Wednesday, August 9, 2017



501   McClure Peoria
December 6, 1980

VICTIM:     LISA   CONN    AGE 17 WONDERFUL Nice pretty teenager sweet and courteous


One that was tried as an adult:     ALAN    R.  TAYLOR   13

Horrifying murder senseless robbed this little cleaners…stabbed beat lacerated and murdered pretty Lisa Conn.

2 weeks 2,000   witnesses were interviewed    $20.000 reward offered.

4 people received $20,000.00 the civic center received $2,000 as well.

Police had a confession great care to protect his rights…Jury trial about a week   Jury took 3 hours to find him GUILTY   Murder and Robbery

Judge Manning sentenced this NOW 15 year old to 35 years for murders and     30 years for robbery

Did not try the other kid and one of the kids was granted immunity to testify against Taylor…


Remanded to the lower court for a NEW trial   NOT in Peoria…

His confession was admitted…the facts were the facts he admitted killing her   so what….what’s one more trial?


Trial In Mount Vernon    3-3-1985           
6 hours of deliberation

Shocking Verdict:     NOT   GUILTY    CASE CLOSED

Truly a terrifying shocking murder 2 weeks of fear and turmoil in Peoria girls moms scared catch the killers.

Not Guilty… 




Peoria had no gangsters.  It is all a myth that has been perpetuated over the years by reporters looking for sensational headlines. Our uncles and grandfather’s perpetuated those stories to entertain us.  Those men loved to talk about gangsters and believe me they saw one in every tavern and on every Peoria Street.  I define a gangster within the ilk of AL CAPONE, and that mob of killers and true gangsters.  We had a hell of a lot of gangster wannabes…some mean, violent men…a few women as well.  We had gunman that would knock you on the head and even on rare occasions shoot you, but they were lone bandits.  We had mothers and fathers that killed each other and their children. The real killers in Peoria’s history were the guys next door, the violent husbands and wives as well and the dangerous drunks in our taverns.  From 1920 through 1950 we had 215 murders: that averages out at 7.1 murders per year.  WOW!  How in the hell did we manage to live through such a slaughter.  Ask your grand pa.

Now here are some of the men that were active mainly in the 1930’s and certainly during WW 11 in Peoria, Illinois.  These are the men that were our ‘Designated Gangsters’ according to our most vocal sources, uncles that drank too much and our grandfathers that spent too much time downtown gambling and drinking in our taverns..  They got them mixed up with the business men, the tavern owners, and of course the gamblers. Hell, thousands of men, and certainly a lot of women gambled in Peoria and it started even before the Civil War.  By the beginning of WW 1 it was one of Peoria’s major industries along with prostitution. All during WW11 gambling reached its absolute peak, ending on September 3, 1946. If you want to find out details then you will have to do a little reading.  Goggle:  Historian Norman Kelly, Peoria, Illinois and find out the truth for once in your life about who we really were. There are 84 stories waiting for you to finally do your own research at this web site:  Peoria Public Library/Historian Norman Kelly.

Edward Nelson Woodruff:  He was our mayor 11 times for a total of 24 years.  Most certainly he was the most important man in our history and a decent honest man.

Jack Adams: Adams owned The Clover Club and a few other spots around town.  He was a trustworthy, honest, hardworking business man in the middle of every dollar that was ever spent on gambling and entertainment in Peoria, Illinois. You should be so successful.

Frank Kraemer: Owned two taverns in town. One was The Spot and he was part owner of the Par-K-Club.  Frank was involved in gambling of all kinds in Peoria.  Kraemer was shot and killed out at his home on Farmington Road in September of 1946…by a ‘real gangster.’ Actually he was out of the gambling business when he was killed.

PHILLIP STUMPF:  Now here was a two-bit punk.  He was an iron worker when he worked but he liked acting like a ‘gangster.’  What a joke   He was a Part-Time SLOT MACHINE repair man and fixed them as well…if you know what I mean. In October 1946 he was out at The STORK CLUB near Golden Acres at the old Route 150 area. He left after fixing slots and was tailed.  He pulled into a field to escape and here is where the MYTH starts.   A car came after him.  “All four of the men in the car fired Thompson Machine guns at the back of his car.”
The coroner’s inquest, ballistics and the police and sheriff reports state it was hit 8 times and one slug hit Stumpf in the back of the head.  One slug nicked the left ear of his passenger.  It’s amazing isn’t it that not one .45 Thompson Machine Gun empty shell was found. Sorry gangster fans…just little old .38 caliber.

DWIGHT  “Snooks” Gordon:  He was a business man and was most definitely into gambling and owned some slots…sure as hell was no gangster.
He was a flashy guy and he looked tough and believe me he was.  He was an ‘amateur boxer’ but a fortune was bet on him during his 234 fights. He liked to flash his money around and he loved Peoria night life.  Gordon killed a man in a fight over at the entrance to the Zoo  in a fist fight he did not want nor did he provoke.  After a circus style murder trial he was exonerated by the jury.

VIC MICHEL:  Vic was a lawyer and eventually Mayor of Peoria who defended a few notorious so called bad men including Snooks Gordon. .  Now he would defend anyone that could pay his inflated price but if you defend guys like Snooks Gordon you must be a gangster. Right?

JACK NAHAS:  Shot and wounded a real worthless creep named Joe Nyberg.   Most Peorians felt that he should have been given a medal for that.  Jack was just a local street guy trying to make a living in gambling and petty crimes. Actually he was just a penny ante nuisance to the police department.  He was Killed in 1946 ‘Gangland style’ the newspapers used to love to say.   Good Riddance.

JACK GLAZEBROOK:  Supposed to be a body guard of Bernie Shelton and a major gangster in town.  What a joke.  A friend maybe and certainly was seen a lot when Bernie was around. All he ever was… was a bouncer at a few clubs in town.  This big scary ‘gangster’ was shot in the stomach by Al Capone’s mobsters.  JUST Kidding!   His girlfriend damn near killed him by shooting him in the stomach with a .25 handgun she always carried in her purse. 

PETE   PETRAKIS:  Pete was just a hanger on type guy trying to make a living one way or the other. He knew all the creeps and was one himself…Bernie fired him and I got that straight from Jack Purtcher who knew them both. After Bernie’s murder a couple guys including TED LINK, a Saint Lewis reporter were said to have hung Pete naked upside down out a window at the Pere Marquette Hotel.    “Who killed Shelton?” Was the question he sure as hell did not know the answer to.  He was a friend of Bernie and Shelton paid for the up keep of a horse that Pete rode out at Purtcher’s Stable.  Jack Purtcher told me that Shelton told him that Pete would not be using his horse any more because Bernie had fired him. Of course the rumor was that Shelton had killed him.  Which was not true. 

JOHN KELLY:   My Uncle told me that he was a cousin of one kind or the other of ours, but never really talked about him.  He was arrested a minimum of 100 times and was described as a ‘Police Character.’  In and out of jails, prison, you name it.  Talk about a small town hoodlum: that is all he was. He was with Shelton the night they attacked a guy named Murphy there in the parking lot of the dump called The Parkway.   They were both indicted on seven felonies. Why he was not shot or put away forever is beyond me.  Maybe because he was just a two-bit punk and not worth the effort.  Gangster…my God you would elevate him if you called him that.

JOEL ‘Joe’ Nyberg:  A killer…a thief, a convict and at the time he was killed he was out on Bond for a manslaughter conviction.   He was about as close to being a gangster as any one could imagine.  But remember…gangsters are part of an organized gang.  Joe was just a dangerous man, out on his own to steal, rob, burglarize and maim anyone that he thought he could take advantage of.  He died with a couple .38 slugs in his body and a ball bat near his body.  Again, calling this character a gangster to his face would make him feel like you admired him.  Good Riddance.

