©2008 Historic Downtown Association-St. Charles
201-203 North Main
1867, Francis Oberkoetter
Francis Oberkoetter, born in Hanover, Germany and a shoemaker by trade, came to St. Charles in 1842. By 1849, he had become a successful businessman here purchasing his own "business house", respected for close attention to business, fair dealing and industry. He built this building in 1867 - one of the best business houses in St. Charles, a large handsome structure.
For a short time Mackenzie Hotel owned by Oberkoetter's son in law, MacKenzie, operated on the second floor. Though Mackenzie had become the owner of the building, his rumored "dissipating gambling" and spending all the hotel profits resulted in his sale of the building to local grocer, H. B. Denker, in 1894 for $7,500. The sale price might have been higher but Mackenzie owed Denker a considerable grocery bill for the hotel. Palace Clothing occupied the ground floor of this building until 1925 when they built a building across the street. Another German immigrant, A. R. Huning, relocated his business, Hunning Dry Goods, here in 1927 and that dry goods business continued until 1994. The Masonic Temple Association purchased the building in 1926 and used the upper levels for the next nearly seventy years.