Peoria History Up Close

Peoria History

There’s no better way to learn about Peoria history than through the Peoria Historical Society’s tours that run June through October annually.  Each are conducted by a PHS docent with a great understanding of the events, people and places in the Peoria area that have an interesting past unique to the River City.

Abe LincolnThe Peoria Historical Society Tours will run June through October in 2022.  With several different tours to choose from, you will learn about many varying facets of Peoria history.   As the land of Lincoln, a tour about Abe Lincoln’s mark on Peoria is a requirement.   From abolition to the GAR Hall in downtown the area’s history was profound.

Peoria Historical Society - Notable Women of Peoria MontageOne of the newest tours, the Notable Peoria Women Tour, features Peoria women who’ve helped create important aspects of life in Peoria and the world including Lydia Moss Bradley, Betty Friedan and Susan Komen plus other women who have bettered life in Peoria through their fields of education, business, and medicine.

On the Walking Tour of High Street and Moss Avenue, stroll down High Street, first settled by distillers and financiers and others associated with the brewing and distilling industries. These lavish homes include the Easton Mansion and the Greenhut Mansion. Then continue down Moss Avenue, one of the first paved streets in Peoria, to see the homes of the second generation of whiskey barons.

During the Roots of the River City Tour, you’ll discover how Native Americans and French settled the area originally which then became the whiskey and earthmoving capitals of the world.  Also see the stately homes along High Street, Moss Avenue, Glen Oak, and Grandview Drive.

Peoria Historical Society - Naughty to NiceThe Naughty to Nice Tour follows Peoria’s notorious gamblers and mobsters, including Peoria’s most notorious crime, the Bernie Shelton murder.  Plus it looks at why Peoria has won the prestigious All-America City Award four times.

The Grandview Drive Tour, focuses on the history of the beautiful and homes of historic Grand View Drive, named the “world’s most beautiful drive” by President Theodore Roosevelt.  There is also a walking version of this tour available.

The Springdale Cemetery Tour takes you on an exploration of the oldest chartered cemetery in Illinois and the fascinating stories of those that rest there.  There is also a walking version of this tour.

The Warehouse District Renaissance Tour tells about the early history of the area and the factors that led to new development in that area over the last decade or so.

Peoria Historical Society - Roll Out the BarrelThe Roll out the Barrel Tour takes you from 1850 to Prohibition and how the volume of whiskey (distilled, aged and bottled) in Peoria led to great fortunes being made and also to the birth of equally prosperous secondary industries.

The Randolph-Roanoke Historic District Walking Tour takes you through the largest collection of Victorian homes in the city. Although many of the homes were converted to apartments in the 30’s and 40’s, the exteriors remain largely the same. Early residents included bank presidents, a mayor, a newspaper publisher, brewing magnates and other prominent businessmen with the fascinating stories of their lives and their homes.

Peoria Historical Society - Haunted PeoriaThe most popular of the tours, the Haunted Peoria Tour, tells the stories behind the ghostly appearances that have taken place in the area through the decades.  This tour will take place a dozen times in October.

For online tickets to any of the tours, visit https://309tix.com

Also visit our Events Calendar for more Peoria events!

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