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Written on 21/06/2012, 19:46 by andrew
robertson-memorial-field-house The Robertson Memorial Field House, formerly located on Main Street, was originally named in honor of the former Bradley athletic director and basketball coach, A.J. Robertson. Shortly after World War II, the building served as a B-29 airplane hangar, and it remained a hangar for a short time until its conversion into a well-needed basketball arena. Bradley University's basketball program needed...
Written on 21/06/2012, 18:48 by andrew
the-madison-theater The Madison Theater, the idea of local showman Dee Robinson, was the last of Peoria's "picture palaces" in the downtown area. The theatre opened at the corner of Main Street and Madison Avenue on October 16, 1920. Robinson also owned the Apollo Amusement Company, the Robinson Theater Company, and the Seaver Amusement Company, but it was the Madison Theatre that was known as his dream theater....
Written on 20/06/2012, 20:51 by andrew
nancy-goodman-brinker Born in Peoria, Illinois, Nancy Goodman Brinker was the younger sister of Susan Goodman Komen. Suzy, as Nancy called her, would offer her younger sister beauty tips and advice, but Nancy was a tomboy who enjoyed horseback riding and stirring up mischief. After graduating from the University of Illinois, Nancy had gained confidence and a new outlook on life that she put to good use by starting a...
Written on 20/06/2012, 20:13 by andrew
osf-st-francis In the late 1800's, Reverend Bernard Baak of St. Joseph's Church needed help with establishing a much needed hospital in Peoria. He turned to a group of Sisters who had experienced intensive hardships, and he invited them to Peoria. On October 28, 1876, five of the sisters showed up to help. The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis was established on July 16, 1877, the same day that the sisters...
Written on 20/06/2012, 19:23 by andrew
joe-girardi Spalding Institute graduate Joseph Elliott Girardi owns several pieces of jewelry of which only a select few have even one--World Series rings. As a member of the 1998 and 1999 champion New York Yankees, Joe served as star defensive catcher and came through with his bat in clutch situations. Over the years, Girardi has continued to be a major fixture in the world of Major League...
Written on 20/06/2012, 18:37 by andrew
george-washington-bust To commemorate the bicentennial, Avard Fairbanks created the 48" x 32" x 27" bronze bust of George Washington in 1975. With the bicentennial approaching, Fairbanks said, "There will be plenty of speeches and celebrations and papers written. But after all the hoopala, what work of enduring art will remain? I will create a new image of the founder of our nation for its bicentennial." This portrayal is...
Written on 20/06/2012, 16:28 by andrew
janssen-building The corner of Main and Jefferson in downtown Peoria has a history that calls back to a time when French land claims were still being settled in the courts. In 1834, an authorized survey of Peoria was made that divided the land into parcels, one of which included this corner where the six-story Janssen Building now creates an impressive presence in the city's skyline. The property has been...
Written on 20/06/2012, 14:58 by andrew
spoon-river The Spoon River weaves through four counties in Illinois as a living reminder of prairie history. It begins in northern Stark County and extends through Peoria and Knox Counties. After flowing through Fulton County, it joins the Illinois River. The only dam on the Spoon River is at Bernadotte. It was constructed during the Camp Ellis reservation days of World War II by the Army Corps of Engineers....
Written on 20/06/2012, 01:27 by andrew
jean-baptiste-pointe-du-sable Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, the founder of Chicago, first called Peoria home. This educated, well-traveled man was born in 1745 in Haiti to a French-Canadian sea captain and an African-born ex-slave. At the age of 20, after attending school in Europe, du Sable sailed from Haiti to New Orleans. He lost his identification papers and was nearly enslaved. A Jesuit priest helped him escape, and du...
Written on 19/06/2012, 23:21 by andrew
robert-ingersoll-statue This statue, near the entrance to Glen Oak Park at Perry and Abington streets, was dedicated in memory of Robert Ingersoll on October 28, 1911. The statue's sculptor, Fritz Triebel, a former Peorian himself, created the statue in Genoa, Italy at the behest of prominent Peoria resident Eugene Baldwin. This statue was a minor tribute to an influential figure. Ingersoll had settled in Illinois with...
