MottsLounge

HISTORY

 

Mott's Lounge, a cherished establishment steeped in history, has been under the stewardship of the Mott family since its inception in 1924. Founded by Albert and Flora Mott, the lounge initially welcomed locals to gather around their exquisite Brunswick bar for a refreshing beverage or a delectable meal.

In the tumultuous era of the 1920s, Mott's found itself situated adjacent to a lively dancehall and a brief stroll from the bustling train station connecting passengers to and from Chicago. During the Prohibition era, Mott's, officially labeled as a cafeteria, discreetly operated as a speakeasy. Train conductors would cryptically announce "Next stop, Vinegar Hills!" to signal the availability of prohibited libations in the upcoming town. When law enforcement appeared, patrons skillfully exited through a concealed back door into the cornfield, where secrets of the available spirits were shared among the corn rows.

The repeal of the 18th Amendment brought an end to these clandestine activities, and Mott's emerged from the shadows to become a cornerstone of small-town life in the Illinois whistle stop. Although Albert passed away in 1950, Flora, who retired in 1980 at the age of 85, lived to the remarkable age of 101. The management baton skipped a generation to her granddaughter, Shirley, who transformed the establishment from a disguised cafeteria into the well-known Mott's Lounge.

Mott's evolved into a communal hub for Burlington residents, neighboring farmers, and those from surrounding communities. Shirley, driven by a commitment to community welfare, hosted fundraisers for organizations like the United Way. During the holidays, she opened her home to all, providing a warm space for camaraderie, food, and drink. After Shirley's passing, the subsequent owners continued this tradition in their own home.

Remaining true to Mott's legacy, the current proprietors actively support various charitable causes. They organize and sponsor events such as bike rides and runs for ovarian cancer research and veterans, and host activities like yoga, chili/rib cook-offs, contributing to the local food pantry. Service organizations like the Lion and Lioness Clubs conduct fundraisers at the bar.

Ted Getzelman, Shirley and Don's son, and his family are the 4th generation to own Mott's. They have enriched Mott's tradition of lively enjoyment, exceptional food, and a warm atmosphere that rivals the charm of the famous "Cheers" bar.