Peoria's riverfront has become the prime location for outdoor concerts, festivals, gatherings, fine art fairs, and strolling musicians, especially during the summer months. But those are not the only attractions in the area. There are many more of which one of them is the Rock Island depot.
The Rock Island Depot and Freight House is a two-story railroad station and an adjacent one-story freight house that was constructed in 1899 directly beside the Illinois River. The depot was built by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad as a terminal for the railroad that provided service between Peoria and Rock Island. Peoria was a transportation hub.
During the early years of the 20th century, distilleries in Peoria manufactured a significant share of U.S. produced blended whiskey. Carloads of small grains such as rye and barley rumbled southeastward on the former Peoria and Rock Island to the fermentation vats. But with the enactment of the American Prohibition in 1919 and with the invention of automobiles, the Peoria and Rock Island line was no longer profitable to run. The last Rock Island train out of the station was the Peoria Rocket in 1978. That same year the building was registered on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
After the end of train service, the building became known as River Station and went through several occupants before being occupied by Martinis On Water Street, and The Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern.
Step into Martinis and you are suddenly transported back into time. The high rise ceiling, stained glass windows, lots of oak and old fashioned decor give off a nostalgic vibe. You are now suddenly a character in one of Scott Fitzgerald's novels. Have fun!
Incidentally, if you are a Martini drinker, they have over 100 varieties on their menu. 🍸🍸