In the From the Local History Room column published in April 23, 2016 Pekin Daily Times, we discussed the “Five Points” intersection in downtown Pekin and sought an answer to question of when the intersection first got its name.
At that time, we were able to determine that the “Five Points” name for the intersection of Court and Broadway must have been well established by 1955, because the 1955 Pekin City directory lists the nearby “Five Point Tavern” (sic) at 623 Court St.
Another interesting scrap of information has since turned that enables us to state that the terminus a quo for the origin of this designation must be well before 1930. This we know from the headline of an article on the front page of the Sept. 8, 1930 Daily Times, which says, “2 A.M. Crash Wakens 5 Pts. — Embarrassing Time for Girl.”
As will become evident, the article itself, transcribed below, really needs no further comment.
A roar of racing autos down Court street, a crash, a flash of light that illuminated the neighborhood, a water geyser that turned Broadway and Court into rivers, a heavy jar, a girl’s scream, then the cry, “Get her away from her quick!” wakened the Five Points neighborhood at 2 a. m. on yesterday’s stilly Sabbath morning.
No circus ballyhoo ever was more successful in getting a crowd. The community turned out en masse and in pajamas – and even in pajamas they had more on than one of the girls in the wreck.
The race had started somewhere up Court street. The Chrysler was a car length and a half in the lead when the two cars reached Five Points and the speed the Chrysler and Nash were going was so great that the wonder if that all in the crashing car were not killed.
James McKinney, driver of the Nash, says that the disaster was caused by a small car — maybe a light Buick — with a rumble seat cutting across on Seventh street. Whatever the cause, the Nash got out of control a few yards before Five Points was reached and jumped the south curb. As the car jumped the curb it hit an ornamental light pole. So fierce was the impact that the top of the pole flipped down and crushed in the back end of the Nash.
Bolt of Light Makes Day of Night
As the light pole was broken off a bolt of light struck like a bolt of lightning from the sky. In its path the Nash also hit a fire hydrant, snapping it off and letting a geyser 10 to 15 feet high spout into the air full force, sending rivers of water down both streets and endangering the lives of all as the high wire charged the flowing water.
The Nash, undaunted, went on across Seventh and jumped the curb at the west side of Seventh. It missed a tree by inches and finally came to a halt when it plunged headfirst into St. Joseph’s Catholic church which today bears the scars of the impact. When the car came to a stop it was a sorry sight, with three tires flat and the other one no good.
Girl Is Thrown Out of Car
The most dramatic moment of the wild ride came when one of the girls was thrown from the car as it hurdled the curb. She was dazed by the fall. Persons at the scene were amazed at the girl’s garb, but she was quickly carried around to the side of the church. The Chrysler driver promptly stopped and came back and the girls, Lucille Davis, of 1216 Center street, and Janey Starr, of 1006 Bacon street, and Fred Johns of the city and Sam Ward of Peoria, all left the scene at once. Lucille was treated at the hospital for bruises about the body and leg and arm. McKinney stayed with the car and had it towed to a garage while others went to notify police to have the water shut off and the dangerous wire cared for.
Learn more about Pekin and Tazewell County history, read past columns, view slideshows and photo galleries, post comments and suggestions, and keep up to date on the Pekin Public Library’s Local History Room collection at https://fromthehistoryroom.wordpress.com/