Willie York is back in downtown Peoria!
No, he hasn’t risen from the dead, he’s part of the current mural on the side of the C.T. Gabbert Remodeling & Construction building. It’s been a while since we visited there, let’s go down to the Warehouse District and take a look.
Here we are at C.T. Gabbert Remodeling and Construction in the heart of the Warehouse District in beautiful downtown Peoria. I did a post on the outdoor art on this building back in May of 2016, I can’t believe that was over three years ago!
There’s all new art and photos on display, so let’s take a look, section by section!
As I promised in the introduction, here’s Willie York, one of Peoria’s most legendary characters. You can read about him in this article by Phil Luciano and in this MBIP post I put up as a tribute after he died.
It’s wonderful to see him back in downtown Peoria on the side of the building. Chuck Gabbert took this photo of Willie about ten years ago and said that Willie hung around here a lot. Chuck said he’d buy Willie coffee and lunch sometimes.
Next to the photo of Willie is some of his original artwork. Chuck said that Willie had entered this in a local art contest. Local photographer/artist Doug Leunig helped Chuck put the photo and art all into one print.
What a nice tribute to Willie York and nice to see him still hanging out in downtown Peoria!
United Stroke Alliance
The next section is a collection of artwork done by local fifth grade students to promote stroke awareness. It was part of a contest put on by the Peoria United Stroke Alliance. Chuck said he picked these at random among the hundreds of pieces of art. You can read more about the Peoria United Stroke Alliance here.
Artwork by Blair Clark
This is a print of a pencil drawing that Blair drew of herself and her sister being read to by their Grandmother as children. Chuck said he picked it because he thought it would be a nice piece of art to hang next to…
The Free Book Library
I love this little library! It’s a mini house of books! You can take one or you can leave one. It’s just that simple!
Birdhouses and the Tire Flower Tire Swing
There’s birdhouses here in the middle and as you can see, the rent is cheep! Ha, ha, ha! I love the hanging tire with the flowers in them, very colorful and nice use for an old tire.
A Butterfly and a Bee
The art even spills out into the parking lot here at C.T. Gabbbert.
Chuck’s son Joe paints new designs on this car and now there’s Popeye images, patriotic designs and pink flamingos and flowers in the back. Very cool!
Let’s go inside and say hi. Check out the unintentional obligatory mirror shot happening in the door. I think we all know by now I love it when that happens!
Chuck was out on a business call, but his son Joe was inside and he showed me the original photo that Chuck took of Willie York over ten years ago.
He also showed me this poster of an event that happened last year: The Big Picture Street and Film Festival. I didn’t remember this and then when I saw the date that it happened, I realized why, it was right before I had my open heart surgery last October and I had gone off the grid and wasn’t doing much.
You can see photos and read about the festival by clicking here. Joe pointed out the window to a building across the street and said that the festival started with the mural over there. So of course I had to go look and take a picture.
The design is by my friend and official Marty Monologues artist, Chelsie Tamms from Lettering Works and it was painted by Joe and Nick Carmack. Before they painted Chelsie’s design, they had kids with Super Soakers spray the wall with paint for an abstract background.
There’s the official plaque and nice to see Born Paint as a sponsor!
Walking back to my car, I saw another interesting image on the other side of the building. This is from a college textbook and it’s the infamous Moldy Mary from Peoria.
Thanks to Chuck and Joe Gabbert for making a chunk of downtown Peoria so fun and interesting! They’re at work making a pub in the back of their store, so stay tuned for when I visit that in the future!
1323 SW Adams Street