FOX LAKE – The roof of the porch that stretches across the lakefront side of the historical Mineola Hotel is coming down.
The columns were replaced during the last round of renovations by owner Pete Jakstas Sr. in an effort to keep the restaurant open, but they’re rotting from the bottom up, he said.
When weather allows, Jakstas, 75, of Fox Lake, has been taking down the porch roof and storing it so that if a buyer comes along with plans to renovate, the porch can be restored.
Jakstas and his son, who owns and operates Mineola Marina, are looking to sell the entire 17-acre property. It has a restaurant, a full-service marina and a home with five bedrooms, according to a past eBay listing by Jakstas.
“With this economy the way it is, banks aren’t loaning any money out,” Jakstas said. “I don’t see anyone looking to buy it, but if a buyer did come in, yes, I would sit down and negotiate a price.”
The Mineola, 91 N. Cora Ave., was built in 1884 by members of the Chicago Board of Trade on the Chain O’ Lakes, according to an article by Diana Dretske, a Lake County historian for the Lake County Discovery Museum.
Mob boss Al Capone is said to have used the 100-room hotel as a safe house.
The Jakstas family has owned the Mineola since 1943, according to Dretske. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979
The Mineola closed in mid-May after the village of Fox Lake sued over the building’s condition.
A year earlier, in April 2011, the restaurant was closed for a week when the village placed condemned signs on the property, saying it was at risk of collapsing. An inspection by a structural engineer brought in by Jakstas found no structural distress.
“The bar and restaurant are all up to code,” Jakstas said. “I redid the kitchen upstairs and the banquet hall, and that’s all up to code. The part of the building that is not used is the problem.”