Old Images of Peoria, Illinois

Categorised as Illinois
Peoria Illinois June 1911
Peoria Illinois, June 1911

Step back in time with fascinating old images of Peoria, Illinois, in the USA.

Peoria in 1939

In the first minute of this 8mm home movie, we see a couple at home in the garden with their cats, water supply and car.

Then we move to some of Peoria’s streets of 1939. There’s a streetcar, slow traffic, and the sudden appearance of a unicycle.

The Madison Theater appears to be showing “The Wizard of Oz”.

We also see the sign for Route 150.

(Later, on May 28th 1952, War Memorial Drive became the western approach for the new McClugage Bridge. Named to honor those who had fought and died in World War I and World War II, it took in portions of older roads, including Reservoir, Grand and Harvard, and was eventually was extended to include Route 150 to the west).


1939 Peoria 8mm Film – larryware1 on YouTube

Peoria State Hospital 1940s

You’ll probably want to turn the sound down before watching this. Although the discussion is interesting, the projection viewer is running loudly.

Peoria State Hospital was a psychiatric hospital also known as the ‘Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane’. It was an age where there was very little effective treatment for psychiatric conditions, and asylums were convenient places to house people with all sorts of inconvenient disabilities.

It’s clear from this footage concerts,costume parties and sports days formed part of the hospital’s activities of the 1940s.

There was a large staff of nurses on site, and sometimes families came to enjoy events with the patients.

Peoria State Hospital from the 1940’s – Richard Weiss on YouTube

Peoria High School 1955

This 1955 vintage film shows a day in the life of Peoria’s High School students, which for girls includes typing, washing up and dressmaking, while the boys are busy in the woodshop.

Study halls allow the students to work quietly, while separate male and female choirs, and a range of sports actitivities keep students busy away from their desks.

The American stand-up comedian, actor, and writer Richard Pryor, who grew up in a chaotic and violent family in Peoria, attended the predominantly white Peoria High School at the time this film was made.

In March 1956, his classroom antics angered his science teacher Walter Fink, a former air force colonel who tried to eject him from the room. After taking a swing at his teacher, Richard was expelled.

A Day in a Student’s Life at Peoria High School 1955 – Peoria, Illinois – heliflyer7 on YouTube

Downtown Peoria 1961

This is a compilation of 1961 audio Commercials from WIRL 1290 AM set to a display of old photos of Downtown.

WIRL 1961 Downtown Peoria – larryware1 on YouTube

NBC News 1992

The NBC News items for 1992 revolved around the upcoming election.

Includes a shot of the Caterpillar Factory at East Peoria, whose employee numbers had reduced over 13 years from 23,000 to 8,600 people, and contract issues were ongoing.

NBC News Peoria 1992 – larryware1 on YouTube

Main Street 2007

The final video shows a drive up Main Street, from the Riverfront to the corner of Western and Main.

Main Street, Peoria, Illinois – peoriaillinoisan on YouTube

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