Historian wants the community’s help preserving the history of Peoria Heights

Digital Originals

PEORIA HEIGHTS, Ill.– Community members are being asked to help preserve and memorialize the history of Peoria Heights.

Author and historian Monica Vest Wheeler has researched and written about the Peoria area for 25 years. Recently, she’s been scanning documents and photos related to the Heights.

“There are stories to be told, everybody has a story and we’ve got to capture these moments,” Vest Wheeler said. “There’s so many stories that are dying every day.”

Vest Wheeler said with all of the stories that get lost over time, she wants to make sure the history of Peoria Heights lives on.

“This community has such a rich history and unique culture and I love it,” Vest Wheeler said. “We’ve had the Vista from Grandview Drive which is known around the world. The inventions, the bicycles, the automobiles.”

However, as much as she said she loves the process of scanning, interviewing and researching history, she said she can’t do it alone.

She’s asking for help from those who are close to the Peoria Heights community. Those who may have photos, home videos, postcards or simply memories that they don’t know what to do with.

Roger Bergia, who’s grown up in Peoria Heights and is a collector in his own right, said he was happy to help Vest Wheeler because Peoria Heights holds a special place in his heart.

“I’ve collected probably 40 or 50 years,” Bergia said. “I love Peoria Heights as I said. My father was born here, I was born here, went to school here and came back to work here. My whole life has been involved with Peoria Heights.”

Vest Wheeler said she also wants the community’s involvement because one never knows the value of the smallest piece of information. She said she wants to forever uphold the living history of a small town.

“History is not boring,” Vest Wheeler said. “History is alive and it’s part of every one of us.”

She said if community members have anything they want to share with her, they can email her at heightshistoryproject@gmail.com.

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