Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Photos and Story by TCM Ed Emmons

Pekin Park Commissioner Gary Gillis had an idea. A bike ride through Pekin that would explain some of Pekin's past and present history. Gillis did not expect the 30-35 bikers that showed up at Monday evenings ride. The bikers ranged in age from 2-85. Gillis had all the bikers meet at the Pekin Park Pavilion. Perhaps better known for being the clue master during the hiding of the disc  before the Marigold Festival, Gary Gillis has many roles.

The plan was to bike to several historical sites in Pekin, but because of the number of bikers that showed up for the event.

Left: Gary Gillis speaks to the bikers about Pekin's own Senator Everett Dirksen, describing a little bit about the Senator and his accomplishments.

Another one of Gillis's stops was the river front where the steamer Columbia has a marker marking the disaster killing more than 80 people, mostly Pekinites.

They then went to the Tazewell County Courthouse. Earlier in the day the Courthouse was rededicated by County officials. The Courthouse turned 100 years old this year.

Right: A biker views a replica of the steamer Columbia inside the Tazewell County Museum Monday evening. The Museum opened for the bikers, furnishing water and a place to rest.

 Bicycle riders look around the Tazewell County Museum Monday evening. Gillis did not say whether their would be another Pekin History Ride next year, he did say he was very pleased with the turn out this year.