BERNIE SHELTON:  I have written hundreds of words about this man.  Books tell us he was a member of ‘Illinois’ Bloodiest Gang!”   So what does that have to do with Peoria, Illinois?  He was a gangster in Peoria because that is what we perceived him to be.  If you won’t take the time to read what I wrote about him, then just go ahead and call him a ‘Gangster.’  It is more fun that way.  He was shot and killed here in July of 1948 and then the real mythmakers took over.

All this information is no surprise to the people who have read my 14 books and hundreds of stories and also read AMERICAN SPORTS OUTDOORS. My books are out of print, but a few might be available in our libraries.  However, all you have to do is make the effort and read them for yourselves. I do have close to a hundred of them on line.  Find them.  If you have trouble doing that, then e mail me and I will show you where they are. Over the little time I might have left I hope to get most of the rest of my stories on line. There is no excuse believing all those silly myths about Peoria, Illinois.  History shows it was one of the greatest little towns in all of America’s History.
Editor’s Note:   Norm is a true-crime author and Peoria historian. Join him and Harry on WOAM, 1350 AM, 7-10 Sunday mornings with The Red Nose Gang. 


                       YOUNG BERNARD ZIMMERMAN

Norman V. Kelly

I first wrote about PFC Luther Bernard Zimmerman in my book LOST IN YESTERDAY’S
NEWS  Here is what I said.  “First Peorian killed in the Korean Conflict from Peoria was Bernard Zimmerman, all of eighteen.  God what a waste of life.”  The actual date of his combat death was August 15, 1950. Think back, that was 60 years ago, imagine that.

I never thought another thing about PFC Zimmerman until just one week ago. I went to the Peoria County Courthouse to visit the Korean and Vietnam Memorial located in the form of a plaque just outside the clerk’s office.  Where was PFC Luther Bernard Zimmerman?  Well...I can tell you now he is not honored on that plaque and is not among the 51 men listed as killed in action from Peoria, Illinois. Why not?  Some of you might recall that I found five police officers that were never honored and it took me well over a year to get them on the police memorials.  How long will it take to get PFC Zimmerman honored?  Why do officials seem to reject these type pleas?


PFC Luther Bernard Zimmerman was a member of the 5th. Regimental Combat Team, United States Army.  He was killed in combat on August 15, 1950, fighting the enemy near Chingdong-ni, South Korea. His service number was 17273639, and he was born on November 19. 1931.  His birthplace is not mentioned but the records show that he enlisted in Knox County, Illinois.  He was buried at the Wiley Cemetery, Deerfield Township, Illinois.


This is just a guess on my part concerning why he is not on our memorial.  I can tell you that he was a Peoria boy.  He lived with his mother, Blanche Utsinger at 906 Hurlburt Street, and attended McKinley Grade School and Roosevelt Junior High School.  Bernard’s parents were divorced and his father Luther lived over in Abington, Illinois, which is in Knox County.  So when Luther decided to enlist he obviously went over to his dad’s home and enlisted there.

So, what do you think?  Some veterans have waited for many, many years to get a medal they earned, shouldn’t we finally give PFC Zimmerman the honor of joining his comrades on our memorial?  How are we going to get this done?  Well, I am leaving it up to you.   All 18 of the Peoria County Board Members are listed on the County’s web site. Go to Meet The County Board Members and there they are.  They are there to serve you.  All you have to do is pick one or all of them and e-mail them. Or…call them. So if you think PFC Zimmerman should be honored you can get it done.   Are you willing to help?


                           YOUNG  AUGUST  KIRCHOFF

                                                      Norman V. Kelly


August ‘Auggie’ Kirchoff lived in Peoria, Illinois way back in 1888, over on Sanford Street.  Auggie’s mother died when he was two-years old, followed by his father when Auggie was almost thirteen.  Times were always tough for the young man, but he often thanked God for his sisters who looked after him.  But…throughout it all Auggie had a dream and that dream was to be a fireman.  Most of his waking hours were spent down at the neighborhood fire station where he ran errands and listened to the firemen talk of fires they had battled.


