Interesting History and Information on the “Snack Shack”

snackshackMs. Wanda’s Snack Shack is officially open and ready for business!  I just know that you’re sitting there asking yourself…”What is Ms. Wanda’s Snack Shack?”  More importantly…”Where is Ms. Wanda’s Snack Shack?”  Ms. Wanda’s Snack Shack is the newest addition to the property at Harpole’s Heartland Lodge in Nebo, Illinois.  This means that if you’ve been a guest of the lodge in the last few months, you have seen the transformation of this little building that was once an old smokehouse.  And, if you have an upcoming reservation at the lodge…or have never been there but are thinking of booking a room…you’ll find the new snack shack just across from the original and new lodges.

The idea for the snack shack came about because Miss Wanda felt that people who purchase a day pass for the ATV trails or to go horseback riding needed a place to grab a snack or a cold soda.  It also serves the same purpose for guests who might want a mid-afternoon snack.  But the little building also houses a brochure rack with information on local attractions as well as a freezer with bags of ice for sale.

fillingstationsignBut if you look at the items in and around the snack shack, including the building itself, you will see several pieces of history that Miss Wanda is proud to share with you.  Let’s begin with the shed that Heartland Lodge is using for their snack shack.  The shed is actually an old smokehouse and was built in approximately 1930.  It belonged to Gene and Mildred Shaw, grandparents of Gerald Shonhart.  Mr. Shonhart built the original lodge and when it was on the verge of being torn down, Miss Wanda bought it and had it moved to the Heartland Lodge property.

Preserving history didn’t stop with just the smokehouse a.k.a. Ms. Wanda’s Snack Shack.  History preservation is important to Miss Wanda and so you will see several other pieces of interest around the Snack Shack including the dinner bells and the sign.  The sign actually used to be an old filling station sign in Nebo.  Many of the locals called the filling station ‘Uncle Russ’s gas station’ and it was across from the school in Nebo so it was a popular place for the school kids.  The sign has travelled to a couple of other places before Miss Wanda acquired it.  As you can see, she had the sign redone and painted with an older Western theme.  I can tell you that the sign has certainly been a topic of fun discussion around the lodge since it was put in place!

smalldinnerbellAnd you certainly can’t pay a visit to the snack shack without noticing the dinner bells sitting on display.  The smaller of the two bells used to be the school bell at a country school just down the road.  The bell eventually made its way from Sideview School to Carrollton Ridge Baptist Church to another church in Payson, IL until it found its way to Heartland Lodge.  The large dinner bell came from Black Oak Church and School located approximate six miles from the lodge (or near 6 Mile Creek.)

I am hoping that I will be able to do some additional research and find out some more history on the pieces that Miss Wanda has added to the snack shack.  Certainly, if anyone has any information that they would like to share, please feel free to comment on this blog and help Miss Wanda preserve history.

snackshackwithsignAnd you’ll notice that I haven’t posted any pictures of the inside of Ms. Wanda’s Snack Shack.  I didn’t want to spoil the surprise of everything about this new spot so I’ll let you check it out for yourself.  The only thing I will tell you is that the inside is as much fun as the outside!  And if I know Miss Wanda, there will always be a new addition so keep your eyes open…who knows what piece of history she’ll add next?

So the next time you are a guest at the lodge, sit for a spell and continue enjoying the peace and quiet that the lodge offers.  You’ll find a couple of Adirondack chairs on the front porch and a swing in the side yard – perfect for relaxing and taking in the sights and sounds of the surrounding countryside.

Lori Biehl

Last Updated: August 20th, 2019

Leave A Comment