The History of Peoria Heights
NAME "VILLAGE of PEORIA HEIGHTS"
Several years before there was any Village of Peoria Heights, the Prospect Heights Land Company was formed. Several men promoted a new subdivision of land overlooking the Illinois River. The view from the bluff was one of the most breathtaking scenes along the River. The area was developed in 1898. It was incorporated and called Prospect Heights. It wasn’t until three years later when it was discovered there was a conflict in this name, as another community in the Chicago area had already chartered it; therefore, the name was then changed to Peoria Heights.
AL FRESCO AMUSEMENT PARK
Another exciting historical fact was Al Fresco Amusement Park built in 1906 and located on the Illinois River. The park was one of the first amusement parks in the Midwest hosting a giant ferris wheel, figure 8 roller coaster, merry-go-round and boat dock, averaging 10,000 people daily during the summer months. It was discontinued shortly after WW II because of river flooding.
Peoria Heights is also the birthplace of the first gasoline-powered car in America in 1893 by Charles Duryea and the Duryea Motor Wagon Co.
The car is housed in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
HISTORICAL PROJECTOR SLIDE PHOTOS
The Forest Park Foundation discovered some old projector slides that were photographed in the Village of Peoria Heights and were converted into digital photos. Thank you to the Forest Park Foundation for this wonderful piece of history!