First settled in 1680, Peoria is the biggest city on the Illinois River and has become renowned as a representation of a standard American city because of its apparent mainstream Midwestern culture and its demographics. ‘Will it play in Peoria?’ has become a metaphorical question for whether something draws the American public majority, and Peoria is frequently used as a test market for new services, products and public policy polling.
Peoria’s handful of already established museums, such as the Wheels O’ Time and Lakeview museums, are about to be overshadowed by the newly constructed Museum square which will soon feature a modern regional museum, Caterpillar World Visitor Center and a planetarium. Every summer, the city hosts the Steamboat Classic, which is the largest four-mile running race in the world and draws international runners.
Peoria is also home to the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, the 10th oldest in the United States, as well as other symphonies, bands and ballet companies. Several professional and community theaters have made their home in and around the city, above all the Peoria Players, the oldest community theater in Illinois and the fourth-oldest in the nation. Comedy clubs, concert venues and traveling shows are further appeals for culture lovers.
Museum square: scheduled for completion in 2009, this 110,000 foot development will house the Caterpillar Visitor Center and the Center of Art, History, Science and Achievement as well as a planetarium and imaginarium.
Cumberland Presbyterian Church: Peoria’s oldest standing church building was constructed in 1856 and has been included on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980.
Grandview drive: a 2.5 mile picturesque road passes through neighboring park areas in Peoria and Peoria Heights.
Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall: erected in 1909 in homage to American Civil War soldiers.
International Harvester Building: this five-story building is associated with the city’s history as a major shipping point.
Madison Theater: opened in 1920 as a silent picture theater, the building features an Italian Renaissance exterior as well as classical plasterwork and domed lobby ceilings.