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O'Henry's Roadhouse Building –


Haunted Place – O'Henry's Roadhouse building
(Rico D's/Frankie's Pizza Ranchhouse)


8933 S. Archer Avenue
Willow Springs, Illinois 60480


The old O'Henry's Roadhouse building can be found on S. Archer Avenue not far from Willow Springs Road and S. Archer intersection, and right in front of a large forest preserve area. It is west of the town Willow Springs. On 294, get off on the Willow Springs Road exit. MAP



YIKES! This well-built, large rectangular orange brick building with the early 20th century decor looks and has the aura of a haunted building. It has the vibes in spades, felt by just standing in front of it.

It is a little run-down, with an unkempt front landscaping, and in need of some TLC. The backyard has tables for outdoor eating. Though it has been the home of many establishments, including 'Oh Henry's Roadhouse'/O'Henry's 2/Cavallone's West/Rico D's and Frankie's Pizza Roadhouse, it is currently (Sept. 2008) up for sale.

It has a classy 1920s style awning above front door. The entrance leads to the bar and dining room on the main floor. It has the standard 4 floors, with some "custom designed features," not normally found in the average rectangular brick structure. The dirt floored basement had tunnels. The main floor, second floor and the attic area have such features as a secret stairway, a hideaway false wall and room, a hideaway false ceiling and a special stairway.

The builders of this building also owned the ballroom which was across the street. To understand how this building became haunted, let's look at the area's history, which helps to explain what kind of a place of business that was first established in this building.

Willow Springs can be found about 20 miles south of Chicago, in the Des Plaines River-Valley, on what is called an upland moraine, formed by ice age glaciers long ago. The area is known for its beauty and ravines, and is known to geologists as Mt. Forest Island. Indians used to bury their dead here.

It is no surprise then when this place was discovered by everyday Chicagoans in 1854, as a beautiful picnic spot, on the Des Plaines River which ran beside Willow Springs. The land on which this old roadhouse sits upon used to be a favorite, tree shaded picnic area known as Spatis Grove.

By 1883, railroad travel south from Chicago to Willow Springs was a reality. From 1892 to 1899 the construction of the canal brought more people as well, many of them Italians, adding to the growing numbers of people who called the place home; mainly Germans, Poles and Irish. Ice harvesting off the river became a large money making endeavor for the people living here.

While ice harvesting was still a big business in Willow Springs in the early 1900s, other less wholesome businesses migrated south from Chicago as well. Gambling, drinking and the world's oldest profession found out that Willow Springs was a profitable place to set up shop, as there was no police department, only the overworked Cook County Sheriff's department, who had bigger fish to fry than vice offenders. Some police probably were bribed not to arrest, as was the custom in Chicago proper.

The beginning of the 1920s saw a strong presence of gangster mob control of the gambling halls, drinking saloons, and moonshiners in Willow Spring because of the lack of police presence. When prohibition was the law of the land, Willow Springs became a fertile ground for speakeasies as well.

Right before the 1920s, probably around 1915-1918, this 4 floored stylish rectangular building opened as Oh Henry's Roadhouse, offering all the pleasures of life: Food, booze, gambling opportunities and sexual services. It was probably built by mob money. Al Capone and his cohorts in crime loved to hang out in this roadhouse.

There were several tunnels built out from the basement. One led to a mausoleum, one to the woods behind the building, and one which was built under the road to the ballroom dance hall across the street, which had a full casino in its basement.



Though gangsters did their best to behave while in various establishments of entertainment, sometimes their work followed them there, and business had to be settled in sometimes violent ways. Others with anger issues let temper get the better of them and folks were killed.
(The Bar Next Door * Wabasha Street Caves)

People with jealousy and temper issues have murdered others in other stories found on this website:
(County Line BBQ Restaurant * Plains Hotel * Broadview Hotel) Several people were killed in various parts of this building, and some were perhaps buried in the dirt basement.

One known man during the 1920s-'30s was the hapless bartender, who fell in love with one of the prostitutes, who was also wanted by a pretty ruthless and cold gangster. Uh oh! The gangster broke the bartender's neck, killing him as the bartender came down the basement steps to get supplies stored there. The gangster then beat the prostitute very badly, probably to death. It is thought that both were buried in the dirt basement.

Probably a gangster soldier or two, or foes of Al Capone were thought to be fired/taken out here, which means they met an untimely death. A secret burial could have happened in the basement dirt, or somewhere on the grounds, or in the forest behind the building. Others may have been taken by tunnel to the mausoleum for cremation.



second Floor Hallway...

While walking down the hall, some have felt a presence go right through them.

Upstairs Office Room...

An investigator from Ghost Research Society felt a "hot localized area" on his face, and became aware of a distinct, unknown odor.

Digital photos taken of this room show "a string of small red triangular lights crossing from one side of the room to another; lights which were not there when the pictures were taken.


A feeling of uneasiness has been picked up by many. It is a creepy location, giving an off-balance sensation to investigators.

"Walking on the dirt area is like the feeling of walking over a newly dug grave", a team member from Ghost Research Society explained.

Similar pictures of "a string of small red triangular lights crossing from one side of the room to another" were also captured on a digital camera, by a Ghost Research Society team member.

The group led by Spiritual feeler Edward "Sun Ray" Shanahan/Unexplained World, reacted to the swirling, unsettling energy of many emotions from restless spirits here. They found it hard to stay there for more than short periods.

The dirt has been described by Edward "Sun Ray" Shanahan's Unexplained World, as being not pure dirt, as it has a "bone feel" to it, and an oily type of sensation.

A shadowy man with an overcoat has been seen going up the stairs by employees.

A shadow was caught on digital film on the boiler by an Unexplained World team member, which wasn't there a minute later when the area was filmed.

A female entity of the prostitute...

Her bloodied, pulverized face has appeared on occasion in the mirror of the bathroom. A cold spot has been felt in the same bathroom by a Ghost Research Society team member.

This female entity appeared in front of the owner of Rico D's, and had a conversation with him, telling him how much she liked the improvements that he was doing to the building.

An EVP taken in The basement, where the question was asked by a Ghost Research Society team member, "Did something bad happen to you in this room? A female voice answered, "Beneath the floor."



YIKES! Yes indeed.

At least two paranormal sources have found evidence of entities who cannot rest because of a violent end at the hands of others.






ghostresearch.org * theunexplainedworld.com * encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org

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