Written on 19/06/2012, 22:47 by andrew
vonachen-s-old-place Reminiscent of a nineteenth century small town railroad depot, Vonachen's Old Place drew the attention of visitors and restaurant connoisseurs from around the world for decades. During a review of the land on which VOPs now stands, researchers discovered that the location was very close to that of Keller Station, the first stop out of Peoria on the Rock Island Line. In 1927, after nearly 45 years...
Written on 19/06/2012, 21:14 by andrew
philip-jose-farmer A science fiction author by trade, Philip José Farmer also served, over the course of a long and prolific writing career, as one of the more notable literary figures to emerge from the city of Peoria, Illinois. Farmer was born in Peoria in 1918. He attended Bradley University part-time and earned his B.A. in English in 1950. In 1952 his novella The Lovers stunned the science fiction world. This work...
Written on 19/06/2012, 19:57 by andrew
rock-island-depot Peoria's first train entered town in November 1854, and for many years, Peoria was the fourth largest regional hub in the U.S. railway system. At its largest, Peoria served 15 railroads and 70,000 miles of track. In 1891, the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad built the Rock Island Depot, and a freight house was added in 1899. The large clock tower attached to the building was razed in 1939 because it...
Written on 19/06/2012, 19:37 by andrew
peoria-cordage-company Edward Heidrich established the Peoria Cordage Company in 1888 when he moved his rope and twine business from Ohio. The business employed 225 people and produced 700 tons of twine annually. About 80% of these products were used for agricultural purposes. In 1948, the business said it made enough twine to wrap a double strand around the Earth. The business sold its rope products internationally, and...
Written on 19/06/2012, 19:15 by andrew
pettengill-morron-house Moses Pettengill came to Peoria in 1833 and became Peoria's first hardware merchant. The 11-room house was built in what was then considered the country. Pettengill lived in the Second Empire-style Victorian mansion until his death in 1883. His family continued living there until 1892. The succession of owners went as follows: Samuel Clark, William Jack, Dr. Charles Thomas, (rented), John Boyd...
Written on 19/06/2012, 19:01 by andrew
e-n-woodruff Edward Nelson Woodruff shaped Peoria's reputation for the first half of the twentieth century, serving eleven non-consecutive terms as Peoria's mayor between 1903 and 1946. Known as "Ed," "E.N." or, behind his back, "Crooked Neck" because of a physical deformity, Mayor Woodruff was the consummate machine politician. From his unofficial headquarters, "The Bum Boat," a river cottage converted from the...
Written on 19/06/2012, 18:33 by andrew
murray-baker Thanks to businessman Murray Morrison Baker, Caterpillar is headquartered in Peoria. In 1909, Baker convinced Holt Manufacturing Co. to open a factory here. Holt merged with C.L. Best Gas Tractor Co. in 1925 to become Caterpillar Tractor Company. Baker became vice president and director of sales for the newly formed company and later served on Cat's board of directors. Born in Alton, Illinois in...
Written on 19/06/2012, 18:15 by andrew
jack-brickhouse Native Peorian Jack Brickhouse was the voice of the Chicago Cubs for four decades before being replaced by Harry Caray in 1982. Brickhouse's first on-air appearance was at the age of 18 for WMBD in Peoria. He made a week. In 1940, he went to Chicago to begin a career that would span five decades. He worked barn dances and political conventions, did man-on-the-street interviews, and conducted...
Written on 19/06/2012, 17:47 by andrew
tricentennial-tree Peoria's oldest tree is the 300-year-old bur white oak in the Peoria Park District's Giant Oak Park on High Street. A seedling from the tree was planted on the grounds of the Illinois State capitol on October 1, 1992. A year earlier, September 10, 1991, area children gathered acorns that were nurtured into seedlings and distributed throughout the community. This project was a part of Peoria's...
Written on 19/06/2012, 17:38 by andrew
upper-free-bridge The wood floored Upper Free Bridge was built at the near the location of the current McCluggage Bridge in 1888. Before the construction of the bridge, people would cross the river by ferry at a rate of six and a quarter cents for foot passengers, twenty-five cents for a man and a horse, and wagons at thirty-seven cents. It is believed that Abraham Lincoln crossed the river on this ferry during one...
