Pekin Automotive Dealers… A walk down memory lane

After we released the George Beres interview, I made a comment to Jared Olar from the Pekin Library asking for help.  I have known Jared to be a local history buff from his time at the Pekin Times and his posts while working at the Library. I thought, “Hey, he might dig up a pic that I can use”.  Well, he dug up a bunch, and in typical Jared fashion, included lots of info. I am going to post these pictures from the Facebook post here with his comments for posterity.  They are too good to be gone in the blink of a social media post.

Jared says that most of these photos are from the 1949 Pekin Centenary and the 1998 “Pekin: A Pictorial History”.  They are in the Pekin Public Library in the Local History Room.  (Which he is proud to oversee!)

All the quotes to the photos below are from Jared.  Thank you sir!!!

“Not the greatest photo, but you can see a bit of the old Beres Used Cars dealership on Second Street in this Ralph Goodwin photo from 1966. Beres was in business from 1953 to 1984, moving out to Auto Row in 1978. As you know, originally it was a Packard dealership, then Studebaker was added in 1954, then when the Packard was discontinued in 1958, Beres became a Mercedes-Benz dealership.”

“Not a car dealership, but this 1928 photo shows Marion Nieukirk, co-owner of Guarantee Garage at 223-225 Elizabeth St.”

“We’ve got three photos of the O. L. Cottingham & Son dealership which operated at 420 Elizabeth St., selling Ford, Stutz, Peoria-built Glides, Apperson, and Dixie Flyer, and finally became a Chevy dealership.”

“Weghorst Nash at Broadway and South Third sold the Nash. This photo is from about 1951”

“Hymbaugh Motor Sales opened in 1946 at 900 S. Second St., then a few years later opened a second location at 501 S. Second. Here’s a photo of the 501 S. Second location”

“Bristow Motor Company was originally a dealership owned by James and Gerald Conaghan at Court and Sixth streets, but in 1934 the Conaghans sold it to L. R. Bristow and V. A. Grandia, who built a new dealership at 710-716 Court Street in 1936. The old Bristow Motors building is still there, just up the street from St. Joseph’s Church — it was a Meineke for a while, about three decades ago I think.”

E. Arterberry’s Arterberry Motor Sales at 1300-6 Court St. used to be the place to go to buy a De Soto or a Plymouth. We’ve got a couple photos of Arterberry Motor Sales, first from 1939 and then from the late 1940s.

“Finally, we have a couple photos of Court Motors, located at Capitol and Margaret, operated by Tom O. Cassidy. Court Motors sold Plymouths and Dodges. First, the sales side on Capitol Street”


Seeing these pictures after talking to George the other day really bring the mood of the show into perspective.  What a departure from what we see in the marketplace today!


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  1. Thanks for putting this together. My Dad, an auto mechanic is entire life, worked for many of these establishments. I specifically remember him work for Jack Hymbaugh and George Beres.

    1. It was our pleasure! We had a great time with the George Beres interview and were thrilled to share these pictures. Glad you enjoyed as well!

  2. When I lived in Pekin (15 years ago), the one on Court Street (Bristow Motor Company) was a muffler shop. Before that, when I was a kid growing up (my grandparents used to go to Pekin from Kingston Mines every weekend to get groceries), I remember it being a car dealership, but I don’t believe it was open. This would have been from 1972 through 1987 or so.

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