Grandview Drive is the only linear park on the National Register of Historic Places. Teddy Roosevelt pronounced it “the world’s most beautiful drive.” That phrase was written in stone when the local radio station was inspired to adapt it to their call letters, WMBD Radio. The station is still at the top of its market in Peoria, Illinois.
The Peoria Park District oversees the river-view side of the drive as open park land with tranquil wayside stops and incredible views. We spent thirty minutes on a comfortable curved iron bench imbibing the view and refreshing breeze.
A sidewalk stroll took us to other views and gave us time to enjoy the lovely homes on the opposite side of the street. My husband and I discussed the architecture, guessed at the styles, and noted landscaping we liked. Everyone has their favorite fantasy house on Grandview; currently I favor the creamy-gray French Cottage with an inviting cobblestone drive flanked by topiary trees. The drive ushers the visitor right up to the front door. I find it very inviting and homey.
One of the park signs at an over-look tells us that the river and carved bluffs were formed by ice age flow. At one time, the river was part of the Mississippi. But after the Chicago glacier melted and broke through a natural dam, the massive flow of water shifted the Mississippi to the west and formed what we now call The Illinois River. The Indians called it “fat river;” the view from the bluff looks down on the widest section of this fat river, which is now called Peoria Lake.
When the leaves turn, we plan coming back for a panoramic view with autumn color. A relaxing hour on Grandview feels like a mini vacation, close to home.