PEORIA -- Here's the awful story of how a historic church in Peoria was demolished, with the consent of its owners, who were bribed, and the city officials of Peoria (who were either bribed or are fools).
diabolical move demolished the Peoria Universalist/Unitarian Church,
Today it is just another green area. Flat. Ugly.
WE WILL NOT FORGET!
What might have been.
Historic preservation is the only valid basis for saving inner city and deteriorating neighborhoods.
Denver called a moratorium on demolition, and it paid off big for that city.
In St. Louis, Mo., Soulard, the historic district, does not allow demolition of anything, and it's one of the most desirable inner city neighborhoods to live in, with residences worth six figures and more.
Here's the way the building looked just prior to demolition. It was listed by the Landnmarks Preservation Council of Illinois as one of the 10 most endangered historic places in Illinois for 2005.
AFTERMATH: UUs built a new church in the suburbs, went $500,000 over budget. That's what it would have cost to completely renovate the historic building. They chose a "virgin" site, where in the fall of 2006, six oak trees had died from "construction injury, drought, disease or a combination of causes," the church newsletter reported.
ANOTHER PEORIA LANDMARK DESTROYED?
Architect Bernard L. Hulsebus (1876-1957, right with wife, Edna) was a civic leader in Peoria, Ill, and a member of the
city’s Building Code Commission, the Chamber of Commerce, the Central Illinois Chapter of the American Institute
of Architects, as well as the Creve Coeur Club and the Odd Fellows Lodge. He once served as president of the Rotary
He designed Methodist Hospital in 1920 and the building is still standing though modifications have disguised
Ironically, hospital officials now want to demolish another significant building that Hulsebus designed,
the Universalist/Unitarian Church, next door to Methodist.
With its dome, the church in some ways is reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
Jefferson was never a Unitarian but he rejected the trinity and held beliefs similar to those of Unitarians
and Universalists. Hulsebus may have understood this connection and incorporated it into his design for the church.
Among the many buildings that Hulsebus designed, Whittier School, 1617 W. Fredonia near Bradley University
in Peoria, is still in use.
His home at 1204 N. Parkside remains a family residence in one of Peoria’s historical areas.
Hulsebus was born in Iowa in 1876 and married Mary Neptune in 1899. She died in 1932. He then married
Edna Marx, who died in 1978. A nurse, she was a graduate of Methodist Medical Center School of Nursing.
Hulsebus died in 1957, but his survivors live on. He and his wife Mary had two children.
Their son Everett, an architect in California, had two sons and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Their daughter, Gretchen Iben, endowed an arts series at a Presbyterian Church in Peoria.
The architect and his wife.
Hulsebus designed the original building for Methodist Medical Center, shown here.