Alongside partners Mark Spears and Joey Denney, they are now the owners of the oldest lakefront lodging location at the lake and have plans to bring the location into the modern era.

It isn’t everyday that the opportunity arises to own a piece of history. For ex-NFL star Shaun Hill, that day came. Alongside partners Mark Spears and Joey Denney, they are now the owners of the oldest lakefront lodging location at the lake and have plans to bring the location into the modern era. 

Hill says that he had passed by the building on the water during many trips to the lake. He says he continued to check in on the  building and see if it was for sale for many years. He spoke with Spears and Denney to form a game plan for the building if they were to finally purchase it. Once things came together, they made an offer on the location and are now the owners. 

“It all stemmed from admiring the building,” Denney said. “We had hoped something cool could be done to it before it fell in, you know?”

“It all stemmed from admiring the building,” Denney said. “We had hoped something cool could be done to it before it fell in, you know?” 

The group made the purchase in Spring 2018 and closed on the building in June. Hill says they knew the moment the stepped into the property, it would be a wild few months getting everything completed. Though the building had been sitting vacant, Hill says the overall condition present upon purchase “wasn’t as bad as you’d imagine.”  

The building had a number of prior uses. Found at 1202 Procter Dr. in Osage Beach, it was originally Franklin’s Lodge, which Hill says had a number of lodging suites and a restaurant. The bottom level, which sits even with the lake, was used for boat maintenance. Follow this, the bottom levels were developed into a sarsaparilla/root beer syrup factory. Hill says he was told the second owners children lived in the building until six years ago. Upon taking over the building, Spears pointed out that the conveyor belts and some barreling equipments were still present from the old operation. The remaining equipment was auctioned off before purchase. 

Hill says one of his main goals with the building was to maintain as much of the old aesthetic as possible, while modernizing the construction to current standards. He says the balancing act of keeping these aspects evened out has been a main priority. 

Denney says they have already made steps to keep these older elements alive. So far, the flooring in a number of areas has been kept original, alongside the stone construction of the road side building walls. In one of the suites, they have also kept the original fireplace in tact. 

As for the modern elements being installed, there are a number of designs already being built. The top floor of the building will be an entire penthouse suite. This will house a main room with pool tables, bar access, master bedrooms and an incredible view of the lake. The floor below will be smaller, family style lofts for long or short visits. One unique feature will be an outside pool built with a shipping container. One side will be cut out and replaced with glass, giving a full view to those in the water.

“We want to keep this as true to 1932 as we can while providing modern comforts,” Hill said.

Spears, who will be in charge of designing the ground-level restaurant, says they will be maintaining the originally concrete floor for that area. The restaurant will be open to the public and Spears says the style will be “high-end casual.” He says they will be providing a lunch menu, as well as a larger dinner menu with cocktails and bar drinks available as well. He says patrons should expect some options that are an ode to what would have been available in the original years of the buildings operations. 

“We want to avoid making it pretentious,” Spears said. “We are trying to bring something for everyone.” 

The group is still working towards a soft opening for the building, but some dates are in sight. Hill says they hope to open the restaurant in early-May. He says the penthouse should also be ready in May, with the walk-in level lofts open by Memorial Day. 

“We have 40 people here swinging a hammer every day. We are always working towards that goal of completion,” Hill said. “We think it’s important to bring this little piece of lake history back to life. There’s a little bit of pressure, but if we do it right, hopefully it will stand another 90 years before someone else has to do it again.”