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The earliest immigrants to this region came from Alsace-Lorraine, a Franco-German area that is now part of France. The settlers first homesteaded in a swampy area now owned by the Caterpillar company. When Joseph Schertz surveyed the future East Peoria in 1864, he referred to it as Bluetown, the first time the area was referenced by name. Legend offers multiple possible explanations for this name: It may have come from the blue smocks often worn by men from Alsace-Lorraine or from the color that they painted their homes.
The growth of neighboring Peoria caused developers to look east for land. Steamboat captain and merchant Almiron S. Cole built a toll bridge connecting the two shores in 1848, and he also built a home where the First United Methodist Church now stands at the intersection of Almiron and Washington streets. This area was referred to as Coleville, and Almiron, Cole, Cole Hollow, and Johnson streets are all named after Cole and his family.
The residents of Bluetown and Coleville banded together to incorporate as Hilton, Illinois, in 1884 by a vote of 30 to 12. This village would be renamed East Peoria in 1889, and it would become the city of East Peoria in 1919.
East Peoria lies in Tazewell County and is located in the Central time zone. It’s separated from downtown Peoria by the Illinois River and covers 22.147 square miles. The 2010 census reported 23,402 residents. Caterpillar has many facilities in the city. The main campus of Illinois Central College also is located in East Peoria. Recently, downtown underwent significant redevelopment; a new library, the Fondulac District Library, opened in November 2013, and a new city hall and Civic Plaza opened in 2015.
East Peoria has cold winters with lots of snow. Typically, the city gets about 26.3 inches of snow a year, though this can vary widely in individual years. Summers are hot and humid. The region has a humid continental climate, with an average rainfall of 36 inches. Most of the rain occurs in the spring and summer. The lowest recorded temperature, -27 degrees Fahrenheit, was recorded in January 1884, and the highest was 113 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer of 1936.
Things to Do in East Peoria
East Peoria offers a wide variety of activities for visitors and residents to enjoy.
- The Par-A-Dice Casino offers gambling, live music, and big-screen TVs to watch the big game.
- The River Trail offers more than six miles of scenic walking paths, built on the old Illinois Terminal Railroad tracks. You can enjoy viewing wildlife, wildflowers, wetlands, and the Illinois River.
- Gather around the rooster in a top hat outside Carl’s Bakery for a one-of-a-kind photo op.
Where to Eat in East Peoria
No matter your food preference, East Peoria has a restaurant to fulfill your dining needs.
- Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern isn’t your typical barbecue joint. Food offerings here include Asian tacos, pulled pork tortas, and other tasty cultural mashups, all of them made from scratch. Wash it down with a drink from their carefully curated selection of craft beers and liquors.
- Looking for a tasty burger? Head to the Burger Barge. Consistently voted the best burger restaurant in central Illinois, the restaurant offers a riverfront location, tropical cocktails, and juicy burgers.
- Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse boasts a menu rich in both steakhouse staples and classic Italian dishes.
Where to Stay in East Peoria
A variety of lodging options, from privately owned homes to global hotel chains, are available in East Peoria.
- Holiday Inn & Suites East Peoria features an indoor swimming pool and conference rooms in the Levee District and is within walking distance to shopping and dining destinations.
- The Par-A-Dice Hotel offers 202 rooms and suites overlooking the Illinois River.
- Plenty of local homeowners offer vacation rentals, so you can rent your own home away from home!
Dental Care Services in East Peoria
Another great thing about this city is that it’s easy to find a high-quality East Peoria dentist: At Maple Shade Dental, our team of skilled professionals provide a wide range of affordable dental services, including cleanings, fillings, veneers, and periodontics. Our experienced dentists in East Peoria specialize in compassionate care that ensures that you’ll leave our office smiling! It’s no wonder that so many locals have trusted our East Peoria family dental practice for more than 25 years.
At Maple Shade Dental, we also believe that everyone should have access to care from an expert dentist. East Peoria, IL, patients with a variety of insurance plans can use them at our office; we accept coverage from most insurers. We can also help you sign up with a DentRite discount plan to make your treatment more affordable. Flexible financing arrangements are available, too. And getting to our dental offices in the Peoria, IL, area is simple: We’re conveniently located just off of Route 8 on Illini Drive, a quick walk from the #8 bus line.
When you need a top East Peoria dentist, you can count on Maple Shade Dental. We’re accepting new patients now, and you can book an appointment by phone or online. Get in touch with us today and let us show you why so many people choose us as their dentist in East Peoria, IL.