Our Previous Church Homes
1843–1849: Peoria Courthouse / Planter’s Hotel
Early meetings of the Universalist Society were usually held in the Assembly Room of the Peoria’s second courthouse
(built circa 1835-36).
When the courthouse was not available, meetings were occasionally held at Planter’s Hotel at Hamilton and North Adams Streets. Abraham Lincoln stayed here during his visits to Peoria.
1857–1864: Fulton Street (I)
1864–1865: Madison and Fayette (I)
In 1857, the society purchased the former Presbyterian Church on Fulton Street. After the congregation sold the property, the building was used as a synagogue and later as an overall factory.
For a short time the Universalists rented a church building from the Unitarians, who had discontinued services. The building stood on the corner of Madison and Fayette streets. It was sold to the First Baptist Church in 1865.
1865–1867: Fulton Street (II)
After the sale of the Unitarian church, occasional meetings were held in a hall on Fulton Street. It later became the Salvation Army hall.
1867–1899: Main Street
The congregation’s first new construction was this church at 727 Main Street. At the time, it was reportedly “the finest and largest church building in the city.” Eventually the congregation, unable to maintain the structure, was forced to sell it. After a second life as the Masonic Temple, the building was torn down in 1972.
1899–1901: Madison and Fayette (II
For about three years, the church rented space in the Women’s Club building at Madison and Fayette. The building is still standing.
1901–1910: Hamilton Boulevard (I)
The congregation purchased a lot at Hamilton and Knoxville, and in 1901-02 constructed the building that we now call “Little Gothic.” Just a few years later, during a period of rapid growth, the decision was made to raze the little church so that a larger structure could be built on the same site.
1910–1911: G.A.R. Hall
During construction of the new building, services were held in the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall at 416 Hamilton. The building is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
1911–2005: Hamilton Boulevard (II)
The second church on the Hamilton Boulevard property featured a domed roof. The architectural style has been described as Renaissance Revival or Beaux Arts Classicism.
The church building was enlarged twice, with side balcony wings in 1919 and four corner additions in 1962. A neighboring building was purchased in 1993 and remodeled for use as office space.
In 2003, the congregation voted to accept Methodist Medical Center’s offer to purchase the Hamilton Boulevard property. The site was cleared in 2005 and will become a key part of the hospital’s redesigned campus. The pews, stained glass windows, organ, and other features from the church were salvaged and given a new home in our present church building.