PEORIA, Ill. — One of the oldest club’s in America is celebrating being one step closer to restoring it’s building.
Peoria Women’s Club, formed in 1886, had a celebration, Thursday, at it’s home building, constructed in 1893, for Peoria native Kim Blickenstaff who donated $500,000 to the club’s building.
Margie Schwebel, the club’s president, said the club is very grateful to have had such a generous donation to their cause.
When asked why he felt compelled to make such a considerable donation to the club, Blickenstaff simply cited his love for the community.
“I just love Peoria and want to help lift the community back up,” Said Blickenstaff. “I wanted to see everyone happy and give them a sense of hope and it just feels right to help keep such a great piece of history intact.”
Blickenstaff mentioned his grandmother was also a member of the Peoria Women’s Club. He said his grandmother’s love for the building’s 432-seat theater was more motivation to support the building.
This celebration also marked the start of the club’s fundraising efforts to raise money for the building’s renovations.
The club started an “Adopt a Seat” fundraiser where people can adopt one of the seats in the building’s historic theater for $250. The seat can, then, have the buyer’s name place on it and it will be theirs permanently.
“People can adopt a seat in our upstairs theater,” Schwebel said. “The seats are in great condition and it will be there’s for the rest of their lives.”
Schwebel said the building, which is 126 years old, needs to be renovated inside and out. This renovation includes painting, plumbing, construction, etc.
Overall, Blickenstaff said the Women’s Club building is a piece of Peoria’s past that he hopes will live on.
The goal is to preserve history,” Blickenstaff said. “It’s going to be a legacy for our children and theirs.”