If you want a true sense of small-town living, historical appreciation and civic pride, you need to visit Red Bud, IL. And while planning that trip, why not consider a stay at the Boekhoff Guest Suites, where owners Karla and Alan Mueth are eager to indulge visitors by sharing all that they know and love of the community where they grew up and still live — Red Bud, which they affectionately call “one of the finest small cities in Southern Illinois.”
The Mueths have combined their rich knowledge of history with keen restoration skills in bringing the Boekhoff Building back to life. And now, they welcome the chance to share that experience with their guests.
It all started in 1993, when the Mueths purchased the corner building on the block, which is known as the oldest commercial brick building in Red Bud. Built in 1855, this building had once hosted the Building & Mercantile store that was half owned by one of Red Bud’s founders, Samuel Cozier. Included in that purchase was the sale of the 1897 Boekhoff Building next door.
With little to no work or upgrades to either building since the 1950s, everything needed to be updated. Floors had to be jacked up to be level, walls needed to be pulled back together, and restraints had to be added with a lot of extra support to ensure the buildings were structurally sound. New windows, electricals, plumbing, HVAC and more — it was a huge undertaking.
But Alan had gained some experience in building restoration, supervising the revitalization of the Ziebold Bank Building across the street and the 1870 Building south of it. He also was involved in the start of the Opera House Restoration, the exterior restoration of the 1894 City Hall building and served on the first board of the Red Bud Beautification Committee.
And with these two buildings they had just purchased, he saw a whole lot of potential.
Karla, who also saw a bright future for these old buildings, came up with the idea of restoring the upper floor of the Boekhoff Building as living quarters, and having their daughter stay there with her new husband until they found a more permanent home. After that, the Mueths would complete the upgrades and add more of the historical touches that would elevate it to the grandeur of the Victorian period, as it deserved.
And so it began.
In 2009, the Mueths began operating The Boekhoff Building Bed & No Breakfast from the second floor of the Boekhoff Building — what is now known as the Cozier Suite, named after the town founder. They decided to lease the first floor as commercial space, so today guests have the opportunity to roam through the treasures to be found at The Parlor on Market’s Retail Shop.
Of course, there was always that third building in the back of the Mueths’ minds. The building right next door, which was owned by Louie & Hazel Deickman, who ran Deickman’s Barbeshop. When an opportunity arose to purchase the property in 2016, the Mueths eagerly took the leap. It just made sense.
As a young kid in the late 1960s, Alan had mowed and maintained the Deickman’s lawn. That old, heavy, open face mower, which they stored in the outhouse, was still a fresh memory for Alan. He was paid a quarter for each mow.
Beyond the sentimental value, in this building the Mueths saw the opportunity to use the land behind the building to develop a courtyard for patrons of all three buildings to enjoy.
They decided to name the upstairs living quarters the LouHazel Suite, after the original owners.
With each building, the Mueths have enjoyed the adventures of uncovering mysteries behind the walls and floorboards, and the pleasures of knowing that they are helping to revive and preserve history with each effort they make. Speak to Alan and Karla, and they will regal you with stories of their restoration efforts — from the message in a bottle found in the Crozier Suite building, to the time, early on in the restoration process, when they had to rescue the entire building from buckling and falling into the street. Karla rode out the experience from the second floor, determined to go down with the ship if it fell. Talk about love for an old building!
All these tales and more await visitors to the Boekhoff Guest Suites.
The Mueths eagerly await your visit.