Building brought back to life
Shawn and Tonya Wells of Fairbury have transformed an old downtown building into a destination.
The newly-renovated structure, now known as Wells on Main Guesthouse & Gatherings, is the newest place in town to hold parties, bridal showers and other special events along with Airbnb rentals. The couple learned the old Langstaff building was up for auction and ended up buying it.
“We contacted the city to try and get it from them,” recalled Tonya. “We didn’t want to see it get torn down.”
Shawn has worked with many commercial buildings over the years and has done projects such as transforming houses into condos.
“We like to stay busy,” he admits.
Wells on Main really consists of three buildings. The front part with the bay window was completely different than the rest of the building. According to Shawn, the first whole year of the building project pretty much included taking stuff out then putting it back in. In fact, a back corner of the building had to be torn out to remove everything.
Old duct work and pipes were the only things holding up the structure when Shawn and Tonya starting working with it. Shawn has done all types of brick work over the years and re-purposed brick into the building.
“Some of the brick came out of the State Capitol and Memorial Stadium,” he said.
One of the rooms in the old Langstaff Building had a moose head on the wall at one time. This was used as a waiting area while an old laboratory was located in the basement.
Bookshelves were full of medical books, photo albums and other historical items. A trunk full of letters and an old military uniform were discovered during the restoration process. It is believed the building was last used in the early 1990s as a piece of mail was discovered from this era.
Shawn said they always wanted to have a bed and breakfast. The building staircase layout was changed and there is a suite located upstairs with a king bed, living area and kitchenette.
The Wells living space is still being finished and they hope to hold an open house in 2021, possibly in late summer.
“We have quite a bit finished and still quite a bit left to go,” Shawn explained.
More information can be found by viewing the “Wells on Main Guesthouse & Gatherings” Facebook page.