Written on 18/06/2012, 22:12 by andrew
john-c-proctor-recreation-center John C. Proctor, a Peoria businessman and philanthropist, left funds to build a recreation center upon his death on June 22, 1907. His trustees, who were several prominent businessmen, used a 0,000 grant to build the center. It was originally both a recreation center and public baths. An estimated 500 people a day came to the Center for the sole purpose of bathing. The Center included organized...
Written on 18/06/2012, 22:03 by andrew
g-a-r-hall  Bryer Post 67 of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) was organized in October 1879. In 1909, this group of Civil War Veterans moved into their new meeting quarters at 416 Hamilton St. Their new home, the Greenhut Memorial, was named for Joseph B. Greenhut, a prominent Peorian of their time, who donated approximately two-thirds of the cost of the building. The building's architecture is...
Written on 18/06/2012, 21:52 by andrew
easton-house Easton House was originally home to Edward and Sarah Easton. Edward was born in 1842, the son of a grain merchant and grandson of a Scottish immigrant. At 13, he entered the work force as a train boy. Soon after he began buying and selling grain on the street and entered the prosperous grain purchasing industry. In 1864, Edward married Sarah D. Hall of Peoria. They had 3 children, two boys and a...
Written on 18/06/2012, 21:41 by andrew
fibber-mcgee-and-molly During the Golden Days of Radio, several Peorians were well-known radio personalities on a variety of programs. Native Peorians Jim Jordan and Marion Driscoll Jordan created the famous "Fibber McGee and Molly" show, a half-hour program comprised of skits highlighting characters who would visit the McGee home at 79 Wistful Vista. The Jordans met as teens at the choir of St. John's Church. They...
Written on 18/06/2012, 21:28 by andrew
betty-friedan Born in Peoria in 1921, Betty Friedan graduated as one of six Valedictorians of the Peoria High School class of 1938. She graduated from Smith College with honors in 1942 with a psychology degree and married Carl Friedan in 1947. After being fired from her job in 1949 for asking for maternity leave for her second child, she became a full-time wife and mother. Feeling unsatisfied in her new role as...
Written on 18/06/2012, 20:47 by andrew
peoria-american-indians  Migration eastward from the Columbia River Plateau of the Pacific Northwest more than 3,500 years ago brought a people eventually called "the Peoria" to this area. A sub-nation of the Illiniwek confederacy, they occupied parts of current northeast Iowa, southwest Wisconsin, and northwest Illinois. "Peoria" has been translated as "prairie fire that moves about," and it appears the tribe did...
Written on 18/06/2012, 20:25 by andrew
festival-of-lights  The Festival of Lights in East Peoria, Illinois originated in 1984 as a part of the East Peoria Centennial Celebration and has grown each year to become an internationally known event. Annually, the Festival, which takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, welcomes nearly 800,000 visitors during its month-long run. The Parade of Lights alone hosts approximately 100,000 people, and now...
Written on 18/06/2012, 19:57 by andrew
peace-and-harvest  On September 3, 1939, England declared war on Germany, commencing World War II. Ironically, the sculptures Peace and Harvest were unveiled during a ceremony in Peoria this same day. Produced under the Illinois Art Project of the Depression-era's Works Progress Administration, Peace and Harvest are two of the most celebrated artworks in the Prairie State. These two 8-foot by 2-foot statues are...
Written on 18/06/2012, 19:35 by andrew
glen-oak-park  The Peoria park system was established in 1893. Its first purchase, known as Birkett Hollow, consisted of 72 acres and cost ,000 in 1894. An artificial lake, with Rose Island in its center, was created for boaters, and a boathouse offered boat rentals. Another frequented area of the park, Sulphur Spring, was a popular spot during the summer. The original pavilion still stands near the...
Written on 18/06/2012, 19:26 by andrew
forest-park-nature-center  Guided by a Forest Park naturalist, hikers move silently up the valley trail over a thick blanket of snow. In the light of the full moon, they can make out the smooth path, slender trees, and the frozen creek bed. These nighttime hikers are on the hunt--the hunt to hear the "who-who-ah-whoo" call of the Great Horned Owl.   The City of Peoria and Peoria Heights surround Forest Park on...
