One of my favorite buildings in Peoria is the Kickapoo Building on Main Street. It’s Peoria’s only flatiron building and has been standing tall in the same spot on Main Street since the early 1900’s. It received Landmark status a couple years ago and the building has seen a revival of sorts with Thirty-Thirty Coffee moving in to the building five years ago and recently the top floor was renovated into apartments. I’ve always wanted to see an apartment up there and look at the top floor, so when I met Kevin Harlan, who’s the Vice President and General Manager at WMBD, WYZZ & CI Proud, I immediately asked if I could stop by and take some photos for a post here on MBIP and he said I was more than welcome to stop by. And so, here we go on an MBIP House Call to The Kickapoo Building on Main Street!
And just like magic, here we are! I love this building, I lived nearby the Flatiron Building in New York, so looking at The Kickapoo Building always reminds me of my old neighborhood in downtown Manhattan. There’s the Anheuser-Busch logo that’s adorned the building since the beginning and the bottom of the photo shows the other side of the building. The apartments are on the top floor there, but, as usual, I’m early for our appointment to see Kevin, so...
Let’s go inside of Thirty-Thirty Coffee and get a little Sunday morning breakfast, even though it’s the afternoon. To me, anytime that the rotten sun is shining is the morning, I live my life in two shifts: During sunshine and after sunshine. I actually found out on this visit that they’re open on Sunday and was surprised by the crowd in here, there’s the line to the counter to order and at the counter is Allee, smiling and looking very pretty as she took my order. That’s her and the crew working and they said they’d call my name when it’s ready, so let’s take a little look around in here till then.
Here’s a shot from the other end of the coffee house and of course I had to get a shot of the famous bear that used to be in the Jumer Hotel. The Jumer family own the Kickapoo Building and have let Thirty-Thirty Coffee put it out on display near the back entrance. I love the bear!
Okay, my name was called just as Nick was putting the finishing touches on my hot chocolate. Yeah, I drink hot chocolate in the summertime, leave me alone! I decided to grab a table over there in the corner and there’s my Sunday morning breakfast: A glass of Earl Grey iced tea with honey, a maple danish and the hot chocolate with the floating heart on top. Breakfast was delicious and now it’s time for us to go meet Kevin at the apartment complex at the top of the Kickapoo Building. I can’t wait!
Here we go up the stairs to the top of the building. On the way there’s some great vintage Peoria photos and there’s the man himself, Kevin Harlan at the top of the stairs! Check out the view up here of the hallway, I love the wooden floor! Kevin told me that this used to be hotel rooms up here, which I never knew!
Kevin’s leading the way to his apartment here in the Kickapoo Building. It’s really nice and there’s a beautiful wooden floor in here as well. The place reminds me of a really cool loft space in New York, but the rent would be a lot more there!
Check out the view of Main Street up here, beautiful!
There’s the kitchen area and as you can see the place is wonderfully decorated and there’s another view of the parking lot over through the blinds on the window in the kitchen area.
Kevin lives here with his wife and their daughter when she’s in town from college, but today only one member of the family besides Kevin is in here and that’s Lily the cat! This is one friendly cat and she’s so pretty! And of course she brings back a memory of a Who song!
As nice as the apartment is, there’s a room that Kevin was really anxious to show me and that’s...
This room that houses his percussion business. Kevin’s had a very successful media career that’s taken him from his hometown of St. Louis to both coasts and now he’s landed in Peoria for the second time in charge of WMBD TV, but as much as that keeps him busy and focused, his true passion is percussion. Kevin has his own percussion company (Harlan Percussion) and you can read about all about the company right here, but he makes percussion instruments that are used in symphonies and bands across the country and beyond. And they’re all made handmade by Kevin from this room right here in Peoria!
Kevin makes all kinds of percussion instruments, but he’s best known for the Harlan Tambourine. It all started with a drum shop in St. Louis back in 1974 and you can read the history of how this all started by clicking right here. Since then, Kevin has grown this business and he’s become known in musical circles as the go-to guy for tambourines. Some of his clients include the Peoria Symphony, The St. Louis Symphony, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, The University of Akron Percussion Studies and Neil Peart, the drummer for Rush, just to name a few.
Here’s the work space where the instruments are handmade by Kevin. The bottom photo is wood blocks that he’s working on and there’s other percussion instruments made here like triangles...
But when you hang out in here with Kevin, you can tell that the tambourine is his true passion. “Some people have golf, I have this,” Kevin told me when explaining his passion for all things percussive. Check out the website and his facebook page for more information and photos. Thanks to Kevin for a really fun tour of his apartment and his percussion business in the Kickapoo Building! We’ll see you all tomorrow!