Peoria Mug #466
Not much to say here, taken at the April 30 blogger bash inside the Bullpen Bar & Grill @ Landmark. It should be noted that besides running his own blog, the Peoria Blogfather (a name I christened him years ago with a nod to the Modfather) created BlogPeoria.com to encourage local blogging which hosts this site and many others including David P. Jordan’s excellent Peoria Station.
This is the Modfather… note the resemblance.
Top 5 Peoria crests
(1) 28.80 ft on 05/23/1943
(2) 28.70 ft on 03/23/1979
(3) 28.40 ft on 03/07/1985
(4) 27.94 ft on 03/14/2009
(5) 27.40 ft on 12/09/1982
As of this writing, the river sits at 28.27ft and a record crest of 30ft is predicted mid-day Tuesday the 23rd. (update: it hit 29.35ft)
Dry Run Creek in Bradley Park, 04/19/13
Junkyard on Southport Rd, 04/19/13
Mangled railroad tracks along Southport Rd, 04/19/13
One of two entry roads to a riverfront community near Spring Bay at a river height of 25ft, 04/20/13. A mandatory evacuation was issued.
Downtown Peoria, morning of 04/21/13, river nearing 28ft.
Peoria Landmark #448
Image scan by Kelli Agles
Caption to the photo, from approximately 1974, reads:
The nose lights up and the mouth moves when the “Talking Christmas Tree” at Bergner’s Sheridan Village store says, “Hi! How are you?” A tradition of eight years standing, the tree frequently draws wide-eyed admiration from boys and girls. The friendly smile of Doris Zeigler goes unseen, but her winning voice has been heard by countless children who’ve stopped for a chat. With microphone in one hand and a handle to control the tree’s mouth movements in the other, she sits in a cramped space inside it. – Staff photo by Larry Brooks
Phil Luciano wrote an article in today’s (12/09/12) Journal Star trying to track down the history and possibly one of the 13 original trees. As it likely won’t be available to read next year when people again start searching for info about the tree, I’m reprinting it below this awesome 1960′s era Bergners commercial.
It was the best of jobs, it was the worst of jobs.
It was the Bergner’s Talking Christmas Tree.
As the first employee inside the innovative promotion at its debut in 1966, Claudia Kane enjoyed coming up with the initial answers to kiddie questions, such as how a tree could talk.
“I’m magical,” the tree – er, Kane – would giddily reply.
“I loved it,” she says.
Two decades later, Kari Tangel also got a kick out of her job as the talking timber, especially as a way to launch an occasional practical joke. Sometimes, during lulls, she’d spot a shopper quietly examining wares nearby. The tree would bark, “Hey! Put that back!” – always sparking alarm from the innocent customer, who would anxiously glance everywhere but never find the source of the accusation.
Peoria Landmark #445
I received this photo from an email and knew I had seen it before, assuming it came from the Journal Star; after looking it up I want to give credit goes to photographer David Zalazni, as well as my commenters.
Mayor Rahm came down to Peoria back in March to get his shoes shined and explain how us downstaters and Chicago need each other and need to work together. *cough* *cough* Here’s the full text:
“We have more in common than what pulls us apart,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during a lunchtime speech at the Peoria Civic Center on Wednesday, extolling the virtues of partnership between Chicago and downstate Illinois.
The frequent friction between the two regions of the Land of Lincoln represents “the politics of the past,” Emanuel told a crowd of about 500 at the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event.
“It doesn’t serve the people of Illinois,” he said. “The economy of tomorrow requires less regionalism, more cooperation.”
Emanuel, elected last year as Chicago’s first new mayor in a quarter-century after a two-year stint as chief of staff in the Obama White House, bragged about the contributions of his city – still the world’s 20th largest economy even if taken away from the rest of Illinois. But he said that just as that city’s success benefits the state, so, too, do the successes of communities like Peoria – home to Caterpillar Inc. – benefit both Chicago and the rest of the state.
That includes improvements Emanuel said have occurred since he took over as mayor, such as cracking down on deadbeats who hadn’t paid bills to the city and using the savings to fund more city-provided summer jobs for Chicago teens and more spots in summer camps to keep kids occupied during the summer months.
“Not one person in this room didn’t have an activity growing up,” he said.
He also praised the series of educational reforms authorized by the state Legislature last year, raising standards and authorizing a longer school day.
“The system, structured the way it was, was shortchanging our children,” he said, supporting any educational options that help more children learn – including charter schools.
“My standard is: What do the children need?” he said.
