Rust Belt Real Estate

Our old home at 423 High Street in Peoria, IL. We sold it for 189,000 in 2015.

Rust Belt real estate

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Move to Peoria, Illinois


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Our Home In Peoria Sold For $189,000

Our old home at 423 High Street in Peoria, IL.

High Street, Peoria, Illinois

Located in the High Wine District across from Giant Oak Park, this Colonial Revival home was built around the turn of the century. On the ridge of the Illinois River, it overlooks downtown Peoria and the University of Illinois Medical Campus.

In the 1890's, a railroad agent and the treasurer of a local industry lived in the house. Later, the home was a boarding house and a halfway house for some years. It is reputed to be occupied by a ghost. The home was restored near its 100 year anniversary by Jack and Cathy Empson. Renovation was continued by the current owners, Beth Ruyle and Craig Hullinger in 2006.

The existing, original slate roof is moderately pitched and hipped, with a ridge. Classic one story fluted columns support the full length porch. Brick walls are edged with quoins. The interior boasts extensive stained woodwork and marble floors.

High Street

Source: http://www.historicpeoria.com/entry.php?eid=214&catid=1&cid=1

Nestled between Peoria's picturesque West Bluff and energetic Main Street, High Street offers its residents and visitors a vibrant and elegant slice of historical significance. From the mammoth Easton house (now Converse Marketing) gracing the entrance to the renovated Greenhut mansion (now Bobbitt's Historical Quarters) at the foot, the magic of High Street has survived the years and resonates today.

Once dubbed "High Wine Avenue," High Street housed many of the original Peoria whiskey barons, including Joseph Greenhut, president and founder of The Distillers and Cattle Feeders Company. In the mid-1880's, an era before income tax, fortunes were spent on homes, massive legacies that still stand today. The expanse of Peoria's whisky riches is showcased in the diverse and ornate architecture of High Street. During this golden age of Peoria history, the city established itself as the distillery capital of the world; High Street housed the city's exclusive nouveau riche, the properties offering both seclusion and breathtaking views. 

Each owner hired the services of individual architects, and thus High Street boasts styles ranging from Georgian and Gothic Revival, to Queen Anne and Flemish Revival. This combination of porticos, cupolas, latticework, leaded windows, and arches creates an eclectic presence unique to High Street.

Today High Street is home to artists, writers, politicians and families interested in living a piece of history. Many of the mansions have been restructured into apartments, and few single-family houses remain. A restoration revival swept the street in the late 1980's and early 1990's when owners began working with the city to uphold historical standards in the renovations. 

On any summer day, visitors stroll the street, taking in the majestic homes and lush landscaping. Trolleys and tour buses creep along while tourists snap photos. Children and lovers alike hide within the limbs of the ancient oak tree at Giant Oak Park. Once the most exclusive residential street in Peoria, High Street continues to give citizens a taste of Peoria's past.


Sarasota Sunrises and Sunsets

Monuments of the Millenium

The anticipation of "the year 2000" and the start of the 21st century also brought on a great deal of reflection about the events and achievements of the 20th century. ASCE demonstrated how civil engineers enhanced the quality of life with two special events: the Millennium Challenge in 1999, and the Monuments of the Millennium in 2000. 

The Millennium Challenge canvassed ASCE members in late 1999 to determine the 10 civil engineering achievements that had the greatest positive impact on life in the 20th century. Rather than individual projects, they chose to recognize broad categories of achievements. The Monuments of the Millennium are international or national projects that represent many of these achievements. The Monuments, chosen in early 2000 by a distinguished panel of civil engineers, demonstrate a combination of technical engineering achievement, courage and inspiration, and a dramatic influence on the development of the communities in which they're located. 

Here are the 10 greatest civil engineering achievements as ranked by ASCE's members in 1999, and the related Monuments of the Millennium as selected in 2000. Click on each of the monument names to learn more in depth about each:

Click the link below to view the Monuments.

The Chicago Monument excerpted below:

Wastewater Treatment Monument: Chicago Wastewater System 

From the earliest times through the 19th century, people lived in filth, disposing of garbage and raw sewage by dumping it into streets, alleys and waterways. As a result, they often suffered from such deadly diseases as cholera and typhus. 

Until the early 1900s, America's urban wastewater, including industrial waste, was dumped into the nation's waterways. Few municipalities treated wastewater, as it was widely believed that running water purified itself. Ironically, with the implementation of water treatment supply systems, the need for uncontaminated water supplies decreased, and the nation's waterways became more polluted. 

As recently as 1968, the city of St. Louis discharged 300 million gallons per day of raw waste into the Mississippi River. By 1972, only one‐third of U.S. waterways remained safe for drinking and fishing. With the advent of wastewater treatment, cities became much more equipped to deal with population influx. Such innovations as activated sludge treatment allow for the maintenance of high levels of water quality. 

Wastewater treatment led to an increase in life expectancy, reduction in infant mortality and morbidity, control and prevention of communicable diseases, and improvements to the aquatic environment, enabling the public to enjoy water sports and maintain a healthy ecosystem for marine life. 

