History

 

Spun from an intricate web of fun, fascinating facts, the legacy of Peoria Heights is something of which one can rightly be proud of.

  • Began as Prospect Heights Land Company in the 1890’s, but was changed to Peoria Heights when it was discovered that there was already a Prospect Heights in the suburbs of Chicago.
  • Prospect Heights Hotel was a favorite hangout. A Hungarian orchestra played every night as the house band until the hotel  burned down in the summer of 1894. Some feel the evocative strings of that beautiful music still resonate somehow from the iconic pavilion that no longer exists.
  • Alfresco Amusement Park (built in 1906) offered a lot of fun rides along with a giant Ferris wheel, but was closed down after World War II due to problems with flooding, as it was located near the Illinois river.
  • Rouse, Hazard & Company bicycle manufacturer (1896) built high quality bikes sold throughout the world in the heyday of Peoria’s internationally acclaimed bicycle race track and championships.
  • Peoria Rubber & Manufacturing produced the Duryea automobile, the first gasoline powered car to be developed.
  • President Teddy Roosevelt, upon beholding the view of Illinois lake from Grand View Drive, called it the, “World’s Most Beautiful Drive.”  A local radio station took it’s call letters from this phrase: WMBD.
  • Pabst Brewing Company had it’s world headquarters and bottling plant here in Peoria Heights from 1934-1982. The old brick factory is still in existence today.
Prospect Heights Hotel on fire 1899.
Prospect Heights Hotel destroyed by fire in 1899. PHOTO: Mrs. E.J. Brayton.