View of the Past: Blind Jimmie’s Tavern in 1888

This week’s view is of Blind Jimmie’s Tavern which once stood on the south side of Route 50 near Main Street and across from Venita Drive in west O’Fallon.  Opened in 1860, the popular spot was operated by James “Blind Jimmie” Conroy and his wife Martha, known as Mattie.  The tavern was on the first floor of the building in the middle of the photo with a small dance hall on the second.  Living quarters were in the rear with attic rooms for occasional guests.  The Conroys came from England to Pennsylvania in the early 1850’s where James was blinded in a mine explosion.  The family soon moved to Illinois, settling in what is now west O’Fallon.  The tavern operated at that location until it was destroyed by fire in 1897.  The photo was taken in 1888. 

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)