Marker Front:Peoria on The Riverfront
The Illinois River is the Major Waterway within Illinois Boundaries. Native Americans are known to have lived along its banks for 11,000 years.
1673 Along this riverfront Frenchmen Marquette and Jolliet encountered the Peoria Tribe of the Illiniwek Indiana.
1680 LaSalle constructed the ill-fated Fort Creve Coeur on the East side of the river.
1691 Fort St. Louis was established on Peoria's Northside by Henri De Tonti and a party of French Marines. This small village was the first European settlement in the Illinois Territory and remained there until 1796.
1778 On this site French-speaking inhabitants built a new village (La Ville de Maillet). This village extended several blocks downstream and became a fur trading center.
1812 American Territorial Militia burned La Ville de Maillet, ending the French influence in Peoria History.
The Development of an American City.
1813 American Military forces constructed Fort Clark, one block South of this site.
1819 First American settlers arrived in Peoria.
1829 Steamboats first docked here at the Levee.
1845 The City of Peoria became Incorporated.
1854 Railroad facilities allowed rapid growth of goods and services.
Mid1800's Strong industries arose in Peoria - foundries, pork packing, farm implements, breweries, distillers, wholesale warehousing, stockyards, and pottery making.
1860 Distilleries and Breweries generated major tax revenues to help finance the Civil War.
Late1800's Distillery row extended along the riverfront. Peoria became known as the "Whiskey Capital of the World."
1909 Holt Co. Of California, later Caterpillar, began local operations.
1910 Caterpillar began operations.
1920 Prohibition ended Peoria's whiskey era.
1925 Best and Holt Companies merged to form Caterpillar. Peoria later became known as "The Earthmoving Capitol of The World."
Late 1990's Commerce, industry, and the Arts Thrive in Peoria.