It Didn't Play in Peoria: Missed Chances of a Middle American Town by Greg Wahl, Charles Bobbitt
“Will it play in Peoria?” was an old Vaudeville phrase meaning, “Will it appeal to the average person?” The Illinois city has gained fame through the years, but more often as the butt of jokes or as an example of the typical Middle American town than through any recognition of its many accomplishments. But it had greatness in its grasp, and more than once. Peoria boasts a string of close brushes with prosperity, any one of which could have made it a Chicago or a St. Louis. Charles Lindbergh, for example, first approached Peoria for backing for his historic flight, but the town’s moneymen refused him and his Spirit of Peoria, perhaps losing a chance at the airline industry as well.
It Didn’t Play in Peoria explores the city’s history from this unique perspective of missed chances, lost causes, and plain bad lucka cautionary tale of Middle America. Authors Greg Wahl and Charles Bobbitt are long-time Peoria residents who love their city and treat its sore spots with a gentle touch.
Table of Contents
1 Will it Play at 40° Latitude, 89° Longitude? 13
The Southern Cross and Old, Old Man River
Chicago, Who's Your Daddy?
2 Grave Robbing Didn't Play in Peoria 18
Nulla Dies Sine Linea
3 Lost Ivy 27
A Very Normal Spy Story
Are You Nuts?
4 Passin' Through 37
Slim and None
Abe Stepped Here
A Sunday Buffett
The Center of a Doughnut Empire Goes Up in Smoke
5 When Law and Order Didn't Play in Peoria
Mayor Woodruff and the Friendly Crime Fines
The Shelton Gang: If We Did It, This is How We Did It
6 Crime Didn't Play in Peoria 60
"No-Name" Maddox, Food Critic
Hinckley's Hick Town
7 "Those" Ships Aren't Welcome in Peoria 101
Build a Dock, and They Will Come
8 The Didn't Stay in Peoria ... But One Came Back 106