Of course being a young, eager fella, Auggie pestered the chief to allow him to join the department.  Always, he was told that he was too young, but the young man was never discouraged.  He washed the equipment, shined what he was told to shine, and talked of the days when he too would join his heroes.


Finally just around Christmas of 1888 August Kirchoff was allowed to join the engine house just down the block from his home.  He had turned seventeen by then, and the chief was convinced that already Auggie had learned as much about being a fireman that he possibly could.  He lacked experience, of course, but the chief had no intention of allowing his young friend to get in over his head.  Naturally, when the fire bell rang, Auggie was like the horses that pulled the fire equipment, ‘Wild and rarin’ to go.”


It was early that first winter as a fireman that Auggie came down with some illness that left the young man weak and almost helpless.  He was under the care of a physician, but in 1888 medicine still had a long way to go, so all his friends and family could do was hope and pray. It was not until early April 1888 that the young patient began to perk up and eagerly returned to his dream of being a fireman.


It was around that time that the city suffered a rash of mysterious barn fires

that popped up around the city.  At first they were confined to the lower end of Peoria, then the downtown area itself.  Officials were pretty certain the fires were the work of an arsonist or maybe a gang of them.  Farmers often slept in their barns hoping to catch the culprits but the fires only increased in number.


The local newspapers often referred to the arsonists as “Incendiary Fiends.” 

On one Thursday evening three fires were battled, causing the death of two of Mrs. Kinsella’s cows. Folks in the city were outraged.  “Only last week she was offered $110.00 for the two,” the paper reported. The next day the Peoria Weekly Transcript reported that E.A. Furries had had a raging fire in his barn resulting in the death of eight of his prized cows.  The editor called on the officials of the city police and fire department to put an end to these atrocities.


                          AUGGIE  BECOMES  AN EXTRA  HAND


Actually it was amidst all this turmoil and fear that August Kirchoff really became a fireman for the City of Peoria.  Auggie went out on most of these fires and did a very good job.  The chief said publicly “Auggie was a good man when it came to moving quickly.”


April 17, 1888, the men were recovering from the strenuous activity, by cleaning equipment and playing checkers.  The first call came in around nine and soon the boys were racing off to a red glow in the sky not far from their station. Had the incendiary fiend struck again?  They pulled up to the City Brewery where the malt house was fully engulfed in roaring flames.  Soon every firehouse in Peoria had been alerted and Hook and Ladder companies responded in a clang of bells and snorting horses.


Peoria had some modern equipment in the form of steamer pumps and soon the entire area appeared to be surrounded by every fireman and piece of equipment the city could muster. The low, dark clouds reflected with red from the fire that was now threatening the entire block down there on Water Street. Flames leaped from the mash building to other buildings and soon threatened the homes around the brewery.  The brave firemen battled the flames first giving up on one structure then racing to defend another threatened building. Embers flew every which way as the breeze off the river turned into almost gale force.


Flames were everywhere, and choking black smoke threatened to stop the brave firemen in their tracks.  Young Auggie fought shoulder to shoulder with his comrades over near the malt house surrounded by acrid smoke.

Without warning the huge chimney off to the right exploded sending hot steel, bricks and debris down upon the fire fighters. Screams of warning were too late for the boys of Central Fire Station, The Holly Hose Company and the men of Hose Number Five. Among the five severally Injured, young Auggie Kirchoff died of his injuries.


The people of Peoria along with Auggie’s fellow firefighters mourned the loss of their young brave comrade. Auggie died doing what he said would be his life’s work.  Sadly he was precisely correct.


Editor’s Note:  Norm is the author of eight books on Peoria’s bawdy and exciting history.


