Molly grew up in Peoria’s historic West Bluff. The humble blue house she called ‘home’ was built in 1885 by her great grandparents, Patrick and Ellen McGowan Needham, who were poor Irish immigrants. They left County Leitrim, Ireland, in the late 1860s seeking job opportunities in the United States, and settled in Peoria, Illinois. Patrick worked for the Rock Island Railroad as a clerk, and Ellen was said to have walked all over the West Bluff raising funds to help build Saint Mark’s Church. Molly was the fourth generation to be raised in this home, which is still standing on Barker Avenue. Growing up in a historic district, and surrounded by beautiful mansions and darling cottages, Molly developed a passion for history and an appreciation for historic architecture. This also shaped her love for researching and discovering the stories of our ancestors, and becoming a story teller for these “Tales from the Whiskey City.”

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