Conrad Wittmond immigrated from Germany to the United States around 1840. He settled in Calhoun County, Illinois with his wife, Mary, and built the first portion of what would become the Wittmond Hotel in 1847. Originally the Hotel operated as a trading post. The general store sold dry goods, furnishings, livery items, clothing and all other goods that a pioneer family might need. With the rapid growth of the riverboat trade after the Civil War, the family saw a need to provide accomodations to river travelers. In 1863 the Wittmonds constructed the two story brick house that formerly housed the Brussels post office, on the west side of the store. In 1885, they renovated the structure, adding 15 rooms for overnight guests.