The Art of Structure, An Architectural Tour of Downtown Peoria
Have you ever really taken a close look at Peoria’s City Hall building? Did you know that it was once considered “the finest city hall in the nation for a small city?” Did you also know that all of the construction workers, material suppliers and designers involved in building City Hall were all Peorians? Were you aware that an eight-story clock tower was once the focal point of the Peoria River Station Building, which used to be the Rock Island Train Depot and Freight House, but the railroad decided to demolish it in 1939 rather than make necessary repairs? These are just a few of the interesting tidbits of information included in the ArtsPartners’ public architecture catalog, The Art of Structure, An Architectural Tour of Downtown Peoria.
The catalog, produced by ArtsPartners of Central Illinois, Inc., is authored by local historian, Dr. Peter Couri and includes stunning photographs by professional photographer Doug Leunig. ArtsPartners acknowledges the efforts of both Doug Leunig and Peter Couri for the countless hours they contributed to producing the high quality piece. “While we are tremendously grateful to the funders of this project, the Caterpillar Foundation and The Community Foundation, if we didn’t receive additional, volunteer assistance from Doug Leunig and Peter Couri, and if we would have paid for the types of services they rendered, the cost for this project would have been exorbitant,” remarked Executive Director Suzette Boulais.
According to Peter Couri, his goal for the piece was to increase the public knowledge of Peoria’s historic buildings so they would be preserved in the future. “Now that we’ve got stories behind the structures in this catalog, it will enhance the movement to preserve them for future generations.”
Suzette Boulais added, “One of our jobs at ArtsPartners is to promote the collective arts in our community, and this project fits beautifully within ArtsPartners’ mission by showcasing the wealth of historic architecture Peoria has to offer as a key cultural feature.”
Maps clearly illustrate where to find each building. And the structures, ranging in variety from private homes to government buildings, are grouped by location to encourage people to walk the areas.
Publication of The Art of Structure, An Architectural Tour of Downtown, Peoria was made possible by donations from the RLI Insurance Company Corporate Contributions Fund and the Pete and Mildred Donis Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois; The Caterpillar Foundation; and The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. It was designed by Nicole Blackburn and published by Numero Publishing. The free catalog may be picked up at the ArtsPartners office by appointment, Peoria City Hall, the Contemporary Art Center, Illinois Central College Performing Arts Center and the Shoppes at Grande Prairie.