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The Chillicothe Voice

Molly Crusen Bishop—Hometown Proud

Oct 29, 2022 04:49PM ● By Alex Germanis
There was a time not all that long ago when it was common for someone to spend their entire life in and near their hometown. While the world since those days has certainly opened up for affordable travel and exploration, finding pride in and learning more about one’s hometown has an appeal that some are just starting to rediscover.
Molly Crusen Bishop, Facilitator of the Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce, has lived her entire life in Peoria County and has loved calling this little section of the Midwest her home. Like any wonderful inherited heirloom, her love has a family history.
“I grew up on Peoria’s West Bluff in the home my great-grandparents from Ireland built in 1885,” Molly recalls. “I love Central Illinois, especially our 9,000-acre beautiful park system—one of the largest in the Midwest. My extended family were all here, and now my grandkids live here, so we plan to stay.”
Staying in Peoria is something Molly not only encourages, but she also wrote the guide on how to enjoy doing it. Molly is the author of 100 Things to Do in Peoria Before You Die, a fun and educational exploration directory outlining all the hidden-in-plain-sight things for both families and individuals to enjoy.
“We are a metropolitan city with a small-town feeling,” Molly states. “We have culture, diversity, and lots of events and activities to do. I love hiking at many of our trails, with Forest Park Nature Center being my absolute favorite. I love the older parts of Peoria, especially places like One World, and things in our downtown area such as axe throwing, rock wall climbing, our Peoria Riverfront Museum, and all the local restaurants. You don’t really have to look too hard, but hopefully my book will be a great boost to exploring all Peoria has to offer.”
The self-described “Ambassador for the City of Peoria and the surrounding areas,” Molly believes focusing on your hometown, even by simply celebrating and participating in the myriad places and events it provides, is a step toward working on improving it. Discovering a personal pride in your home develops the innate desire to make your home even better.
For Molly, that pride in Peoria was more difficult to rein back than to find in the first place. “My original list for the book was well over 300 strong,” she shares. “And it didn’t take me too long to come up with.”
“My parents instilled the philosophy to bloom where you are planted, which led to my love and passion for small and local business and supporting all these entities in my communities. I hope that people buy the book to give to friends and family visiting,” she encourages, “and pick up a copy for themselves to ‘rediscover’ some of the ‘100 things to Do in Peoria’ again.”
“I love Peoria,” Molly declares. “I plan to bloom where I was planted, and I encourage others to do the same.”

Molly’s book is available locally for purchase at Stems by Allison, Picket Fence, Little Shop of Hoarders, Geiger’s and many Peoria locations.