipment off the big parking lot near the former Village Inn. That firm used the lot as a staging area while erecting 100 wind turbines in La Salle County this summer.
The village of Tonica’s attorney, Bob Steele, two months ago said the building would be demolished within a month. Lucas said the village and its police chief have been helpful, because they want the demolition completed.