Next Month:  Norm will bring us another story lost in Peoria’s past.












                       YEARLY   MURDERS   PEORIA

                                 Norman  V  Kelly


1940      4                     Knife fight over a woman…one killed


                                      Ed Canady killed his wife and then shot himself


                                      Jim Comien shot and killed his mother


                                      Walter Barewalt   Killed   in a fight over a half dozen eggs.


1941        5                     Doyle Ping shot and killed:   Police say he insulted a man’s wife


                                       Marsh was knifed to death by a “draft dodger.”


                                       Marie Stampley was killed by her husband


                                       Wagner killed his wife…Blanch


                               ***   Glen Fahstock shot and killed  Martin Srica

                                         “I don’t care what other people say….That Martin

                                           Was hard to get along with.”


1942        8                        Miller shot Caldwell with a shot gun…Miller was

                                          Protecting Caldwell’s sister from attack.


                                          Mille Allen found dead in her Bathtub…Police arrest her

                                          Boy friend…Jim Stother.


                                          Walter Donley Lawyer….Never came back from lunch…

                                           Apparently kidnapped off Fulton Street in Peoria


                                           Alcarez stabbed his girlfriend to death


                                           Mildred Corneleius  shot her husband  With  his shotgun


                                           Art Williams stabbed Bernie Harris   A  Dispute  over a small rug


                                           Carl Shellton killed  9 year old girl  it was a traffic case…. Exonerated


1943                               FILL IN                                            never got around to doing that.




1944     8                            Dalyrimple is murdered by  Joe Nyberg ( Nyberg later murdered)


                                           Sgt. Peddigrew Killed his wife with a knife and  hurt 3 others

                                                                               El Vista


                                           Juantinta West Killed her sister


                                            Tom Cagle Killed  BY  John Dries  insulted his wife.


                                            Dixon killed his girlfriend  Agatha Smith  BY  Knife


                                            Proctor Day Killed his lifelong friend  John Taylor


                                             Peplow killed Andy Richard   “Stop dating my niece”




 1945      12                         Ray Hudson killed his young sons  then  Himself


                                             Ed Hamm Killed his wife  Elizabeth


                                             Eddie Andrews   fell down steps dead.  Police arrest his son in law


                                             Ray Hedden killed Leslie Klaus    saw him talking to

                                              Ray’s wife    so he shot him.


                                              Louis Gulick  Murdered by his wife.



1946    15 murders.                                This year Changed Peoria’s Reputation from a wide-open bawdy town to a “gangster” dominated  city…101 years we were just this wild fun River city…In 1946  3 gangland style murders   changed our reputation    1947  McNear and Flavel Feger   Murdered then in 1948 Bernie Shelton was murdered.     Most of what people talk about that made up Peoria’s Gangster history was just Plain Myth…..Believe me the ‘guy or woman next door was more dangerous.”






                                                    arris to death  over a small rug their wives wantH















                       PEORIA:  A TEEN LOOKS AT WW 11

                                                  NORMAN V. KELLY


Way back in 1945 I was thirteen and the City of Peoria, Illinois was one hundred years old. I’m not going to pretend that we kids were big thinkers, or walked around with the weight of the war on our shoulders…but we were scared. First the terrifying attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and then the disappearance of our young Peoria men, including my three brothers. Just over 23,000 Peorians went off to the war, 626 of them never came back alive.


As a kid all we really knew about the war we heard from our parents, especially our dads.  I remember my mom gathering us around the kitchen table as she read my brothers’ letters. At first folks with sons in the war proudly hung up Service Flags in the windows with blue stars on them, sadly some of the blue stars turned to gold. I think the scariest years were 1942 and early 1943 when the war news was nothing short of grim.  To me it was the war films that changed our fear into pride and by the time 1945 came around, most of us were more than ready to join up ourselves. Every cent we could scrape together was spent at the theaters in Downtown Peoria.  Today, I suppose the films would be called propaganda movies, but what did we care?  We had John Wayne and the Army and the Navy, and our favorites, the Marines.  Now how could we lose the war?  We fought our own wars down in the woods near El Vista, playing commandoes and arguing over who was going to be the officer in charge. Since my brother sent his lieutenant bars to me you know who was in charge…me.


