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The Legacy Building

There’s a heretofore hidden gem in El Paso, Illinois, built in the late 19 thcentury. The Legacy Building, at 1 West Front Street, had been sitting idle for decades, waiting for someone with energy and vision to restore it to its former glory.

Working carefully for the past six months to preserve the architecture and character of the structure, Tabitha and Ty Nowark have added modern amenities to create an elegant high-end event venue from a space where, at first glance, all to see was crumbling plaster, peeling paint, and broken windows. Tabitha shares that “With a background in performing arts, event planning and construction, this was the perfect undertaking for us.” Along with the helpful guidance of the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) of McLean County at Illinois Wesleyan University, The Legacy Building is ready and excited for their grand opening on January 1, 2019!

Tabitha indicates that her main challenges when opening the business were creating, organizing, and executing a business plan. “The SBDC helped me organize my thoughts and plans, holding me accountable to things that I wanted to get done,” she says. “They were full of resources and referrals. They spent a lot of time helping me identify what I truly wanted.”

The result? Beginning next month, The Legacy Building will stand as a historical and elegant high-end venue for weddings and other events in Central Illinois.

In the future, Tabitha hopes to offer historically preserved Airbnb units. She also hopes to partner with the community in creating a museum to honor David Strother, traditionally believed to be the first black voter in U.S. history, who operated a barbershop in the basement of The Legacy Building.

Tabitha says she seeks to live out and honor: passion, action, and history. “I am eternally grateful for the assistance and encouragement of the SBDC.”

To learn more about the project, or reserve the space for your next event, visit their website at: ! You can also follow their progress on the building on their Facebook page: The Legacy Building. 


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