End of an era: Woodhull Plaza now gone

Sherrie Taylor/GateHouse News Service
Wrecking equipment is seen at the former Woodhull Plaza recently during demolition of the building. The structure, opened in June 1971, has been removed so a news business, a Pilot Flying J truck stop and deli, can be built there.

The foresight of two former Woodhull area businessmen led to the Woodhull Plaza business at the exit of Interstate 74 and Illinois 17 at the west edge of Woodhull. The location has been cleared the past few weeks to make way for a Pilot Flying J truck stop and deli restaurant..

The late Sheldon Dornink, of Galva, and Dick Geiger, also deceased, formed the Woodhull Land Development Corporation in 1964, developed a housing addition at the northwest edge of Woodhull, developed the Woodhull Plaza business and Maxwell’s Market, now operating as Homestead Travel Plaza.

According to Lucy Newman, former Plaza manager and a Woodhull resident, the business officially opened June 28, 1971, and at one time had 110 employees.

Those who frequented the restaurant for its excellent cuisine and holiday buffet meals would find themselves in a line that extended into the convenience store area.