Originally Rock Island Depot & Freight House
212 Water St.
Submitted By Vivere Research
Peoria's first train entered town in November 1854, and for many years, Peoria was the fourth largest regional hub in the U.S. railway system. At its largest, Peoria served 15 railroads and 70,000 miles of track. In 1891, the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad built the Rock Island Depot, and a freight house was added in 1899. The large clock tower attached to the building was razed in 1939 because it was declared unsafe. One train, the "Peoria Rocket," served Peoria for 42 years before making its final run on May 29, 1978, when passenger service to Chicago ended.
Ownership of the Rock Island Depot then went to the City of Peoria, who used the building for its Community Workshop and Training Center. This Neo-Classical building was added to the National Register of Historic Places as "The Rock Island Depot & Freight House" on December 22, 1978. Reminiscent of the old railroad days, Peoria attempted to revive a Peoria-Chicago run, which lasted about one year between August 1980 and October 1981. After restoring the building, the River Station restaurant opened in 1981 within the former depot and closed in 2000. The Rock Island Depot is now known as the River Station, which houses Martini's on Water Street, a martini bar.