WELCOME- Peoria History is a site dedicated to free access of privately held documents and artifacts of historical significance to the central Illinois region. It offers an opportunity for organizations and individual collectors to become a community of curators. Utilizing Dublin Core Metadata Initiative specifications, digitized artifacts will be cataloged and made available for the public to appreciate and explore.

We are working hard to digitize our first donated collection. This site remains under construction; please check back at a later date to view our progress.

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  • Early Pabst Letters

    These two letters are from a time when the Pabst's presence in Peoria was limited to bottling. The manager, Leopold Emil Ludwig Holzapfel writes to Pabsts real-estate headquarters about the purchase of land in Forrest, IL owned by William D Lee (1827-1907) and improvements to a property. The first letter is initialed on the bottom with F. P. Jr. and F. A. F. Contents of letterhead: Pabst Brewing Co.- Of Milwaukee, Wis.- Telephone No. 218 There is an emblem in the upper left corner that has "Peoria" above and "Branch" below the Pabst logo. "Age," "Purity," "Strength," and "Pabst Milwaukee" appear around the the leaf logo.
  • Kingman & Co.- Letter- 1892

    Kingman & Co. of Peoria writes a letter regarding their bicycle product line to A. M. Holter Hardware Co. of Helena, Montana. Contents of letterhead: Martin Kingman, Pres't.- C. A. Jamison, Vice-Pres't.- G. H. Schimpff, Sec’y & Treas.- H. G. Ellis, St. Louis Manager- Geo. M. Moore, Kansas City Manager.- Kingman & Co.- Farm Machinery- Buggies, Wagons, Binder Twine.- There is a green emblem in the top left corner that contains a triangle with Peoria Illinois at the top, Saint Louis Missouri on the right side and Kansas City Missouri on the left side. Binder Twine, Buggies, Wagons, and Farm Machinery are written on the outside of the triangle. The company name, Kingman & Co., is written in the triangle.
  • H.F. Mehl Excursion Company- Letter- 1918

    Herman Frederick Mehl, Joe Frohsin, and Albert T. Griffith write to Emil Herman Yarke, a soldier getting ready to head off to France. This letter was written three days before the sinking of the Columbia. It was possibly written in the hand of Ethel Mae Mehl. Contents of letterhead: H. F. Mehl, President and General Manager.- E.M. Mehl, Secretary and Treasurer - H. F. Mehl Excursion Company- Steamer Columbia and Barge Summer Girl- Capacity 2,000.- Most Elegantly Equipped, Up-To-Date, Exclusive and Fastest Stamer on Western Waters.- Office 119 Main Street- New Phone 4833- Old Phone 2826- Residence- 109 Ayrers Avenue- Phone 7715 Main
  • Peoria Wesleyan Seminary-1851

    This is a program describing the order of exercises for the Peoria Wesleyan Seminary which had a relatively short run in 1851. Some controversy surrounded its operations and they were forced to close down shortly after. Charles Ballance in his book The History of Peoria (1870) had this to say: "The Methodist Church, in 1851, by virtue of a charter from the legislature, ushered into life, with the sound of trumpets, 'The Wesleyan Seminary of Peoria, Illinois'. They purchased the Mitchell House, at the corner of Fulton and Jefferson streets, and put forth a large programme, with a list of no less than twenty-three trustees; but this thing went down, before it was fairly up. Our Methodist brethren were so unwise as to put a very sanctimonious but a very immoral man at the head of this institution. The people were greatly pleased with the prospects of the seminary, and but for that unfortunate selection, it would hardly have failed of success. They were just going into operation, when it was suddenly ascertained, from unmistakable facts, that he who was appointed to educate our daughters was a vile hypocrite--a filthy debauchee. He fled from the state, and the institution sunk without an effort to save it. The Methodists saw at once that, although we had confidence in them as a Christian community, we could not trust them to select teachers for our daughters."
  • Birth Night Ball- 1844

    This is an invitation to the Birth Night Ball that was to celebrate George Washington's birthday. This was to take place at the Planters House at 6:00 on February 22nd, 1844. The organizers included: Isaac Underhill, George T. Metcalfe, Peter Sweat, Joshua P. Hotchkiss, Charles W. McClallen, Edward F. Nowland, C. R. Hall, Dennis Blakely, W. C. Dodge, Philo Holland, and G. L. Ryers.
  • Spirits Inspections for G. T. Barker- 1867

    The regional Internal Revenue inspector issued these three receipts for barrels of spirits produced by Gardner T. Barker in January, February, and March of 1867.
  • Riverfront Property Taxes- 1865

    This is a record for taxes collected on property owned by Gardner T. Barker. The property is described as bounded by Peoria & Oquaka Rail Road, Coles Distillery, Illinois River, and Kellogg and Nowland packing House. It is signed by Michael Ruppelieus and ?? Lindsay.
  • Ira E Benton-Check #26

    Ira E Benton wrote this check on October 16, 1868 to the carpenters Bramble and Lynch for $493.75. It was during this time that the construction of the Hale Chapel was taking place. It is possible that this check was written to pay for services rendered during the construction. Further research is required.
  • The Grand-Theatre Program

    The Grand theater published this program for "Under the Dome" on October 28, 1900. Advertisements: Sutliff & Case Co., Frank H. Putnam, Peoria Livery Company, The T. P. & W. Railway, Great Rock Island Route, Sprenger Bros., Iowa Central Railway, Lewis' cigars, Chicago and Alton Railway, Phil. S. O'Mara, Harned, Bergner & Von Maur, Cushen Coal Company, The Empire, H. F. Sehnert & Co., Woodbury's Facial Soap, John W. Adams, Schipper & Block, Oriental Tea Co., W.E. Hack & Co., West's Cream Pepsin Chewing Gum, Hendryx Rye, John C. Streibich, DeKroyft's Pharmacy, Plank Bros. Laundry, Johnson & Marsters, John Zahringer, The Oriental, The Papst
  • Holt Brothers- Price List

    Holt Brothers created this price list, circa 1876, for their products produced in Concord, NH. This company is a predecessor of Caterpillar.
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