Peoria Public Library - Peoria, Illinois

107 NE Monroe
Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070

Local Historians have wonderful stories to tell. Our talented local writers and researchers often find gems of local history that have escaped being chronicled. Here are a collection of essays that will reveal little know facts about Peoria and it's history.


Norman V. Kelly

Norm is a local historian and author who most recently wrote a story entitled, "The Mystery of the Missing Manuscript" for The Big Read Peoria Reads which incorporated local history into a story about the 2009 book choice The Maltese Falcon. His book, UNTIL YOU ARE DEAD, detailing all of Peoria’s executions is available in the Peoria Public Library. Much of his writing comes from his real life experiences as a private detective in Peoria. Norm welcomes your comments and questions and can be reached at



Read these stories by Norm Kelly by clicking on the title, then leave a comment if you like.

1866: The Shaft

A Man About Town - Mayor Woodruff

A Shelton Chronicle

Beer: Hail to the King!

Crazy Maizey

Early Peoria Killers

Jimmy Runs Amock

My Home in ElVista

Operation Earthmover

Peoria: 1920 and 1921

Peoria's 1918 Spanish Flu Terror

Saturday Night in Peoria

Terror on a Downtown Streetcar

The Grand Opera House

The Shoot-Out at Larson's Barbershop

Peoria's Teenage Warriors

A Gift from The Detweillers

Meet George Finley

Big Trouble in Averyville

The Ambush of Tony Miller

Amerikanisch! Amerikanisch!

A Hallmark Murder

A Sailor's Story

A Summation of Murder

Peoria: A Bawdy, Lusty Town

Bye-Bye Miss Birdie

Diamond Lil

Here's Where We Came In

Murder in the Heartland

My Mother's Christmas Tree

Peoria Gangsters

Peoria's Railroad Man

St. Mary's Cathedral

The Corruption of a Small Town

The Shoemaker

Was Peoria Run by Gangsters?


Chief Coy, Man of Steel

Railroad Detectives

Peoria's Coliseum & Armory

Colonel Fahnestock

Early Peorians Had a Dream


Norm Talks About Old Peoria

Summer in Peoria

Norm Kelly talks about summer time in Peoria and explains photos from the Peoria Public Library Local History collection.

Norm Kelly Talks About Famous Peorians