Peru was organized as a borough in 1838 and officially incorporated as a city on March 13, 1851. Thirteen years later, a home was built at 625 Peoria St., in what is now Peru's historic district.
It's rumored that Theron D. Brewster, a leading citizen of Peru, served as its first mayor in 1851 and built the Peoria Street home in 1864.
The now-updated home is still historically charming. Owner Celine Kossant, who is selling the property, said her neighborhood is noted for friendly residents who know a lot about the houses in the historic district.
“When I'm out in my yard working in my garden, often a couple of my neighbors might stop by to chat,” Kossant said. “I've been told, but it's not verified, that my home was built by Brewster, a builder of many homes significant to Peru's development in those early days. I've made improvements to the home, keeping its history in mind.”
Improvements and updates include a newer kitchen with Kraft-maid soft close cabinetry, stainless steel appliances (except for the refrigerator), a center island, a walk-in pantry and modern lighting with dimmers. The main-level master bedroom and bath have vinyl plank flooring; all other rooms on the main floor are laminate.
Even with these updates, this home has not lost any of its bygone charm and still retains some of its original pieces. For example, the entryway's closet door dates to when the home was first built.
Kossant has lived in the three-bedroom, two-bath home for 21 years, and everything she has done creates warmth and added comfort.
One of the second-level bedrooms includes a sitting room Kossant uses as her office. There are pull-down stairs leading to a spacious attic.
“This home is perfect for entertaining family,” Kossant said. “The space is so open, we've had parties of 40 people. The yard has a patio with a screened room that's great for relaxing or hosting a cookout.”
The backyard has a history of its own, with a burr oak tree that's over 100 years old. Kossant's gardening talents have created a yard space that offers multicolored views of several flowerbeds.
“I love gardening, and throughout the years, my flowerbeds include phlox, moonbeam coreopsis, irises, black-eyed Susans, tulips and hostas,” she said. “My goal was to create several private gardens, and I've done that. It's so relaxing to sit outside and enjoy all the color. It just feels like your own private park.”
The beauty of living in the historical district is that it's close to everything, including fireworks.
“The river is close by, Rotary Park is just a few blocks away, and it's an easy walk to City Hall,” Kossant said. “A big advantage living here on a hill is that during the winter, the street is plowed right away. And during the Fourth of July, we can sit outside in the backyard and watch fireworks.”
The house may be 155 years old, but it has modern amenities like a detached two-car garage, main-floor laundry, living-room surround system, thermal windows and gutters with gutter guards. With all the features this home has to offer, the new owner will have a home warranty for peace of mind.
The best part of living in the home?
“It's a wonderful, charming neighborhood,” Kossant said. “It's been a great place to raise my family. The neighbors are all friendly and everything in Peru is close by. We're very close to (Route) 251 and the downtown area.”
Her advice to the new homeowners?
“That's an easy question,” she laughed. “Make this home your own. Don't let the age of my home scare you off. I love this house, and I hope that the new owners will enjoy it as much as I have.”
• THE THREE -BEDROOM STUCCO HOME at 625 Peoria St., Peru, is priced at $149,000. The home is listed by agent Dee Barrera, of Starved Rock Realty. For more information, call 815-667-9990 or agent's cellphone at 815-252-9696.