Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Aunt Leah and Bergner's in Peoria

My Aunt Leah worked for many years in the notions department of P. A. Bergners, a large department store in Peoria, Illinois. She was still working there when I graduated from high school and had a job with Galbraith & Baymiller, attornies, in Peoria. Every day I rode the White Star Bus for the 20 or so miles to Peoria. Once in a while, I would stay after work and go home with Leah for an overnight stay with her and my grandmother. Aunt Leah was special.
In the picture above, Leah, is second from the right. She is with a group of women that also worked for Bergner's - two of them I can remember. They are having lunch in the tearoom which was not far from the notion counter.
At an auction west of Chillicothe in the mid 80's after we had returned to Illinois, I bought a big box of sewing related items. In the box was this receipt from a purchase made by the lady from Princeville at Bergner's. I have always wondered if my aunt had made the sale and if she had written the receipt. It could have been her, but I will never know.

This is Berner's in the middle 1930's. The side entrance to the store was down the hill at the left of the picture and you took the stairs to the main floor where the notion counter was right to your left as you entered.

Peoria had trollies - street cars - and here is one making a turn from Main to Adams St. In the later years, my grandparents didn't have a car and went everywhere on the street car. Leah used to say the streetcars were like bananas - they came in bunches. I vividly remember riding them. In this picture, the first tall building on the left is the Lehmann Building and that is where I worked for Galbraith & Baymiller.
Just a little Piece of the Past - so very long ago. (Click to enlarge)


  1. Great story to go with the great pictures! I notice there appears to be a large wall sign on the building behind the Apollo theater. Do you have any photos of downtown Peoria that include wall signs?

  2. This is wonderful Carol - wouldn't have been neat if your Aunt actually had written that receipt! I love your description to. Jewels

  3. My 97 yr old Step-Grandmother I believe was born and as far as I know lived in Peoria until the 70's as Kathyrn Lantz then Kathyrn Cooper and now Kathyrn Moritz always shopped at Bergner's and used to take us to ride the Julia Belle on the river there. Your handwritten receipt takes me back to the 10 years I was in mgmt with Spurgeon's Dept Stores which was headquartered out of Chicago and started in SW IA.