Tazewell County Courthouse Square History Walk

A Guide to Downtown Pekin, Illinois, 1920-2020

Tazewell County Courthouse Square History Walk

Pekin, Illinois 61554, United States

Created By: Pekin Public Library

Tour Information

The Pekin Public Library, with the help of the Tazewell County Genealogical & Historical Society, has prepared this itinerary of a self-guided historical tour of the Tazewell County Courthouse Square in downtown Pekin, comparing today’s downtown with a look back to 100 years ago or more.

This self-guided tour takes approximately 25 or 30 minutes to complete, depending on one's pace and one's interest in each of the buildings and points of interest.

The itinerary extends along the four blocks surrounding the courthouse, starting at the courthouse and McKenzie Building, then beginning a square at the intersection of Court and Fourth streets, heading west down to Capitol Street, then south to Elizabeth Street, east to Fourth, and then north back to the intersection of Court and Fourth.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Pekin, Ill., has been the county seat of Tazewell County since 1849. The original county seat was Mackinaw, where a log cabin was built in 1827 to serve as a courthouse. The Mackinaw courthouse was built by Amasa Stout at a cost of $125. In... Read more
The McKenzie Building is the location of several offices of county government, include the Tazewell County Clerk and Recorder of Deeds, the Tazewell County Coroner, and the Tazewell County Assessor. The building was originally constructed a... Read more
Then: Herget National Bank Now: Yesterday's Bar and Grill
Then: N. Reuling Co. Dry Goods Now: Pekin Performing Arts/Classical Dance Academy
Then: Mrs. M. T. Miller, grocer; Dr. C. G. Muehlmann; and Jesse Black Jr, attorney Now: Hawaiian Sun Tanning
Then: The Model Clothing; John Walter, jeweler; Pekin Music House; C. F. Holland Insurance; Dr. R. C. Horner, dentist; Prudential Insurance; Robert Van Deusen, surveyor; W. J. Reardon, attorney; Dr. R. L. Halsted, optometrist; C. C. Hatcher... Read more
Then: P. Steinmetz & Sons Co. Clothing; M. R. Huffman Piano Studio; Albert Van Horne, dentist; G. L. Junker Insurance; G. A. Himmel Real Estate; J. C. Hamilton Real Estate; C. L. Brereton, tailor; O. A. Smith, lawyer; G. A. Lucas Insura... Read more
Then: Illinois Restaurant (later Will Harms Office Supplies) Now: Vacant (formerly Treasures and More)
Then: A. C. Johannes, confectioner Now: DUI Countermeasures
Then: Louis Hofff Books; Dr. G. C. Cleveland, dentist; Illinois Bell Telephone Company Now: Vacant
Then: Pekin Hardware Co. (later Christ Centered Store) Now: 337 Court Street Law Offices In Dec. 1898, Phillip M. Hoffman and Ernest R. Peyton bought Henry Roos' hardware business, which then became the Pekin Hardware Co. The business later... Read more
Then: C. E. Kraeger Drugs, S. S. Kresge Co. Now: Vacant (and merged with the adjacent Farmers National Bank Building)
Then: Farmers National Bank Building Now: Vacant (formerly U.S. Army Recruiters Office)
Then: Piggly-Wiggly Grocer (site was also where the Union League was founded during the Civil War) Now: Pekin National Bank (with Union League historical marker) The Union League was founded in Pekin on June 25, 1862 above the doctor's offi... Read more
Then: Schipper and Block Co. Dry Goods Now: Vacant (formerly Illinois Department of Children and Family Services) The beloved Schipper and Block building formerly housed a department store. The original Schipper & Block building at the... Read more
Then: Ehrlicher Bros. Co.; Allen Nixon, barber; Rahn & Russell, attorneys; various attorney and insurance agent offices; J. H. Stumm, Justice of the Peace; C. R. Towne Real Estate; Dr. C. F. Grimmer, physician; Dr. W. A. Thrush, dentist... Read more
Then: Pekin Theater (formerly site of the Turner Opera House) Now: Tazewell County Justice Center (County Sheriff's Office and Jail) The Turner Opera House was built in 1890, and had a capacity of 700 people. The house included a gymnasium ... Read more
Now – Tazewell County Adult and Juvenile Probation Then – Pekin Post Office, built at the former site of the Benjamin S. Prettyman homestead. Prettyman was a pioneer settler who served as Pekin mayor and held other local government offi... Read more
Now - Masonic Temple Then – Empty lot between Old Post Office and Marshall Block Originally this was part of the property of the Benjamin S. Prettyman homestead during the 1800s. Prettyman's son William built a new house on the site in th... Read more
Now -- Kuhfuss and Proehl, attorneys Then -- Marshall Block (attorneys offices) The Marshall Block building, which was situated on the west side of the old Tazewell Hotel, still houses a law office today.
Now – Busey/Herget Bank parking lot Then – Tazewell Hotel (former site of Woodard's Hotel), Smith & Vogelsang Taxi, G. W. Stephens Barber, Family Service Laundry, E. S. Flynn Billiard Hall. ...
Now – County parking lot Then – Zerwekh Building (later known as the Pekin Times Building), including Prettyman, Velde & Prettyman, attorneys, Masonic Hall (3rd floor). At around 1920, the Pekin Daily Times at 26 S. Fourth had not y... Read more
Now – parking lot Then – CILCO, United Appliance Co.
Now – Parking lot Then – Schurman Agency Insurance, Pekin Loan & Homestead Association
Now - Murphy & Dunn, attorneys Then – B.P.O. Elks, Ashley & Co. Cleaning
Now – Alcohol & Drug Professionals Then – The Aladdin Dance Hall


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