After eating only one breakfast, Dan heads out of Union Station into the busy
Peoria morning. The streets are packed with wagons and horses and
bicycles and people on this crisp autumn day. The scents of coal fire, corn
mash, manure and humanity greet him as he begins the trudge back to the
boardroom where he’s looking forward to a few hours of sleep. Most of the
other lodgers are off to their jobs (or the lucky few enrolled at Brown’s
Business College) so it should be mostly quiet, even though the city is
anything but at this hour.
When Dan first came to Peoria, he stayed at the YMCA for a few weeks. It
was nice to be around other guys his age and he’d never been in a swimming
pool before. But soon he tired of it and, after saving a little money,
moved into the Hosler House just a couple of blocks down on Jefferson
Avenue. It was about ten blocks away from Union Station and another five or
six to the Great Western Distillery, which made for a nice walk after a long
night (and a big breakfast).
Dan was in no hurry this morning as he wandered his way home. When he
left Union Station he headed up Washington Avenue, where all kinds of
businesses could be found packed side-by-side. There was Spencer’s Military
Band and Orchestra; Vonachen’s Saloon; Zimmerman’s Saloon (where they
sold a beer called “Pabst”); Kingman & Co. Bicycles, curiously located right
next to Martin & Co. Bicycles; and the Peoria Cracker & Confectionary Co.,
just to name a few.
When he reached Main Street, he took a left and, now with the river to his
back, began encountering book sellers and stationers, one right after the
other: Jacquin-Oden, Wiley & Drake, Cramer, Tripp and Daenicke. After he
passed the courthouse, he turned right onto Jefferson (with the massive
edifice of the YMCA before him), and walked two more blocks until that
familiar building with “Hosler” on the side was before him.
As he entered the building, he saw Mr. and Mrs. Hosler busily cleaning away
in the front hallway. They were adamant that their boarding house be as
clean as possible (one of the main reasons Dan liked it so much) and they
made each resident sign a code of conduct stating they wouldn’t “fight,
cuss, drink or abuse the animals” (there were several cats about).
“Good morning, Dan!”
said Mr. Hosler.
“Good morning, sir. Good morning, ma’am.”
“Dan, I left some breakfast up in your room,”
said Mrs. Hosler.
“I thought you
might be hungry after a long night at work.”
“I am, ma’am,”
said Dan, who realized he was still hungry.
He climbed the stairs to his room, looking forward to his (second) breakfast
and a long day’s sleep ahead.