The excitement of seeing that huge picture in the local newspapers of our flag being raised on Iwo Jima in March of ‘45 was probably the most inspiring moment of the war.  We ran around asking for copies of that newspaper, but no one wanted to part with it.  I imagine every Peoria household cut that picture out and framed it.


After that victory I don’t remember seeing a fearful face among the folks that I saw daily.  Funny, but I do not have a personal memory of May 8, 1945, which was V-E Day.  It had to be amazing but I can tell you an awful lot about V-J Day, August 14, 1945. Most of our population was downtown and the excitement was overwhelming. I kissed my first ‘woman’ that wonderful day and I’ll never forget her. She was sitting on a bench within the courthouse square and at age 13, because of what I had learned from John Wayne, I walked right up and kissed her on the lips. We loved that wartime period and the feeling of pride it gave us just being Americans.


Editor’s note:  Norm is the author of  eight books on the bawdy, wide-open history of  Peoria, Illinois and welcomes your comments.     









                           WOODROW  WILSON 

                                                  NORMAN  V.  KELLY


Here are the important dates that Woodrow Wilson was involved in before  Prohibition:


1.  Congress submits the 18th.  Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on   12-18-1917.           Remember   WW 1 was started 4-6-1917…this was before the LEVER ACT but it is not a bill as yet and the Senate also had to vote…  This is FIRST date that officially that Prohibition is proposed.


2.      LEVER ACT  Signed into Law...effective 9-16-1917    Encourage meatless Tuesdays all kinds of patriotic BS for the good of the war effort.  Remember here we mention Wayne Bidwell Wheeler…and the real secret behind the Lever  Act… A temporary act that would help the war effort…..they give their all will you send wheat.


   Fuel and Food Conservation Act


Makers of beer and booze cannot use foodstuffs   wheat  corn etc. in the  making of alcoholic beverages.


              FLU epidemic killed 600,000 in America  20 million across the rest of the world. Closed Peoria in October 1918   40 dead….



3.     1-29-1919    RATIFICATION of the 18th.  Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.    36 states   ¾ of the states.


5-19-1919    Woman’s Suffrage    ADOPTED…  Cannot deny vote to a person because of sex…it  took  effect:   8-28-1920


VOLSTEAD ACT    Andrew Volstead…      Congress/Senate Passes Volstead Act   on    10-28-1919   defines booze  .5%  teeth into law to enforce prohibition…  Starts   1-16-1920….



11-2-1921   Warren G. Harding President.



1.  Woman’s Suffrage adopted…5-19-1919   it was Signed into law on 8-28-1920…..cannot deny right to vote because of a person’s sex….                 8-28-1920.


                        WONDER  WHAT’S  IN  THERE?

                               NORMAN  V.  KELLY


I am almost as old as that incredible building situated there at 400 Perry Street in Peoria, Illinois.  I, like so many of you, have driven by this building countless times over the last seven decades.  When I am driving or riding past it I always look over at it, admire it and wonder what is going on in that place.  It says it is a cathedral, does that mean it’s a church?  I have been told by people that think they know everything that it is a church and it is owned by The Masons. Of course the question is who or what is a Mason?  I have no intention of telling you simply because I am not qualified to do so.  Anyway this is not a story about the Masonic folks it is a story about that beautiful building.  That sign facing west says, ‘Scottish Rite Cathedral.’  I mean that’s what they called it…a cathedral…so it must be a church right?  Have you ever thought about turning right on Perry and pulling into their parking lot get out of your car and walk right up to the door?   Should you knock or go right on in?  I bet you thought about that but never had the nerve to do it…right? Well I did just exactly that but I went there by invitation to speak to some members of that fabulous place. I thought that I would give you a little tour and see if it warrants a visit by you.


