The Corner Bar building, located at 31 North Main Street, is the oldest brick building in Rockford. Built in 1873, it survived not only the great fire of 1883, but also the great Main Street Fire of 1896.
The Corner has housed many diversified businesses. Originally, "Boots, Shoes and Crockery" lettered the long wall, followed by "Saunders and Morris Dry Goods and Groceries".
The next enterprise was Ivan Elsby's Hardware Store.
After the turn of the century, The Corner became a tavern.
During the early 1930's, The Corner was a pool hall owned by Carl Hyde (and later by his son, Charles Hyde) and operated by Harold Bailey Sr. and Howard Bailey. At the end of Prohibition, Carl wanted to obtain a beer license. The law required that food also be served, so Harold Sr. and George Myers (a former army cook) collaborated to develop the "special sauce" and The Corner Bar Hot Dog was born.
Donald R. Berg purchased The Corner in 1965. He originated the now famous "Hot Dog Hall of Fame" in 1968. Since then, over 5,000 champions have joined, eating 12 or more hot dogs.
Andy Tidey and Jeff Wolfe assumed ownership of the Corner Bar in 2000. In 2004, they launched a "Most Wanted" campaign to inspire would-be champions to break the 23-year Hot Dog Hall of Fame record of 42 1/2 hot dogs. On December 3, 2005, Balinda Gould ate 43 Corner Bar Hot Dogs in the four-hour time allotment. She remains amateur champion today.
The Corner Bar Hot Dog Hall of Fame has also caught the attention of national competitive eating associations. Tim Janus from New York City downed 43 1/2 hot dogs in the four-hour time period on March 5, 2006 and holds the newly established professional record.
The Corner Bar has sold over 14 million hot dogs since 1965. Stretched end to end that would reach Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, the birthplace of the hot dog.