Sunday, May 19, 2019

Kickapoo Hotel (36 rooms) was at 730 Main St, Peoria, IL, and built over a Shell Station... is it me? Or is having a gas station under your hotel a bad idea?

above, 1964

notice the area just under the Shell Station, blank in the above photo, but below they used it for the Hotel signage

notice that below that is the Anheuser Busch eagle... Why? The Kickapoo Building was built in 1911, by St. Louis brewery Anheuser-Busch. During that era the brewery built several establishments to serve their products. The buildings often had distinctive architecture.

The bars/pubs/saloons that were connected to a brewery, or had a contract with one, were "tied houses" in contrast to a "free house" which was un-affiliated with any other particular company, and did business however they chose to


but skip ahead to the current time,

and the Busch sign is now where Hotel was

the building was originally used as a tied house for the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, which sought to expand its presence in Peoria's large brewing industry.

 The two-story building has a flatiron shape, (flat iron, the ancestor to a steam iron, still has that triangular shape) a design which took advantage of its triangular lot.

Flatiron buildings were once commonly built in Peoria as a necessity of the city's geography; while downtown Peoria was built on a grid aligned with the Illinois River, its subsequent additions were usually aligned with the cardinal directions, and extensions of streets from the additions into downtown led to the creation of many triangular lots.

The Kickapoo Building's lot was created by three of these streets, Main Street and Glendale Avenue from the original downtown and Knoxville from the boundaries of several later additions; while it was not the first building on its triangular lot, it was the first one to take full advantage of the space.
It's the last flatiron building in Peoria

Modern commercial development and freeway construction eliminated many of Peoria's diagonal streets downtown, including Knoxville Avenue itself, and took many of its flatiron buildings with it; the Kickapoo Building stands out among the survivors for its decorative commercial storefronts on all three sides.

this photo from the other side, as you can see from the lower left, where the van is at the old gas station was

It’s been the site for a saloon, hotel, gas station, restaurant, architectural office and uniform company, to name a few.

Anheuser-Busch recognized Peoria as the national distilling and brewing center it was in 1911. That was a time when the city had 11 distilleries, 14 breweries and 323 saloons and St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch wanted in.

So the brewery established a tavern amid all this competition that only served Anheuser-Busch beer.

The so-called “tied house” concept went out with Prohibition making the building, with its flat-iron shape, all the more unique

1 comment:

  1. ive seen some buildings in London and other UK cities that had a gas station on the corner ground level