Constructed in 1840, this historic home was built for prominent Peoria citizen, Jacob Gale. The property is one of the oldest homes in Peoria and was constructed only a few years after the town was first surveyed and the future town was laid out with roads and a future downtown area. Gale worked in private business as well as a lawyer, served on the city council, and also became one of the town's first mayors. He also served as the school superintendent and as the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Circuit Judge.
The Judge Jacob Gale House features the Greek Revival design of construction and served as the residence for Judge Jacob Gale. The home was completed in either 1839 or 1840, a mere five years after Peoria was surveyed allowing for city planning and the layout of the community's first streets. Jacob Gale contributed to Peoria's growth as a businessperson as well as an attorney and later judge. He was also a civil servant who was a city councilman and served two terms as mayor.
Peoria grew into a city in the decades that followed Jacob Gale's arrival from New Hampshire in 1834 at the age of twenty. Though the frontier town possessed a courthouse, jail, hotel, and a few other structures, it was during the year he arrived when city planners hired a surveyor and developed a true city plan including streets, a downtown region, and ports along the river. The city of Peoria became incorporated in 1845.
Gale first found employment at a hardware store while he studied law on the side. By 1837, he had was admitted to the bar for the State of Illinois. He proceeded to open a law office with Horace P. Johnson for nearly two years and then followed by partnering with Onslow Peters to form the firm of Peters & Gale, which lasted several years until Judge John D. Caton appointed Gale to the Clerk of the Circuit Court. The City Clerk position then became an elected seat and Gale went on to serve two more (four-year) terms. He followed that with an election win for Circuit Judge. During the years 1848-49 and then again (during the war) from 1864-65, he held the position of mayor. He also served for a time as School Superintendent and as a member of the Board of Education.
After his time in public office and civil service, he turned to the world of private business, becoming Secretary of Peoria Light, Gas, and Coke Co for almost two decades.
In short, to view Gale's historic home is to first see a home erected during Peoria's early urban history. Second, its the home of a man whose history in the town is completely interwoven into Peoria's history. He arrived before the town enjoyed roads, let alone incorporation.
Heine, Joseph and Lou Ann Spyres. "Nomination Form: Gale, Judge Jacob House." National Register of Historic Palces. nps.gov
. March 19, 1982. Digital copy located at http://gis.hpa.state.il.us/PDFs/201317.pdf.
Peoria Historical Society (Facebook). Accessed May 14, 2019. https://www.facebook.com/PeoriaHistoricalSociety/?tn-str=k*F.
"Peoria History." Peoria Journal-Star. Accessed May 15, 2019.
Portrait and Biographical Album of Peoria County, Illinois. Chicago : Biographical Pub. Co., 1890. https://archive.org/details/portraitbiographi00biog and https://books.google.com/books?id=0E40AQAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false and Transcribed by Danni Hopkins in "Jacob Gale: Portrait and Biographical Album of Peoria County (1890)."
Judge Jacob Gale House: By Mmikhailova - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21725083