ST. CHARLES – Memories came flooding back for Gary Schoenbeck on Sunday as he glanced at some of the items being auctioned off from Pheasant Run Resort, which closed its doors earlier this year after 57 years of being in operation.
"I would stay here at least twice a year for the last 10 years, every year," said Schoenbeck, of Tinley Park. "Bourbon Street was the best. Twenty-year-olds don't appreciate this stuff. Fifty-year-olds appreciate this place."
Starting Monday, thousands of items from the now closed resort will be auctioned off as part of a four day online auction. On Sunday, the public was able to preview and inspect the items and will have another chance to do so from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday.
Grafe Auction will conduct the auction at its website, grafeauction.com. The auction will run Monday through Thursday. Questions may be directed to Ben Grafe at 507-273-3507 or Judd Grafe at 507- 254-1184.
Schoenbeck was looking at some Pheasant Run glasses and other memorabilia.
"It's sad seeing the place go away," said Schoenbeck, who had last stayed at Pheasant Run on New Year's Eve.
On Sunday, Steve Meggos was helping lead groups of people around the resort. He had been the banquet manager at Pheasant Run and worked there for 31 years.
"It was fun to work here," Meggos said. "In the '90s, it was the place to be. We had an average of 1,500 people a day. In 1991, we had 6,000 people for the New Year's Eve party. There were two shows with 3,000 people at each show."
Carole Murphy, of Elburn, worked for Meggos. She expressed her remorse about the closing of Pheasant Run.
"I wish they could restore this to what it was," she said.
Her husband, Brian Murphy, also worked at the resort. He was part of the security detail at Zanies Comedy Club.
"Hopefully they'll do something to make something here good again," he said.
In his job, he met his fair share of celebrities, including Gilbert Gottfried and Danny Bonaduce. Memorabilia featuring the both of them are among the items being auctioned off.
Literally everything from the resort is on the auction block.
"Everything from the contents of the rooms to decor to all the food service equipment, the golf equipment, the lawn care equipment, it's all absolutely for sale and the high bid on each item wins," said John Schultz, chief marketing and technology officer for Grafe. "There's bound to be deals and opportunities for sure."
The iconic resort closed its doors March 1 following a failed attempt to auction off the resort. It had first opened in February 1963 and was annexed by the city in 1965.
Edward McArdle opened Pheasant Run Resort in February 1963 on land that was previously a dairy farm owned by Colonel Edward Baker. Florida-based St. Charles Resort, LLC wants to divide the 46.13 acres located at the southeast corner of Route 64 and Kautz Road into three commercial lots.
The Mega Center and the adjacent parking field comprise lot one and lot two consists of the former resort buildings. Lot three is the mostly undeveloped corner parcel at Main Street and Kautz Road. Speculation has been that a car dealership plans to purchase the 35,000 square-foot Mega Center, which opened in 1985 and served as an event space for Pheasant Run