Central Illinois collectors work to preserve local history through business

Open For Business

You might say Jon and Angie Walker are modern day treasure hunters of sorts. The two Peoria natives own Urban Artifacts–a local business devoted to collecting and selling relics unique to Central Illinois.

“We’re trying to preserve and save Peoria’s history […] one item at a time,” said Jon.

The store has a way of triggering childhood memories with some customers as they take a trip back in time.

“You’re going to walk in and discover something that perhaps belonged to somebody in your family, which we have had happen on many different occasions,” Angie said.

Original signage from the Greater Peoria area and even signature artifacts are part of the collections at Urban Artifacts.

“Peoria was a huge manufacturing and—community—and these stories and breweries and a lot of different industries that are long gone. But as a result, there’s a lot of memorabilia and collectibles out there from those businesses,” said Jon.

Collecting artifacts is a passion passed down to Jon. He says his grandparents and parents both were collectors and antique dealers.

“So I started when I was young—probably around the age of eight or 10–collecting baseball cards and buying, selling all of that. And so it’s just sort of in my blood that I’ve been around this all these years,” he said.

While some Urban Artifacts visitors just come to buy and sell unique trinkets, others come to hear the stories behind the items.

Jon said, “There’s so much neat stuff out there—old stuff—that I think it’s just the finding it and then the sharing it with other people.”


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