© 2020 Conn's Hospitality Group.
Our story begins in 1887 when the congressional members of the Second Presbyterian Church of Peoria elected to build a new church on the corner of Madison and Jackson Street. They contracted the renowned architect, W W. Boyington, designer of Chicago’s Water Tower, to design the new facility in the popular Richardson Romanesque Revival design of the time. By the early spring of 1889 the construction was nearing its completion when a cornerstone was placed in the southwest corner on April 30th as a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington.
The Second Presbyterian Church merged with another church to form the First Federated Church in 1937. They remained in the church until 1949, when the building was purchased by the Electra Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, with a $120,000 endowment from Ellen Donmeyer, for use as a Chapter home, and to house the Donmeyer Family Monument created by Fredrick “Fritz” Triebel.
Isaac and Ellen Donmeyer were a prominent and admired family in Peoria up to their deaths. After Isaac’s death on February 10, 1911, Ellen commissioned the Peoria-raised Triebel to create a marble and bronze memorial. She made multiple changes to the design over the remainder of her lifetime. On September 28, 1916, Ellen passed away, never seeing the completed memorial.
It wasn’t until 1928, at the final cost of $25,000, that the memorial was shipped from Italy to Peoria. The memorial was placed in the Federal Warehouse for twenty-four years before it was finally erected in the southwest vestibule of the renovated Eastern Star/ Donmeyer Temple, and the ashes of the Donmeyer family were interred on May 6, 1952.
The Eastern Star attempted to rezone the property to allow the development of a Shell Oil & Service Station in 1969. However, locals protested the demolition of the iconic building, and the rezoning request failed. The Eastern Star continued their ownership of the building until 1985, at which time the Donmeyer family’s ashes were removed and relocated.
During the next 30 years, the building housed an array of enterprises: an event and banquet venture, business offices, group tours, special events, dance, art and photography studios. The Conn Family connected with the massive stone structure in 2015, and fell head over heels for the beautiful features and its colossal scale. Their purchase of the former church happened in October 2015, and they knew it would make the ideal location for Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery and Eatery’s second location. Peoria’s new Obed & Isaac’s Restaurant and Brewhouse opened September 26, 2016 (which happened to be Ellen Donmeyer's 172nd birthday).