Sunday, November 30, 2008

AMVETS Post 64

The AMVETS Post 64 building in Peoria, Illinois recently came to the forefront of the local news because the city's historic preservation commission decided the downtown building should be a historic landmark and preserved for future uses.
Hearing that the building may be demolished, we wanted to stop by and have a look.
The building was constructed in 1916 and designed by W. H. Reeves, who also designed City Hall. It has been home to AMVETS Post 64 for almost 40 years.
Turning in to the parking lot, I noticed the unique enameled brick and glazed terra cotta facade. The facade is considered by some preservationists to be a historically significant feature.
After being buzzed in, we stepped into the basement bar with its suspended ceilings and wood paneling.
The comfortable room was lined with some bookshelves and cabinets, and a popcorn machine topped with cardboard serving trays waiting to be filled. In one corner was a Christmas tree strung with lights.
The horseshoe bar was lined with many stools and flanked by some circular tables and chairs near a dance floor.
We noticed a handwritten sign on the post near our seats advertising $1.00 hot dogs anytime. We decided to partake, and the barkeep put a couple of dogs on the roller for us to heat up.
Once they were ready, he served them on buns in white scalloped paper trays and directed us to the end of the bar to garnish them.
After finishing our dogs, we checked out the narrow elevator near the men's room, which reminded us of some we'd seen in Germany. These old service elevators do not meet current American's with Disabilities compliancy requirements, which is one of the reasons the AMVETS group cited for wanting to move to a different building.
Above the accordion style metal gate protecting riders from falling into the shaft I noticed a decorative design cut into the metal of the trim above.
Even the panel controlling the elevator and the door handle were lovely.

The results of the vote by Peoria City Council, 9-1, did not find the building historic enough to grant landmark status.
The AMVETS building will most likely be sold and demolished.

AMVETS Post 64
237 N. E. Monroe Street
Peoria, Illinois 61602

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