Bunny here at the keyboard writing about a different sort of adventure I had this weekend.
I know the calendar says that Spring isn’t official until next weekend, but it sure seems to be taking root here in our corner of the world. This has made for very happy pups and humans at my house. We’ve been itching to get out and stretch our legs and soak up as much sunshine as possible. Of course, all this nice weather means that all the snow and ice that were piled up has to go somewhere. Hiking is put on hold for now because the trails in most places are like quicksand.
Still, that didn’t mean that we couldn’t get out and enjoy the nice weather. It just meant that we needed to be a little creative to find a good spot for a walk. Fortunately, my humans are pretty creative beings. We decided to head to Peoria and take a walk downtown. We love walking on the Pimiteoui Trail along the riverfront, but we’ve showed you that a few times. Since we enjoy history as much as we enjoy beautiful scenery and long walks, we decided to take a self guided architectural tour. The Peoria Historical Society used to have one that you could download, but it appears that they’ve taken it down, probably to make people pay money to ride their not friendly for dogs trolleys. I digress. Fortunately, the Arts Partners of Illinois have a cool online PDF file that tells a lot of cool information about forty one of the historical buildings in Peoria.
Forty one buildings is a lot to see, so we decided to break the tour down into fourths.
We started at the Peoria City Hall building and I thought it was a lovely place to start. It was built in 1899 and at the time, it was considered the finest small town city hall ever built. It has red sandstone from the shores of Lake Superior that make it look quite striking along with its iron accents. It was made in the German style on purpose to reflect the German influence of the pioneers who helped to set up the city so nicely. Everybody who worked on the building was from Peoria.
Right around the City Hall is the Peoria Civic Center. My humans were just pups when it was built. It was designed in the post modern style by architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee. Mr. Johnson said he wanted the different parts of the building, the theater, arena and exhibit halls to look like they were “connected by a necklace of jewels.” The glass hallways became known as his signature style. It had some major renovations in 2007 and it has a lot more neat glass structures around the building now. It was also designated at the eleventh site on the Illinois Underground Railroad. The Pettengill home that used to be on the land where the Civic Center now stands was one of the stops people made on their way to freedom, so it now bears that historic status.
Sacred Heart Church is just across the street from the Peoria Civic Center and the Peoria City Hall. We always love seeing this church and this was one of the first times we didn’t see a wedding happening there. It was repainted in 2007 to celebrate its one hundredth birthday, but they kept it in the same style it was before.
We then walked past the Jefferson Building. It has a steel structure that holds it up instead of the masonry walls. The man who designed it, William LeBaron Jenney, is known as the “father of the skyscraper because of the feat of making the steel hold the building up. This building is also known as Peoria’s first fire proof building.
After that, we walked to see the Prairie Building, which used to be known as Brown Business College. They say that it was a popular college for all of its existence because of the design of the building. Mom says she’s always really liked it and it’s a bummer that a business hasn’t been able to stay in there for a while. It’s really a beautiful space.
It was certainly an interesting way to spend the afternoon.
During the weekends, it’s not very busy in this area, but we were impressed to see several other dogs out enjoying the day with their humans while we were out. I guess we weren’t the only ones who couldn’t pass up the fabulous weather. We’ve walked through the downtown area before, but we never took the time to look at the history that was right in front of us. Being a tourist in your own city can really be a fun way to spend time together and see things you see everyday in a whole new light.