Luthy Botanical Gardens, a small oasis in the heart of Peoria

It was a birthday celebration for my friend Janna that brought Mom, Janna and I to Peoria. We came to dine at the Obed & Issac’s Microbrewery and Eatery that is located in the beautiful former Second Presbyterian Church.  In Springfield Obed & Isaac’s has a successful restaurant in a historic property near the Abraham Lincoln home.  Their reputation and great food was a draw for Janna’s luncheon.  The church was built in 1887 and designed by W.W Boylington, the designer of Chicago’s Water Tower.  When you see the lovely stone design in the Richardson Romanesque Revival style, its easy to make the connection.  The church merged with the Federated Church in 1937 and together they remained as a church until 1949 when the building became the home to the Electra Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. The building also housed the Donmeyer Family Monument.

Until 1985 the building remained in the hands of the Order of the Eastern Star, it became several other things over the years, then in October of 2015, Obed & Issac’s bought the property and opened on September of 2016.  I had never been to the new site and was excited so we set out early and found ourselves in town an hour before the restaurant opened.  Searching for things to do, we discovered the lovely Luthy Botanical Gardens! The garden is named after George Littlewood Luthy, who was president of Peoria’s Commercial National Bank (now part of Commerce Bank) and of the Peoria Park District, which owns the garden. There is a plaque in the garden honoring the man that the property is named after.

Located in Glen Oak Park we were impressed by the lovely setting. The park also includes a zoo, several playgrounds and a children’s museum so this would be a perfect place to bring children and grand children.  Luthy Park itself is set on five acres and was established in 1951 The garden has a maze of trails that encompass an Herb Garden, a Woodland Garden, a Rose Garden and a Hosta Glade and these are just a few of the themed gardens.  We loved the fact that there are benches and sculptures also interspersed throughout.

We visited a few of the greenhouses, but somehow missed the Garden Gift Shop.  On their website they share that the shop “offers a variety of gardening books, accessories and tools, garden-related gifts, unique jewelry and collectibles.”

There are also floral shows that include a Spring Show, Orchid Show, Chrysanthemum Show and Poinsettia Show. The walk through the garden was a great time for taking pictures, strolling away our hour in an amazing setting and letting nature reduce stress and allow the flow of conversation.

The entire Glen Oak Park was lovely and I’d like to go back.  The Luthy Botanical Garden was surley an oasis in the heart of Peoria! Log onto for more information about this lovely place.

Oh, and by the way, Obed & Isaac’s new restaurant offered wonderful food, and it was in such a lovely setting it was hard not to look up and all around, so we did!  I am so pleased they preserved this property in such a way that the public can enjoy.  Bon apetit!

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  1. Kaylene

    Beautiful! I always love visiting botanical gardens and parks when I travel. So I’ll definitely have to put this on my list if I’m ever in the area!

  2. Dannielle

    So much natural beauty! Looks like a lovely, tranquil place to spend a day.

  3. Christina

    Glen Oak Park sounds like a lovely place to visit with many family friendly activities. Luthy Botanical Gardens alone with it’s size sounds like one could easily spend a few hours just exploring all it has to offer. I would probably spend the most time in the Rose garden.

  4. Erin

    A brewery in a church? How cool! The building looks beautiful, too. It sounds like you had a lovely time exploring the botanical garden, too. I could see myself spending a couple hours there to see the rose and hosta gardens.

  5. melody pittman

    nice. Looks like a pretty and wholesome place to see. I notice that Peoria tourism is at a lot of travel conferences but I’ve never seen a post with stuff to do from there. Thanks for taking care of that for me.

    1. Cindy

      Lots of cool things to see and do in Peoria!