‘It helps out the whole town’: Camp Point couple renovates downtown brick building into 10-room hotel
CAMP POINT, Ill. — A three-story downtown building constructed in the late 19th century has been converted into a hotel in Camp Point.
Sara and Ted Lung recently opened the Bricktown Inn at 200 E. State. The renovated brick building, which they bought in 2010, had 10 rooms of various sizes with private bathrooms for nightly rental. Each floor has a lounge area and a kitchenette, and historical photos of Camp Point are on the walls throughout the hotel.
Buying the building originally was merely an investment to provide space for an insurance company. However, the Lungs eventually brainstormed about what the building could be used for that would benefit Camp Point.
“We evaluated all the different types of business models,” Ted said. “Do you just rent it out? … On retail, who wants to come up to the second or third floor? It’s really difficult. The way the building was laid out, it was an open concept on all three floors, and there were open cubicles on all three floors. Yeah, we could have had the first floor rented out really easy, but the second third floor would have sat empty.”
The building was built in 1897. It has been the home for several types of businesses over the years. The Lungs decided to gut it and start over with the hotel concept. The brick walls and tin ceilings were maintained, as well as any ornamental woodwork.
“We could have very easily flipped it into an apartment for each floor,” Ted said. “But we really wanted to strive to have downtown businesses in Camp Point.”
“We knew that (turning the building into a hotel) would help everybody out,” Sara said. “People spend the night and they’re going to go to the restaurants and the stores. It helps out the whole town.”
Ted has been in the insurance industry for more than 40 years. Sara has held a myriad of jobs — teaching piano, working for the school district, operating a wedding venue.
Ted believed his experience in travelling for his insurance jobs made him the ideal candidate to select the beds for the rooms.
“I’ve got to have a nice bed,” he said. “I’ve had too many experiences over the years where it’s been a nice hotel, but the beds are crummy. You walk away saying it’s a nice place, but I slept horrible. We didn’t want that. We want people to enjoy a really good night’s rest, to be well rested, well relaxed. We have double pillowtop beds with inner spring coils and memory foam. They’re really nice.”
Ted also laid in each bed, and wherever his eyes fell on the wall when his head hit the pillow, that’s where a 65-inch flat screens TV was mounted.
The Lungs also bought a super water heater.
“If we have 10 people taking 10 showers at the same time, they will never run out of hot water,” Ted said.
The Lung said they wanted to honor the town when they came up with the name of the hotel.
“Back in the early 1800s, when settlers started to come to Camp Point, Peter B. Garrett was one of the founding fathers of Camp Point,” Sara said. “He built a cabin … then he decided to make a brickyard right by his home. He made all the bricks for his house and some of the surrounding homes and buildings. Then his son, Robert Garrett, decided to make the Camp Point Brickyard and operated that on the other side of town (from 1862 to 1908).
“All the buildings in the square and other homes and businesses that have bricks came from the Brickyard. We thought that was just kind of a neat thing for the town.”
Several weekends are booked for next year for weddings. The Lungs say business so far has been good. They also own the Bailey Opera House, built in 1893 at 124 E. State.
“We had it for offices and an agent training center. Now it’s sitting there empty,” Ted said. “We’ve got room to expand. We’ll just have to see what comes next.”
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