I was invited to stop by the Peoria Historical Society today by the curator of the Historical Society, Bob Killion. I don’t get invited to a lot of places, but when I do, I think it’s only proper to bring lunch if that’s the time of day you’re stopping by. So I decided to get a pizza from Hoops on Main Street and turn this visit into a little historical pizza party.
It's a nice day outside and the snow is melting as we drive off into the wild blue yonder towards a pizza pie and the Peoria Historical Society.
And we're half way there as we pull up to Hoops. I've pre-ordered the pizza, so let's go in and see if it's ready.
And here is it is, boxed up and ready to go. Bartender Jules serves it up with a pretty smile!
Here we are at the Peoria Historical Society at 611 Washington Street in downtown Peoria. The sign says "open," so let's go inside and see what's happening. This is history in the making!
Here's Cody who runs the front of the building, he told me Bob was right down the hall in his office.
And so it's down the hallway we go...
And here's Bob at his desk. Bob's been the curator here for the last six years, we decided to go next door to the meeting room and eat the pizza, before the tour of the place.
Okay, time to start the pizza portion of this party, oh how I wish there was a six pack of beer in this picture, but it's just noon and I have to go to work in a few hours, so there's just a can of Pepsi and a bottle of tea to wash the pie down.
And here it is, I got the hamburger and cheese pizza and it was delicious!
While we enjoyed the pizza Bob told me about the Peoria Historical Society. It's been in existence since 1934 and they own two historic houses in town, which I plan on making House Calls to in the future, so stay tuned for that. The mission of the PHS is to preserve and celebrate Peoria's story, which is what I'm trying to do too. You can read more about the Peoria Historical Society here. Okay, the pizza was great and now...
The tour begins! Everyone is welcome to stop by and check out the items on display down here and best of all, it's free! I would suggest you call before stopping by as a common courtesy. Alright let's see a sampling of what's what in here!
This is a page out of the 1873 Atlas of Peoria county. The PHS has every image from this atlas digitized and they are available to the public to buy. There's also a limited number of original pages for sale as well. Stop by or call for details.
Here's a hand-colored page from the Atlas. It's a view of Peoria from 1831. Very cool!
PHS has the largest collection of Hiram Walker material outside of the corporation itself.
Here's a picture of the first barrel of whiskey produced in Illinois after prohibition. Somewhere in the crowd is a shaky person waiting for them to tap that thing!
This case features some Hiram Walker's products and collectible artifacts.
This flag was flown by the 33rd Infantry division in WWI. It was originally brought
from the war and owned by Colonel Jeremiah McQuade. It was donated to PHS
by Mohammed Shrine Temple in 1974 (McQuade had been a member before his death in 1955.)
You can read about the flag in this article from the Peoria Journal Star in the right hand corner.
Here's a small exhibit of objects from Peoria past. A plate from the hotel Pere Marquette, a brick from the Bergners building, a Gipps beer artifact, and an item from First National Bank.
An image of The Madison Theater featuring Will Rogers on the marquee. This Image is made from one of PHS's glass plates and is a sample of the type of images PHS has for sale. These images have been purchased by multiple businesses around the area.
The tour continues down this hallway as Bob leads the way.
Here's a collection of vintage and beer bottle caps, framed and hanging on the wall.
This is kind of freaky, it's a hair wreath. Bob said these were popular during the Victorian era and were often done as mourning pieces.
Kind of a creepy painting of Dr. George Zeller by P.R. McIntosh. Zeller founded the Zeller Zone mental institution here in Peoria. The mental institution closed years ago and Bob pointed out that the eyes on the painting were scratched out by a mental patient. I'm going to have nightmares tonight after seeing this!
Okay, now we're talking! A bottle of Rock Cave Whiskey. In front are snow shoes from the first telephone lineman in Peoria. To the left are Victorian photo albums, and to the right a decoration from a Cutler Proctor stove.