My Tardy Mumblings.....

by Marvin Forssander-Baird 

Today, we often run across buildings from past eras and wonder just what used to be there. We might be curious about the purposes people once had for constructing a particular building and perhaps even wonder what in the world could it could be used for today, if anything. Surely times have changed and so have the technologies that drive our world. Today, everything is computerized, electrified, simplified—you name it. We drive, we fly, we Skype and so forth, yet one thing has not changed: we are still human with the same basic needs. Of course when the subject of basic needs arises, we tend to think of food, clothing and shelter, but I think there are more basic needs than that. Surely we can't exist without those particular three essentials, but in order to actually live, we need to feed our souls, ignite our imaginations and have a sense of solid grounding. That's where history jumps up to the plate. READ MORE

Read More

Thoughts for 2013

by Marvin Forssander-Baird

2012 is history: literally. It has joined the likes of 1812 with its famous overture by Tchaikovsky and 1912 when the Titanic steamed into history. But where, exactly, is 2012 and those other years? They are all around you. Everywhere, the accomplishments of 2012 resonate in houses that were built last year, in trees that were planted, in cars that hit the roads and in a million other new bits and pieces of physical evidence of our meanderings. 2013 is awash in the achievements of 2012. READ MORE

Read More

URBAN TAPESTRY

by Marvin Forssander-Baird

For over three centuries, there has been European and then American settlement in the area that is now Peoria. Prior to that, Native Americans were a part of this landscape for countless ages. Everywhere around us, there are echoes of that long and varied past. There is something rather indelible that binds us all together through the spans of time; much like a tapestry made of a thousand threads woven together and bound by an intricate border. READ MORE

Read More

FAITHFUL ROOTS

by Marvin Forssander-Baird

Familiar landmarks can sometimes be perhaps a bit too familiar. In our daily travels, we tend to become so absorbed in where we are going and what we are doing that we tend to overlook the multitude of rich pieces of history that surround us. It really is a shame how we often miss out on so many of the fine details that are not only beautiful, but if scrutinized, tell the story of our city in layers of vivid details. Every building has a past and a story to tell. This is a fact that I preach again and again to my friends and family. Some of the stories told by our city’s architecture go much, much deeper than we may realize. The foundations of those buildings consist of much more than the bricks and stones that faithfully support them from below.  One such example is the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception. In fact, St. Mary’s may be one of the very best examples of a long story that predates the actual building that exists today. READ MORE

Read More

SAVING THE PIECES

by Marvin Forssander-Baird

Speak of historical preservation to a hundred people and a tsunami of differing opinions will surge back to you. Often, preservation is a “nice” thing to do and there are numerous buildings that “someone” ought to save. Certainly, all around us there are buildings that have witnessed important events and housed important citizens while some simply stand as fine examples of ever changing popular taste.  Peoria is incredibly endowed with a trove of fine old buildings from one end of town to the other in an amazing diversity of styles and functions. Those old structures still whisper their stories to us and tell us about the human past of this city. Unfortunately, those stories are too often falling on deaf ears and brick by brick, this city is losing the physical evidence of its heritage.

Read More

BEST OF SOCIETY

by Marvin Forssander-Baird

On any given day in Peoria, it is possible to easily rub shoulders with the “best of society” while enjoying an astounding array of artwork in a placid outdoors setting.  Hidden in plain sight is a hands-on local history experience like none that can be found in books or online.

Read More