Oh, the members, there are 1,500 of them and they know exactly what people say about them. They watch TV and they have friends that wonder about what they do in there.  They are aware that a lot of people think they are some kind of religious cult, a secretive bunch of men going through all kinds of weird rituals, and that they are people to be feared.  They have heard it all.  Truth is fraternities, boy scouts, private clubs, all kinds of ‘Member’s Only’ clubs have rituals and secrets.  I am telling you that if you want to visit this magnificent building you are more than welcome.  You can have a banquet there, get married or have a reception or a party.  You can stage a big fancy dance and I can guarantee you that there are more make-up chairs and mirrors than you have ever seen in your life.   You and your ‘secret group’ are welcome and in fact they need your business to help them raise money to maintain and up grade their magnificent cathedral.  They have cozy little coves, and a huge auditorium with a massive steam organ that is truly beyond description as to its complexities.  The cafeteria would seat 300 easily and although they prefer you use your own caterer, there is a myriad of ways to accommodate your party, both big and small.  You can have a small or large business meeting there or stage your Christmas party there this year.  It has a lot of small rooms, some kinda dark and scary, a great place to have a Halloween Party.


                    THE  SCOTTISH  RITE  CATHEDRAL


They call it a cathedral because it looks like one but it is not a church. Edward Ulysses Henry visited the massive cathedrals of Europe and when he came back to Peoria he knew exactly how he wanted his building to look.  It took some years to build and on January 13, 1925 it was finally dedicated.  It has been standing there majestically for all those years.  At one time there were over 7,000 members but today the roles have shortened to around 1,500.  For all you architectural fans the building has a flying buttress, incredible stained glass and an auditorium that is awesome as the kids love to say.  The beautiful Gothic Cathedral has the interior of an English Great Hall.  On different levels, a balcony and a mezzanine there are just over 1,000 seats.  The organ is extensive with 4,000 connecting pipes to supply the steam power.  It has lounges, a library, card rooms, offices and a lot of stairs…I mean a lot of stairs.   They do have a lift chair but the building needs an elevator to accommodate the older members and the guests that are invited to view the interior of this magnificent architectural wonder.


This building can be seen from the interstate and it towers above the skyline like some building from ancient Europe.  It was constructed over a period of almost three years and cost $400,000.00 to complete.  The local builder was Val Jobst and sons, and the parking lot adjacent to the building has space for at least 300 cars.  It is convenient since it is located in the downtown area and easy access and exit to the expressway that runs nearby.  Most Peorians recognize this building as a historical, important building and it would be a shame to see this place deteriorate to a point where it would no longer be viable. The current membership is lessening with each passing year and the money to keep this building in operating order is hard to come by.


Believe me, I have been here for 85 years, I know Peoria and Peorians and there are people living here that would not offer one dime to help this building and the current members are not asking for charity.  They have all kinds of programs in force soliciting funds and would welcome any help that they could get. They sponsor a scholarship fund and the building houses the Children’s Dyslexia Center of Peoria, Illinois. What they would ask of you is to consider renting the facilities whenever you have the need.  They are always looking for new members and they are there waiting to answer any questions that you may have as to who they are and what you might gain by joining their organization.


Along with the opportunity to rent the place, they want you to come and see the interior.   All of this would have to be coordinated, because they do not have a touring department. The leadership at the Scottish Rite Cathedral want the people here in Peoria to share in their magnificent cathedral.  The fees for each facility are in place and if you call 309-676-4472 a friendly voice will get you to the person you need to talk to. You can see a lot of the building, but most of it will require your ability to climb steps, so keep that in mind.

EDITOR’S  NOTE:  Norm is a Peoria Historian, author and a monthly contributor to ASO.