Ethyl’s Story

In September of 1923, Highway 40 made it’s way past this property (it is presently Veteran’s Memorial Parkway). So, on September 5, 1925, a man by the name of Gerhard Sonderen bought it for $1000.00. One year later, he completed a structure that was called: The Wildwood Saloon. We hesitate to mention this because, first of all, we paid a lot more for it than he did, and as you probably know, it took us a lot longer than a year to complete it. However, we are proud to say that part of the building that you are sitting in right now has been an eating and drinking establishment since 1926.

History does not stop there. When the depression struck in October of 1929, Gerhard sold out to a man named Edward Hesskamp. He would keep the tavern for nearly 20 years before selling it to Gene and Marge Reed in the late 1940’s. They appropriately named the place “Gene and Marge’s”. From that point, there were a few more owners and a few more names including The Normandy Athletic Club, Borders, Shady Grove, and lastly, Bubba and Coy’s Catfish House.

I guess most people remember this place as Shady Grove, where you could sit outside under the various hardwoods and have a glass of wine or beer. Some people remember even prior to that, when it was Gene and Marge’s. In fact, our Aunt Mary met our Uncle Ray here and supplied the picture that we have of that period.

But even farther back than that, Edith Obrecht remembers when it was called The Wildwood Saloon in 1926 when she was a mere girl of 16. She told me that “it was a beautiful place, we danced in the woods.” Wildwood was an appropriate name.

Which brings us to today and our choice for a name. We are a place to have fun, a place to relax, a place to enjoy the oudoors, a place to have fun indoors as well, with the best food that we could possibly offer…

We are Ethyl’s Wildwood Smokehouse and Saloon. After careful consideration, we decided that you can never have too much fun, be too relaxed, have too much of the great outdoors, eat too much barbecue, and you can never get too full of Ethyls.