There is a legend surrounding the Half-Way Tavern, located on U.S. 50 just east of Salem, a legend concerning lost gold.
Some historians say that one day in the early 1800s a stagecoach passing though the area was held up by Indians. The coach was carrying gold which the Indians made off with.
When a posse closed in on them they supposedly buried the gold in a wooded area just north of the tavern. And as far as anyone knows, it is still there awaiting discovery.
Naturally, as with all legends dealing with lost gold and lost gold mines, people are said to have sought the treasure. But no one is known to have found it. Farmers have plowed up Indian arrowheads in this area. No farmer, however, ever claimed to finding the buried gold.
Half-Way Tavern got its name because it was located halfway between St. Louis and Vincennes. The building was originally constructed in 1815 and was used as both an Inn and livery stable. Stagecoach passengers used the Inn on their travels between St. Louis and Vincennes.
One of the more prominent customers of the Half-Way Tavern - although he probably wasn't considered so at the time - was a young attorney named Abraham Lincoln. He and other lawyers "rode the circuit" from courthouse to courthouse trying cases in those days. It is highly likely that Half-Way Tavern, lying the location that it does, was visited more than once by the future U.S. president.
Some years ago the state of Illinois took over the property and renovated the old building replica. Now it can be seen by motorists traveling east from Salem on U.S. 50. The building itself is closed to the public.