Written on 18/06/2012, 18:02 by luke
should-pullman-state-historic-district-in-illinois-be-added-to-the-national-park-systemShould a state historic district that protects the birthplace of the Pullman sleeping car that once was a hallmark of rail travel be added to the National Park System? A congressional subcommittee is considering that possibility.The state of Illinois already operates the Pullman State Historic Site not far from downtown Chicago. The site is where George Pullman brought to reality his belief that...
Written on 18/06/2012, 17:44 by luke
live-performances-scheduled-at-presidential-museum-this-summerSPRINGFIELD — The sounds of the 1800s will drift through the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum as several live performances are scheduled this summer.  Paid Museum admission is required except for the performances in Union Square Park.  All programs are suitable for the whole family, and are part of the Springfield “History Comes Alive” program.   Musician and storyteller Mike...
Written on 18/06/2012, 17:34 by luke
some-illinois-state-parks-could-close-without-new-revenueOne of Gov. Pat Quinn's first acts after assuming office in 2009 was reopening seven state parks that predecessor Rod Blagojevich shuttered in a cost-saving move. At the time, Quinn argued that closing the parks cost Illinois more in lost tourism dollars than the move saved. But just three years later, ongoing money problems may lead to new state park closures just as the summer tourist season is...
Written on 18/06/2012, 17:04 by andrew
civil-war-memorial The Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil War Memorial was erected by the Ladies' Memorial Day Association through donations from the city, including pennies from area schoolchildren. President McKinley and members of his cabinet attended the dedication of the memorial on October 6, 1899. Fritz Triebel created this memorial, which he called "The Defense of the Flag." In 1898, the bronze sculptures, which...
Written on 18/06/2012, 16:43 by andrew
frederick-triebel  Frederick Triebel was born in Peoria on December 29, 1865. He was one of ten children born to a pioneer couple named Otto and Elize Triebel. Otto was successful in the marble business and eventually came to own his own business with two of his sons, William and Henry. The firm was named Triebel and Sons, and they built many Peoria memorials and monuments. Four of Otto's sons are identified...
Written on 18/06/2012, 16:35 by andrew
robert-green-ingersoll Robert Green Ingersoll, born in Dresden, New York, in 1833, was one of the leading orators and political speechmakers of late 19th century America. His father was a Presbyterian minister who often moved his family to various congregations in New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The family came to settle in Illinois when Robert was a young man.Ingersoll was apprenticed to two lawyers in order to qualify...
Written on 18/06/2012, 16:16 by andrew
romeo-b-garrett Romeo B. Garrett was the first African-American to receive a master's degree from and to serve as a professor at Bradley University. He studied and taught sociology. As a young man he was aware of the lack of information about blacks in both history books and the public eye. He thus began an extensive documentation of the accomplishments of blacks in all fields. The first item to enter his...
Written on 18/06/2012, 16:00 by andrew
archbishop-fulton-j-sheen Born in 1895 in El Paso, Illinois, the man who would become Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was raised and educated in Peoria, attending St. Mary's Catholic grade school and graduating from Spalding Institute in 1913. Preparing for the priesthood at St. Viator's in Bourbonnais, Illinois, he was ordained in Peoria in 1919. Following studies in Europe, he returned in 1926 to what would be his only parish...
Written on 18/06/2012, 15:15 by andrew
father-pere-jacques-marquette Pere Jacques Marquette was the first white man to bring the Catholic faith to the Peoria area. During his visit, he spoke to and learned from the Native Americans living in the area, the Peouarea after whom the City of Peoria is named. They were virtually untouched by European influence until Marquette and his fellow French explorers reached them. Pere Jacques Marquette was born in June 1, 1637, in...
Written on 18/06/2012, 15:02 by andrew
octave-chanute Eventually known in some circles as "The Father of Aviation," Octave Chanute spent most of his life as a civil engineer, only turning to aeronautics at the age of 60. Born February 18, 1832, in Paris, France, Chanute immigrated with his family to the United States at a very young age. His first recorded presence in Peoria is noted in the 1856 city directory as a resident of the Peoria House Hotel....

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