Peoria Mineral Springs

By on July 23, 2016

peoria mineral springs

Ancient man believed free-flowing springs to be the blood of Mother Earth. Ever since he has been intrigued with its mysteries.

The last glaciers left the Peoria valley some 14,500 years ago, leaving free-flowing springs from the west bluff.

In 1833 an agreement made between the Peoria County Commissioners, and Stephen Stillman, a man of some enterprise, provided the exclusive rights to bring water from a natural spring in the West Bluff to the Peoria public square. A vaulted brick reservoir was soon constructed, concealed in the gentle slope of the Bluff’s hillside. Wooden pipes were laid to supply drinking water to nearly 40 homes and the city’s original courthouse, where the Lincoln-Douglas Debates were held.

1892 Lydia Moss Bradley, founder of Bradley University and owner of the land, sold her deed to Preston Clark. Preston Clark is responsible for the patented name “Peoria Mineral Springs.” Clark ran a successful bottling business here for many years to come.

This is the oldest historic site in the tri-county and perhaps the State of Illinois. The Spring dates to pre-history and the reservoir, brick, and mortar, are circa 1834.

Peoria Mineral Springs provided natural spring water by gravity flow, down to Hancock Street, nearly 2 miles away. Peoria’s population increased to the point that the spring could no longer support the demand. From the early 1850’s several firms claimed the label and bottled and sold water, lithia seltzer, beer, and whiskey.

These businesses went on for many years. Then the spring lay dormant until the Traynor family purchased it and gave it new vitality. In 1976 the Family opened the Spring to the public as a Bicentennial event. Later it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and still claims that status.

National Register of Historic Places Documentation for Peoria Mineral Springs

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