Rollin' on the River
As the country moved forward during the railroad boom, so did Peoria, and in November of 1854, the railroad made its way into town. Due to its central location, Peoria was the fourth largest regional hub in the U.S. railway system for many years. During its peak, Peoria served 15 railroads and 70,000 miles of track. In 1891, the Rock Island Depot was built to service this large railroad hub, and it was an integral part of the Peoria railroad until it closed in 1978. Today the depot is a thriving restaurant complex, with exceptional dining, spirits and live music.
Mention the name "Duryea" and many will say, "Oh yes, the automobile that was invented and built in Peoria". But the re-edited book, Charles E. Duryea-Automaker, by George W. May, proves that although the Duryea was the first practical American gasoline powered car, Springfield, Massachusetts was its original home. However, we can take a measure of comfort from the fact that Peoria was one of several cities in which Duryea automobiles were built. The oldest known, fully restored, Peoria built Duryea, is exhibited at the Peoria Public Library.