Peoria Landmark #393
This is the ABC Washer Company assembly line in East Peoria,
as shown in Jerry Klein’s book Peoria. (I thought I had seen this picture somewhere before – I didn’t look it up, but I’ll take Sue G’s word for it.)
The Altorfer Bros. Company was a washing machine manufacturer founded by brothers A.W. and Silas Altorfer in Roanoke, Illinois in 1909.
The brothers first created a power clothes washer after watching their sisters and mother hand-washing piles of clothes. It was basically a wooden tub mounted to a bench with wooden “fingers” to wash the clothes, and attached to a gasoline engine. After two years, sales of the new power washer were in the thousands. They called the machine the Roanoke Power Machine.
The company became known as the ABC Washer Company and its appliances were sold under the ABC brand. The company built a new factory in Peoria, Illinois, (should say East Peoria??) and the wooden tub was replaced with a metal tub. In 1926, ABC produced the first porcelain-lined tub. In 1928, ABC took over the Federal Washing Machine Company of Chicago, Illinois, which was producing washing machines for the Insull utilities company founded by Samuel Insull. ABC became Insull’s supplier and made washing machines under the Fedelco brand exclusively for them.
In 1952, Altorfer Bros. Company was purchased by the Nash-Kelvinator company, and began manufacturing products under the Kelvinator brand as well.
* Photo idea by Scott Smith.
Peoria Landmark #392
Here’s some history courtesy of Sarah Akerman and Sue Grawey.
Construction began January, 1905 – warehouse for Larkin Soap Company – completed November, 1905. Built under the supervision of Paul F. Mueller, Chicago general contractor. Mueller was known as Frank Lloyd Wright’s builder of choice. Wright designed Larkin’s office building in Buffalo, N Y in 1904. (razed). The Larkin name is (? was) at the top of this building. The font used was similar to one used by Wright. I’ve not been able to document if Wright was the architect. Cost $150,000.
There were other Larkin buildings in Peoria – at least three, I think, but my research on those buildings / locations is sketchy.
John D. Larkin established a soap factory in Buffalo in 1875. The company had sales of $220,000 in 1892 and 15 million in 1906. Google the company for an interesting history.
It opened in 2000 as the mixed use of condos & office space we know today and was commonly known as the Foster Gallagher building.
*photo taken March, 1992.
Peoria Landmark #391
This ought to bring back some memories. Since it’s pretty obvious what this is, can anyone guess when I took the picture? If anyone knows when and why it closed down, that would be nice to know too!
Journal Star, May 23, 2004 in an article titled “The 7 Wonders of Peoria”
During his youth, Ron Innes didn’t harbor the dreams of typical boys. His ultimate goal involved hubcaps.
“That was always his dream, ever since he was a little boy, to have a house covered in wheel coverings,” said wife Sandy Innes.
Though he died more than a year ago, Ron Innes lived long enough to see his vision come to pass. In 1990, he opened the Hubcap House , a structure covered from foundation to rooftop in sparkling silver hubcaps.
The other 7 “wonders” are Carl’s Chicken, the Emo Clown, Neil’s Auto Arch, Twistee Treat Cone, Height’s Tower Woodpecker, and of course, Vanna Whitewall.
In another article referred to by Steve from 2009, Phil Luciano says it the property was leveled in 2005 to make way for a parking lot.
It also says this, “The city once complained that the Hubcap House violated an ordinance mandating that no sign cover more than 20 percent of a business. The Hubcap House countered by saying the wheel covers were not a sign but a wall covering, just like aluminum siding. After receiving a petition with more than 1,000 signatures supporting the unconventional exterior, the city decided to leave the Hubcap House alone.”
btw – I took that picture March of 1992 and the physical address was 3601 SW Adams.
Peoria Landmark #390
A near extinct icon, the phone booth. This one sits, as JK said, at the corner of Jefferson & Harrison. The guts of the phone are gone. This is the only phone booth I know of that still stands, and this will probably be gone soon because as David alluded to, this is the future site of Big Al’s.
Along with the Hamm’s Beer Bear, I think the Riverfront Museum folks ought to look at adding this to the local history section of their museum.
Peoria Landmark #389
This is an old Standard Oil station, located on Wayne & Perry, with a ’72 Ford Pickup (??) parked in front, and there were, in fact, two people there when I visited (you can see one in the reflection of the glass) but I cannot confirm if they sold funny balloons inside.
Searching the web, I found a picture of another station with similar lettering in Macomb.
* Hat Tip: Chef Kevin