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Peoria Historical Society rolls out a variety of tours

The John C. Flanagan House Museum, 924 NE Glen Oak Ave.
Peoria Historical Society
The John C. Flanagan House Museum, 924 NE Glen Oak Ave.

If you thought that guided tours offered by the Peoria Historical Society only take in Grandview Drive and Moss Avenue, think again.

Tours offered June through October cover everything from the area's rich distilling past ("Roll Out the Barrel") to the town's wide-open gangster past ("Naughty to Nice") as well as the popular "Haunted Peoria" tours staged in October.

A total of 10 different tours are available, noted Beth Johnson, a member of the PHS board in her "Postmark Peoria" interview with Steve Tarter.

Regarding the "Haunted Peoria" tours, they tend to sell out the quickest, she said. "People like the spinetingling stories. Moss Avenue, for example, is rife with ghosts," said Johnson with a laugh.

Connie Tomczyk, another longtime PHS member who joined Beth on the "Postmark" interview, said her favorite was the River City Tour. "You go all around town including Grandview Drive, Moss Avenue, Glen Oak Avenue and Downtown," she said.

Longtime Peoria residents frequently tell her, "I never knew that," when told of some of the history of their hometown, she said.

But sometimes it's those on the tour that make contributions to local history, said Tomczyk. "When Peoria residents take the tours, they can be very interactive experiences," she said.

Johnson noted that the PHS is working on a new tour, one that includes the Uplands, the first planned neighborhood in Peoria, and West Peoria that will take in some of the institutions on Heading Avenue such as the Jewish Cemetery.

Bus tours are $20 per person while walking tours (held every other Thursday through Oct. 26) are $15. For more information, check out http://www.peoriahistoricalsociety.org or call (309) 674-1921.

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Steve Tarter retired from the Peoria Journal Star in 2019 after spending 20 years at the paper as both reporter and business editor.