Seven Wonders of the Modern World, 1955 

The reversal of the Chicago River, completed in 1900, enabled Chicago to continue its growth and progress after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Before the reversal, the safety of the Lake Michigan drinking water supply was constantly threatened by untreated sewage flowing directly into the river, which then flowed back into the lake. The Chicago Sanitary District, as it was known then, undertook a monumental task when it built a 28‐mile‐long channel that would connect the Chicago River with the Des Plaines River to reverse the flow of the river away from Lake Michigan. More than 28 million cubic yards of glacial drift and 12.9 million cubic yards of solid rock were removed, using conveyers, steam shovels, horse‐drawn wagons, dynamite and the labor of thousands of immigrants. 

Additional Information http://www.chicagoriver.org/ 

Official website for the Friends of the Chicago River. http://www.earthcam.com/usa/illinois/chicago/field/ 

This camera offers many views of the Chicago skyline, including the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan. 

Ten‐Public‐Works‐Projects‐of‐ the‐Century A chronological history of the reversal of the Chicago River. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_River#Reversing_the_flow 

A brief overview of the remarkable feat of reversing the Chicago River's flow.


Air and Water Pollution Baci in the Good Old DAys


From the 1950s to the 1980s, “smog sieges” and “smog attacks” were a part of September life in Southern California. During one such episode of eye-watering smog, motorcycle messengers for a blueprint company went on strike Sept. 13, 1955, because they said they could not see. The next day, the company issued gas masks to the riders.


We have made great strides in improving our nation's air and water quality. I can remember hitchhiking through Los Angeles in 1974.  The thick smog hurt my eyes and you could barely see the Hollywood sign through the pollution. LA is much better now, mostly because of our improved emission standards.

In Chicago the air and water quality was wretched in the 1950's. The Chicago River and tributaries were very polluted.  As children we did not pay much attention. The big steel blast furnaces in the south side of Chicago were economic drivers for our prosperity and watching the flames and smoke was an attraction.  

We spent a great deal of money and effort to substantially reduce pollution and we succeeded.  I was the Planning Director of Will County, a rapidly growing County south of Chicago.  We received a great deal of money from the Federal Government for water quality planning, including $100,000 to explain our efforts to improve water quality.  The plan was called 208 for the Federal Legislation and called for every stream and river in the country to be fit for swimming and fishing by 1983.

I devised a plan where I would dive into the Chicago River / Ship and Sanitary Canal in downtown Chicago, swim to the far side, and then swim back, to show how great it would be after our rivers and streams were fit for swimming. Our environmental planner Marla Gursh threw cold water on my plan by suggesting that I discuss this with the County Health Department.  They described the process they took when a ship working accidentally fell into the River. There were a number of inoculations, induced vomiting, and scrubbing every orifice of your body with an aggressive alcohol swab.  I dropped my plan.

Craig Hullinger


Sarasota September 11, 2018

Metropolitan Planning Council info@metroplanning.org

Flickr user MBA Photography

Assessing the burden of toxic industries on Little Village

The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) is well known for decades of environmental victories in Chicago, from the 2012 closure of a coal power plant to the 2013 conversion of a Superfund site into a community park. These days, LVEJO members are setting their sights on the neighborhood's polluted industrial riverfront. Associate Chloe Gurin-Sands and former Research Assistant Hanna Udischas explain how LVEJO is undertaking community-led health research that may alter the river's future in La Villita

Metropolitan Planning Council  - Chicago



NCP - Nuclear Catastrophe Planner

The recent Russian news that they are practicing massive evacuation of their cities makes me a little nervous:


I was working as the Planning Director of Will County, Illinois (Joliet, Naperville, Tinley Park, Park Forest) in 1976 when a man came in to see me. He gave me a business card,which showed his name and indicated that he was an NCP.

"What is an NCP", I asked? "Nuclear Catastrophe Planner", he replied.

I have another live one, I thought. He proceed to show me a large old colorfully printed document that showed the areas that would be destroyed by a nuclear attack. All of the six County Chicago metro area would be destroyed except a small corner in the southwest corner of Will County.

"Interesting and depressing", I said. "What do you want me to do about it?"

"Prepare an evacuation plan." he said.

"You want to evacuate the entire Chicago metro area before an attack?" I said.

"Won't you have only 15 minutes or so to evacuate 8 million people? Where would they go?" The roads would be impassable."

"They will go to rural areas outside of the metro area." He said.

And then what he said made some sense. He told me that the Soviet Union had plans and actually practiced evacuation of their large cities. If we got into a toe to toe confrontation with the USSR or PRC, as we did over the Cuban missile crisis, things could once again get very tense.

"If we see they are evacuating their cities it would be best to start evacuating our cities.

Otherwise we would be pressured to strike first." he said. Both the USSR and USA might take several days to evacuate their cities.

Our NCP seemed to be a free lance individual rather than a representative of a government agency. I asked if any of the other planning agencies were preparing such plans or if there was a Federal agency coordinating or funding this effort. There was no funding of sponsoring Federal agency.

We never did prepare evacuation plans. So far, so good, although I was unhappy to find out that Russia practiced evacuation of large areas last week. Maybe as a nation we should have developed those evacuation plans.

Click to see a fun video on nuclear fallout from 1955. Anytime you get depressed about how things are doing now politically, think back to fun times of the cold war.

And it is a wonderful thing that the USA, USSR, and the PRC avoided blowing the world up. Let us hope  that Russia will continue to march and quit rattling rockets. 

You probably recall the old joke

What to do in the event of nuclear attack?

Bend over, put your head between your legs, and kiss your ass goodbye.

Nuclear war takes all the joy out of warfare.