|Object Name||Print, Photographic|
Black and white photograph of Rudolph Benke ("Rudy") owner of Rudy's Tavern located at the Southeast corner of Higgins and Arlington Heights Road. The tavern was also operated by Rudy's second wife, Margaret.
|Collection||Elk Grove Historical Museum|
Rudy’s Tavern was operated by Rudolph Benke and his wife Margaret. Rudy was born in Germany on November 14, 1892. His first wife Clara Hess was born in Chicago on June 9, 1893.
According the 1940 federal census the family lived at 1919 Highland Avenue in Chicago. The family consisted of Rudy who was a bartender, his wife Clara who was a waitress, daughter Norma and her husband William Bowers. On September 29, 1945 Clara passed away at the age of 47. Rudy later married Margaret Davis on July 13, 1948, both of them residents of Des Plaines at the time.
In 1950 Rudy and Margaret purchased an eating establishment in Elk Grove Township and decided to offer alcohol. An application for a liquor license was made in May of 1950. People often stopped by Rudy’s Tavern on their way to the Arlington Park races or the local picnic groves. Rudy and Margaret retired in 1956 to Arlington Heights. Margaret died in 1972. A year and a half later Rudy passed away in late February 1974.
Prior to Rudy and Margaret Benke taking over the business at State and Higgins, it was owned and operated by the Steinke family. About 1923 the Steinke family had moved to Elk Grove Township and was operating a restaurant on Higgins Road. The property was later purchased from Louis Schnell in November 1925.
Rudy's tavern was purchased in 1957 for $80,000 by the Centex Corporation and leased to the Village of Elk Grove to be renovated and used as its first police station and post office. This corner property was excluded from the original area of Elk Grove Village at the time of the incorporation and had to be annexed later. It was officially described as Lot 2 in Schnell’s Division, being a subdivision in Section 21, Township 41 North, Range 11 East of the Third Principal Meridian, in Elk Grove Township, Cook County, Illinois.
An article in the January 2, 1958 issue of the Cook County Herald indicated that only a few relics had remained in the building to remind folks of its previous life. There was a tattered elk’s head that rested above the bar, the hardwood bar itself, the cash register and an old beer cooler. These would all be removed and the large room located in the southwest corner of the building would become the Elk Grove police headquarters. The former bar room would be divided into offices to be used by a Centex subsidiary, the Elk Grove Water & Sewer Company, and the Post Office for mail pick up by residents. In addition, there would be a lobby in that room. The building previously known as Rudy’s Tavern was torn down in March of 1959 to make way for additional business ventures at the newly opened Park ‘n Shop shopping center.