Evidence of History

Library materials can guide patrons as they assess the possibility of revitalizing historic structures.
by Chris Farris, Peoria Public Library
Downtown Peoria, ca. 1966
Downtown Peoria, ca. 1966

The Peoria Public Library holds many valuable items in its Local History and Genealogy Collection, including resources that have been used by many commercial patrons over the last few years. These patrons include investors, architectural firms, developers, construction firms and other businesses specializing in historic preservation.

The items they find most useful are building permits, city directories, photographs and vertical file materials with information about historic buildings and businesses. These materials guide our patrons as they assess the possibility of revitalizing historic structures—providing evidence of the history of a property, including former uses, renovations and appearances of the structures.

Perhaps most importantly, this evidence can be utilized as patrons seek the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit, which was recently expanded to include more historic areas throughout the state. The previous River Edge Redevelopment Zone Historic Tax Credit has been utilized by various investors in recent years as they have restored buildings in Peoria’s historic Warehouse District.

The newly-expanded tax credits should encourage even more development, such as the ongoing rehabilitation of the former Block & Kuhl department store into OSF HealthCare’s new downtown headquarters. Please call (309) 497-2000 or contact us at the Peoria Public Library’s Main Library in downtown Peoria if you have questions about how we can assist you with your research. PM

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