The Chase Building has been an integral part of Peoria's Downtown for more than a century, serving first as a department store, then as space for banking and legal offices. The building is coming full circle as OSF HealthCare is expected to return the exterior to look again as it did in the Block & Kuhl era.
1905: First known as Schipper and Block, the building was the first steel structure in Peoria when it opened in 1905. It was seven stories high on the Adams Street side but at the bottom of Fulton, there were nine stories, due to the slope of the road. Schipper and Block had a prior location in Pekin that opened in 1879.
1914: The store’s name changed to Block & Kuhl when Theodore Kuhl took over as president. The store’s skyline eatery was an elegant affair with thick flowered carpets, indirect lighting and a menu with a wide variety of offerings. At its peak, Block & Kuhl employed 500 people throughout the year.
1929: Block & Kuhl commemorated the 50th anniversary of Schipper and Block’s store opening in central Illinois with a giant flag displayed across the side of the building. The huge banner — listed as the largest U.S. flag in Illinois — commemorated President Herbert Hoover’s plan to provide relief to the nation’s farmers.
1961: Carson Pirie Scott & Co. purchased the Block & Kuhl chain.
1975: Carson’s closed its Downtown location. For the next 40 years, a number of banks and law offices occupied the building. The most recent name of the building has been for Chase Bank.
2014: Caterpillar Inc. announced in December its purchase of the building as part of its plans to expand its Downtown campus.
2015: Chase Bank closed its doors on Oct. 23 and relocated to Jefferson Avenue on Oct. 26.
Jan. 31, 2017: Caterpillar announced that it will no longer keep its headquarters in Peoria and canceled plans to build a Downtown campus. The company moved the headquarters and its executives to Deerfield, a Chicago suburb.
Jan. 11, 2018: OSF HealthCare announces it has purchased the building from Caterpillar and will relocate 750 employees to the Downtown site. OSF plans to remodel the building inside and out and will return the building's exterior to what it looked like when it attracted wide attention as the Block & Kuhl department store.