THE FORGOTTEN FOUR

After the loss of Officer Faulkner and Sheriff Schofield, I remembered what the sheriff said when he dedicated OFFICER DOWN.  He was referring to the officers that died in the line of duty here in Peoria, Il

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Peoria's Grand Opera House

by Norman V. Kelly

As a local historian, most of my writings and speaking engagements concern the bawdy, seedy side of Peoria, Illinois, circa 1845-1950. Seems folks are more interested in our sordid, gangster and gambling past than they are about the truly remarkable history surrounding this great city. So it is with pleasure that I tell you about one of the most beautiful...

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Peoria’s Coliseum & Armory

 by Norman V. Kelly

Let’s go back to 1900 in Peoria, Illinois.  By then Peoria was sophisticated lady, I can tell you that.  The population was 56,100 and we lived in a 9.1 square miles of City Limits.  We had a magnificent GRAND OPERA HOUSE, a fistful of breweries and distilleries and a highly rated park system and school system.  We were the center for all...

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A Bridge Too Old

by Norman V. Kelly

There is a lady who resides with her many friends at Buehler Home who is a living historian with a great memory.  She told me about her childhood trips to the Upper Free Bridge. After a bus ride and a streetcar ride, they found themselves at...

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1866: The Shaft

by NORMAN V. KELLY
Photo Courtesy of Peoria Historical Society


I remember seeing ‘The Shaft,’ that’s what we grew up calling it, standing there within the square on the Jefferson Street side of the courthouse.  It was 1950, the Korean War was on and I was heading for the United States Air Force.  On my last day in Peoria, I stood looking up at that old weather-beaten, limestone shaft thinking a bit about the Civil War.  I remember wondering why it was still...

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PEORIA DURING THE CIVIL WAR

by Norman V Kelly

When 1860 began there were editorials and comments from everyone that ever picked up a newspaper here **in Peoria, Illinois** that it looked like the **United States was going to have a Civil War.**  The local newspapers who were always at each other’s throats seemed to think there was no way out of it.  If you think we have political battles now you should sit down and read our old newspapers. I did for thirty-three years.  I wrote twelve books and hundreds of articles from the information I gleaned from all those articles and historical records and I followed our very early history for well over three decades.

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Bishop Hill Revives Pioneer Traditions to Welcome Spring

by Brian "Fox" Ellis

**Spring Jubilee** has deep roots in Bishop Hill. After that first, long, cold winter in 1846, the pioneers were eager to celebrate the jubilee that is spring. The folks who live and work in Bishop Hill today are celebrating **Spring Jubilee Saturday, April 2nd from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm** with crafts, exhibits, and programs that invite families to enjoy the season. Visitors can receive a nose gay flower arrangement, craft a flower pot or bug catcher, plant a prairie, paint a gourd, view a toy tractor display, enjoy lunch at one of three restaurants, learn about bees, and decorate a set of pottery.

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1851: THE PRAIRIE HANGINGS

by Norman V. Kelly

It was 1850 and the little village trading post had become a town in 1835 and a city in 1845.  The total make up of the entire Peoria city limits was only one square mile.  There were a few cabins, a house or two a couple of breweries and distilleries and a library.  It was astounding how this little city...

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Diary of Our River City

I thought I would bring you some early history in a form of a diary that was devotedly kept and guarded by our keeper of the records, the folks at the Peoria Public Library. Even before we became a city in 1845, there were newspapers located here, followed quickly by a library and record keepers, court files, and police reports. That record was scrupulously kept. Most importantly for me as a writer was the record of deaths kept in the coroner’s office.  The only time our records were distorted was during the time our pet gangster....

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Not All Gifts Fit Under The Christmas Tree

“An American Family Christmas,” which will be presented Dec. 18-20 by the Peoria Area Civic Chorale, is one of those gifts. The concert series will be performed at the Five Points Performing Arts Center in Washington.

Dr. Joseph Henry, artistic director and conductor, called “An American Family Christmas” a “musical escape” from a season that can be “hectic, a little chaotic, and full of...

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Barrack’s Hospitality Group

Like so many others in a ‘family’ business Jim has been at it ---- really --- his whole life. 

Barrack’s Catering began in 1933, at the corner of Knoxville and Ravine, at a small commercial kitchen. All catering was done offsite at that time. With Jim’s help and guidance they bought the property that is now the corporate office at 1224 Pioneer Parkway in Peoria and added their banquet facility to offer a...

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Jaded

by Teresa Johnson-Noe

I was thinking the other day about my nickname. Not the nickname that you all know me by, but the one that I penned myself back in 1993. It was the pseudonym that I went by in all of my blogging years and the one that suited me for so long that I began to develop a “reputation” of sorts around it.

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Home of the Gondola

by Bill More

Avanti’s ---

Imagine a restaurant that will be celebrating 50 years……….

Avanti’s in Peoria was started by Albert Zeller. He came to America from Switzerland as a very young man, in 1959.  He is now 76 and his restaurant is 50 years old. Do the math. 

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