The building shown above was built in 1866 as a one room school house. It was last used as a general store from 1963 until the late 1980’s operated by Elbert and Mary Ennis. There have been previous owners utilizing it as a general store before 1963 – view the history link for more information. Elbert passed away in 1982 and Mary kept it open a few more years on her own.
General merchandise, luncheon meats and cheese as well as gasoline were sold. Many customers remember the huge cold cut sandwiches Mary would make and serve. I believe they sold for $1.25 near the end, much less years before.
Gene and Ruth Ann (Ennis) Beasley reopened the store in July of 2007. Ruth is the first of the seven children Elbert and Mary had and Gene, who was part of an oil rig crew years ago, grew up in Casey. There is no general merchandise for sale, but there is a luncheon menu serving hot sandwiches, fries and drinks. The place was open for lunch only from around April or May through November, closing before Thanksgiving for the next two years.
In July 2009 I continued the operation year round as the new owner/proprietor of Oilfield along with my husband Jerry, daughter Crystal, mother-in-law Maxine and area neighbors fantastic help. I can't say enough to thank them. In January 2010 I extended the hours and the menu.
Most Illinois maps still show its location. Surrounded by the states oldest oil pools, the cafe is simply called “Oilfield”.
Martha "Ennis" Menser