Peoria (pēôr´ēə). 1 City (1990 pop. 50,618), Maricopa co., central Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix; settled 1897, inc. 1954. With the completion of the Arizona Canal in 1885, the area was settled by families from Peoria, Ill., and became an agricultural trading center. Peoria is now one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States; its population more than doubled between 1990 and 2000. It produces sheet metal, textile products, and machinery parts. The training camps of the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres baseball teams are in the city.
2 City (1990 pop. 113,504), seat of Peoria co., central Ill., on Lake Peoria and the Illinois River; inc. as a city 1845. A busy port of entry, it is one of the state's oldest settlements and a regional trade and transportation point; grain, livestock, and coal from the area are marketed, processed, and shipped in Peoria. It has commercial printing and factories that produce metal products, machinery, iron and steel, transportation and medical equipment, construction materials, and chemicals. Although it is an industrial city, Peoria is known for its scenic beauty and its many recreational activities associated with Lakeview Park, which also contains a planetarium, community theater, and arts and sciences center. La Salle established Fort Creve Coeur in the region in 1680, and the spot later became a French trading post. The area was known as Fort Clark after 1813; the first permanent American settlement was established in 1819. The Univ. of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, Bradley Univ., and a U.S. Dept. of Agriculture research laboratory are in the city. Nearby are a state park and Metamora courthouse (1845; now a state memorial).