Peoria, a N. central county of Illinois, bounded S. E. by the Illinois river and Peoria lake, and drained by Spoon river and Kickapoo, Elbow, and Copperas creeks; area, 650 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 47,540. It is intersected by numerous railroads centring at the county seat. It has a gently undulating surface and very fertile soil. The chief productions in 1870 were 124,104 bushels of wheat, 99,592 of rye, 969,224 of Indian corn, 334,892 of oats, 108,039 of potatoes, 254,482 lbs. of butter, and 22,036 tons of hay. There were 8,839 horses, 6,318 milch cows, 9,617 other cattle, 6,760 sheep, and 35,386 swine; 7 manufactories of carriages and wagons, 10 of brick, 18 of cooperage, 11 of furniture, 6 of iron castings, 11 of machinery, 9 of saddlery and harness, 16 of tin, copper, and sheet-iron ware, 11 distilleries, 6 breweries, and 9 flour mills. Capital, Peoria.
Peoria, a city and the capital of Peoria co., Illinois, on the W. bank of the Illinois river, here spanned by a drawbridge, at the foot of an expansion of that stream called Peoria lake, 62 m. N. of Springfield, and 135 m. S. W. of Chicago; pop. in 1850, 5,095; in 1860, 14,045; in 1870, 22,849, of whom 7,357 were foreigners. It is beautifully situated on rising ground, above the reach of floods. The country back of the city is a fertile rolling prairie. Peoria is regularly laid out, with wide and well graded streets. In the centre is a public square. It has an extensive trade in flour, starch, lumber, agricultural implements, and carriages. Regular lines of steamers run to St. Louis and other points, and nine lines of railroads meet here, viz.: Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy; Chicago, Pekin, and Southwestern; Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific; Indianapolis, Bloomington, and Western; Peoria, Pekin, and Jacksonville; Peoria and Rock Island; Toledo, Peoria, and Warsaw; Illinois Midland; and Toledo, Wabash, and Western. The manufactures are extensive, embracing foundery products, machinery, rolling mill products, steam boilers, ploughs and other agricultural implements, lumber, carriages, and malt and distilled liquors.
There are three national banks, with an aggregate capital of $500,000, three savings banks, a county normal school, graded city schools, five daily and five weekly newspapers (two of each German), and 28 churches. - La Salle established a post on the site of Peoria in 1680, but the town was first permanently settled in 1819. It was incorporated as a city in 1844.