Historic Knoxville Avenue Mansion Slated for Demolition

Feb 11, 2020

The historic Victorian mansion at the foot of Knoxville Avenue is set for demolition next month.

The former Koinonia House, 1509 N. Knoxville, sustained heavy smoke damage in a July 2019 fire spurred by unattended food on a stove. At the time, fire department officials estimated damage costs at $125,000, but owner Chris Petruzzi tells WCBU his insurance company's estimate is $580,000.

He said it doesn't make sense to invest that much money to repair the old house. He said he plans to demolish it, sell the land, and get out of Peoria real estate.

Petruzzi started up Koinonia House in 2013 as a home for Christian singles. Petruzzi said he's followed up with the house's 10 former residents as they've looked for new places to live. 

The former Koinonia House at 1509 N. Knoxville Ave. in 1894.
Credit Courtesy of the Peoria Public Library Local History Collection

The mansion was built in 1894 for Peoria businessman Peter Spurck. The 9,000 square-foot home was designed by architect Warren H. Milner, who later moved on to create notable buildings in Seattle and Vancouver, Canada. In the 1980s, Peoria's Junior League partnered with the city's three major hospitals in to restore the mansion and start up Family House, which provides temporary housing for families with a loved one in the hospital. Family House later moved to a new location on E. Nebraska. 

The Peoria Community Development Department said the demolition is slated for March 4. The mansion doesn't lie within a Historic Preservation District.

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