Built in 1852, the John Schwab Grocery (formerly the Powell Press Building) was initially located at 214 NE Washington Street. Today this building, Peoria's only pre-Civil War commercial building, still remains in downtown, albeit at a different location.
At one time, the building was only fifty feet from the river and boats would deliver their goods and shipments directly to the back of the building. The people who resided in the building stayed on the top two floors. Since that time, however, there have been many changes to the land around the building. By the turn of the century, a nearby landfill project at Eckwood Park made access to the building by boat impossible.
Over the years, the building went through a variety of owners and businesses, including time as a church, a press company and a toy factory. In the 1980s, the Caterpillar company purchased the building and eventually donated it to the city of Peoria.
It wasn't until 1995 that plans began in order to move the historic building to the Peoria Riverfront with the intent of making it into a visitor welcome and media center. In 1997, the Historical Society and the Central Illinois Landmark Foundation joined forces to preserve and relocate this historic building to Riverfront Park. After the move to the Peoria riverfront, The Peoria Area Visitors and Convention Bureau along with CILF (Central Illinois Landmark Foundation) established the visitors' center in the building. The interior was subsequently remodeled in order to recreate the atmosphere of an 1850s grocery store.
-Submitted by Vivere Research