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OSF HealthCare Opens Its First Hospital

In 1878, the doors of St. Francis Hospital opened in Peoria. This was the beginning of what would become an epicenter of healthcare in Greater Peoria and in the state of Illinois. OSF Healthcare, along with UnityPoint and the University…

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“Will it Play in Peoria?”

Though the origin date of this famous phrase has been debated, it was Groucho Marx who made it famous. It refers to the Vaudeville Era (1880s - 1930s) whenPeoria was a main stop for these acts and performances. Once it…

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Caterpillar Gets Its Start in East Peoria

In 1909, Benjamin Holt purchased an existing plant in East Peoria and began building Caterpillar into the world's leading heavy machinery manufacturer and a household name in construction and mining equipment. Caterpillar now has facilities all over the world.

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The Whiskey Capital of the World

With over 24 breweries and 73 distilleries between 1837 and 1919, Peoria became known as  the “Whiskey Capital of the World”. With its proximity to the river and easy access to grains, Peoria saw a boom in the industry and…

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The French Arrive in Peoria

The French were the first Europeans to explore the area that would become Peoria in 1673, where just a few short years later, they would establish the first European settlement in Illinois.

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