As part of an extended paean to bipartisanship, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican and the man credited with convincing Chicago’s mayor to come to LaHood’s hometown, and Emanuel both spoke of the importance of reaching across the aisle.
“If more people would do what Rahm and Ray have done, we would be able to solve our problems,” LaHood said.
The former White House chief of staff returned the compliment at the start of his speech, acknowledging that both men sometimes embraced different policies, but nevertheless were able to work together for the good of the country.
“We’ve had our differences. We’ve never allowed them to become our divisions,” he said.
Emanuel also made a stop earlier in the day at George’s Shoeshine, the Downtown institution that is a must-visit location for many dignitaries in search of a quick touch-up on their shoes and a quick picture to go among the many other photographs that line the walls and tables of George Manias’ establishment.
While there, Emanuel took time out to ask Manias and his brother about their family’s immigrant history and their lives growing up as first-generation Americans, sharing some of his own family history with them as LaHood and Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis listened.
Peoria Landmark #437
I74 as we know it runs from the Quad Cities diagonally down to Cincinnati. This portion is about 10 miles long in North Carolina (not Virginia as I mentioned in the comments section), specific exit is for Mt. Airy , hometown of Andy Griffith and inspiration for the fictional town of Mayberry.
According to Wikipedia, “Long-range plans call for I-74 to continue east and south of Cincinnati to North Carolina using OH 32 from Cincinnati to Piketon, Ohio, and then the proposed I-73 from Portsmouth (OH) through West Virginia (along current U.S. Route 52) to I-77. It would then follow I-77 through Virginia into North Carolina where it would connect to highways already signed as I-74. In 1996 AASHTO approved the signing of highways as I-74 along its proposed path east (south) of I-81 in Wytheville, Virginia, where those highways meet Interstate Highway standards. North Carolina started putting up I-74 signs along its roadways in 1997.”
Sue is 99% correct… this is the cannon in front of the John C. Flanagan House. As the plaque reads, it was cast in Seville Spain, Dec 1776 and captured during the Spanish American War in 1898 by the first volunteer from Peoria to enlist for the Civil War – Lloyd Wheaton.
I’ve been trying to stay away from making this post for a long time, but between life and work I think the time has come. Having met many great people both via email and in person, learned a lot of local history, brought people together and had many a chuckle, I fear this blog is beginning to die on the vine and I don’t want that to happen … hopefully others feel the same.
On many occasions previously I had asked for help in photos or suggestions, but the time has come that I need a co-photograher / history geek to help out with postings and updates.
I’m not bowing out by any means but I feel a new perspective is needed to breath life back into this blog.
Anyone interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Peoria Landmark #427
If I ever end up in a nursing home, Courtyard Estates sounds like a nice place … the fountain is looking a little worn though.
Peoria Landmark #422
tls1995: Bridge out at Banner Marsh. If I remember correctly it is the first turn into the marsh when heading back from Banner towards Peoria. My 7 year old loves this bridge since it moves when you walk on it. I think she likes it so much because if freaks the grandma’s out when she does it.
Correct, it is the southern most entrance into the marsh. When you hit a crossroads, hang a right and you’ll find this bridge.
The DNR website is down, so I’m taking the banner marsh description from Gypsy Chicks Photography, selling photographs of wildlife seen at banner online.
During the 1980s, the area underwent several land use changes, including farming and surface coal mining. Today, the area known as Banner Marsh State Fish & Wildlife Area serves as a 4,363-acre freshwater marsh. The site’s 200-plus water bodies, in conjunction with its vast acres of land, provide excellent habitat for migrating and local waterfowl, numerous species of gamefish and other wildlife, while providing opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts.
If you’ve never been out there, it’s quite an amazing place to explore.
Sorry for lack of updates, but the holidays and all that goes with it are kicking me in the ass.
Have a Merry Christmas everyone!
Peoria Landmark #419
This is written in Springdale’s nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places: “The Zotz Family Mausoleum is a mix with a Classical Revival pediment set on rough faced limestone. The entrance doors are framed with narrow granite Classic columns that reflect Renaissance of France. The lintel over the door had “ZOTZ” cut in stone with carved raised wreathes on each end of the name. While Mr. Zotz died in 1893, Carl Feinse was the first internment in the Mausoleum in 1887. This is the oldest mausoleum in the cemetery.”
In 1852 Alois Zotz began publishing the “Illinois Banner” as a weekly German publication which eventually turned into a daily paper until Mr Zotz sold his interest in 1858.