A Publication of WTVP

We begin the New Year with a look back at central Illinois history. As we worked on this issue, one thing in particular stood out to me—all of the loose threads that weave these stories together. For example, I had known that Murray Baker was largely responsible for bringing Caterpillar to Peoria, but little did I know that he played the same role in bringing R.G. LeTourneau’s operations here as well! This places Baker at the heart of two pivotal moments in Peoria’s manufacturing history. He also helped organize the Peoria Association of Commerce, forerunner of today’s Chamber. Peoria would be quite a different place without Mr. Baker! This made me think of “six degrees of separation”—the idea that everyone in the world can be connected to everyone else in six or fewer steps. In that spirit, we were able to map connections to most of the historical articles in this issue: