Spirit of the Past Antiques Web Store & Blog

Opened in 2011, the Spirit of the Past Antiques was a 4000 square foot antique mall located in Pekin, IL with 30+ dealers. This was their website for their online store. The store was the culmination of owners, Dan and Debi Bruns, shared interests in antiques and history. As of August 2013 Spirit of the Past had now closed its physical location. The site's domain expired a while later and the website disappeared from the internet

Recently I discovered that the domain was available, so I bought it with the goal of recreating as much of its original content as possible from archived pages. I did not want someone else to purchase the domain and re-purpose the site for something that had nothing in common with the original Spirit of the Past Antique website.

The first time I visited Spirit of the Past Antiques I was in Pekin attending a wedding. I had been in Chicago as part of a team that was doing some custom software development for a company in finance with higher-than-usual security and privacy concerns. The progressive software company I'm an employee for supports every aspect of custom software in a product's development life cycle, starting from feasibility analysis, user experience design, and prototyping, to the development of scalable solutions. Our data team goes beyond everyday reporting. We discover, segment, and deliver potentially game-changing insights for our clients. After our work was satisfactorally completed I flew to Peoria and then drove to Pekins. As I was driving into town I saw the mall where the Spirit of the Past Antiques was located. After the wedding festivities were over, my cousin took me to the store since he knew I loved all things antique.

Since the site will not be exactly as you remember it, please be indulgent.
Now let's take a nostalgic stroll back to 2011


Step into the past at Spirit of the Past Antiques!

Circa 2011


Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old, but of the natural. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

When we were kids we used to collect soda bottles and when we had enough we would turn them in at the General Store for 2 cents each and buy another soda to be shared amongst us. It kept us busy. Bottles. Back then they would be washed and used again. Those were real silver dimes we received for five empty bottles; there was a musical ring when they would spin on the store counter. The General Store had a Coke machine, the kind you open a lid and pull the soda along a metal track until it releases into your grasp, always completely chilled and perfectly wet in your hand. The store had wooden counters and ceiling fans.

Remember the smells? The hot, humid summer air, and always something A Picture of our Storesweet, probably from the candy bins. We bought our jelly beans from glass apothecary jars, and put them in paper sacks. We rode our "Schwinn" bike everywhere. There were signs on Main Street, for the service station, the cafe, the hardware store, all those places are gone now. So is the old man we always saw on Main Street, he with the derby hat that looked out of place even then. And always with his cane, so ornamental. We wonder where the rocker he would sit on in front of the barbershop is now?

There was no such thing as fast food, and when we traveled in the car with the family we seldom saw two towns that looked alike. We had toys, marbles, the girls had dolls. And Mom had special china, and silverware that she would save for when guests came for dinner. And we had an attic filled with Grampas things, older still. We would sneak up there when it wasn't too hot and just look at it all, and then carefully put it all back. Sometimes the good memories come back, they come back when we see a little piece of our past. They are so very welcome.

A few things from our past are still alive, waiting to be reclaimed. Something to hold, to feel, they help us recall the days when the skies seemed to be just a little more blue, smiles were common, and we were a part of it all.

Today they are called antiques. And if you admire them, as Emerson said, it is an admiration of the natural. "Spirit of the Past Antiques" an antique mall located at 215 North 5th Street (Hwy 29) in Pekin, Illinois 61554.

We hope to bring a bit of the Spirit of the Past to those who enter our door.

Our hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am until 7:00pm and Sunday, Noon til 5:00 pm. 

Please note that Spirit of the Past Antiques closed its doors in 2013, but their philosophy and spirit still lives on.




Peoria, Bloomington and Springfield Antique Shopping

Hello!  My name is Dan Bruns. My wife, Debi and I own "Spirit of the Past Antiques" in Pekin, Illinois. I'm writing this entry in our blog because we've begun Facebook ads in surrounding cities. You may already have heard of us. Or, you may have already read much about us on our website. If you've just recently learned of our store, I invite you to have a look at our web store for a little preview of the thousands of items…

2012 Posts


The "Spirit of the Past Antiques" Web Site and Web Store are up!

Submitted by Spirit on Thu, 04/19/2012 - 23:11

Hi everyone! Since you've found our blog you've no doubt encountered our new web site! Welcome!  This site is the result of much hard work and effort, credit coming soon to the people who created it! (Thanks Matt..I'll get the name of your business on here just as soon as I remember how to spell it.  And, thanks Debi, especially for your patience as I often asked, "When will it be ready!?!?" I myself (Dan) had nothing to do with the design..I'm not an expert in web design.



Submitted by Spirit on Mon, 04/23/2012 - 19:29

Since our Facebook page has grown so quickly, I'm sure that many folks are finding their way to the "Spirit of the Past Antiques" website and store!

You'll find much information on the site. You are probably wondering where all the products are! We just opened the web store recently and we have many products to display. We're posting them as quick as we can. Please put us on your favorites and check back often and you'll find more and more items for sale!


Finding Peoria antique shoppers!

Submitted by Spirit on Tue, 04/24/2012 - 18:59

We're seeing good traffic from recent advertisements in the "Peoria Journal Star". A few weeks ago, we launched our, "Antique in Pekin" campaign. A large poster detailing locations of many fine shops in Pekin hangs on our wall near the front door. We hand out maps to more area shopping. In kind, our friends at other stores in town do the same.

An interesting note.  Some Pekin residents are taking the maps themselves, re-discovering the small shops!


As Our Web Store Grows

Submitted by Spirit on Sun, 05/06/2012 - 23:09

It was the early 1970's and I was with my friend Steve, we were about twelve. Steve lived in town, and his parents owned a farm which had been in the family since the 1800's.  They rented the farm out, but had occasion from time to time to visit the place. This particular time, Steve had invited me to ride along.


Thanks everyone for the great compliments we've been getting!

Submitted by Spirit on Wed, 05/09/2012 - 16:14

Many shoppers have commented on the new web site and web store! nterest seems high. I'm (Dan) getting a big kick out of how many people are coming into the store looking for something they've seen on the web.

We're getting as many items posted as fast as we can. One thing we hadn't counted on, is how many we have to take down so fast!  Not a bad problem to have.


Dramatically Decreasing Prices!

Submitted by Spirit on Thu, 05/10/2012 - 09:41

For our walk-in customers, we've created a new special! Debi and I have selected 29 items including an antique, oak, high back bed. Other items:

Spinning wheel. hest on Chest dresser.  Many things, stuff which won't appear on the web store.

And, we are offering "Dramatically Decreasing Prices!" That is, every day they don't sell the price is reduced $1.00, starting today!


New to "Spirit", a neat collection of Chicago World's fair (1933-34) ephemera

Submitted by Spirit on Tue, 05/22/2012 - 09:55

As our store matures, we're finding an ever increasing variety of wonderful antique and vintage items are calling "Spirit" their temporary home. Many dealers have recently restocked and items are too numerous to mention them all.

Debi and I have stepped up our efforts to: "Seek the unusual and unique!"


New Products Available in the Store!

Submitted by Spirit on Fri, 05/25/2012 - 22:17

"Spirit" is excited to announce that "Military Uniform Supply" has doubled their display space! Shoppers will have twice the opportunity to discover hard to find collectibles ranging from the Civil War to the Vietnam War!


Welcome, to "Spirit of the Past Antiques"!

Submitted by Spirit on Sun, 05/27/2012 - 15:28

You drive up the store, you might have had a little trouble finding us.  We may be near Hwy's 29 and 9, but we are hidden at the back of the building we share.  You saw our door and the one little window next to it, this place must be pretty small, you thought.


Today Marked One Year...

Submitted by Spirit on Sun, 07/11/2012

...since we opened "Spirit of the Past Antiques"!

Looking back, we were about half full of products. We had around ten dealers.  We had an unproven layout which included many shelving units, something unfamiliar to dealers and customers alike.  Most folks were used to booth upon booth, and perhaps locking display cases. It wasn't easy to convince dealers to try a shelf unit.


Summer 2013 Posts


Spirit of the Past Antiques

June 18, 2013

More and more vendors are starting sales to clear their inventory before the store closes. Vendor #1 is at 50%. Vendor #4 BOOTH is at 75% except for furniture. Come in, take a look around.


Spirit of the Past Antiques

July 13, 2013

The first consignment of the remainder of Spirit of the Past Antiques inventory will go up for auction on Sunday July 14th at Dentino Auction Service 282 Derby St Pekin, IL at 1:00 pm. (Located in the rear of Derby Street Antiques and General Store) This auction contains a large portion of our remaining inventory as well as that of one of our largest vendors.


Spirit of the Past Antiques

July 29, 2013

The second consignment of the remainder of Spirit of the Past Antiques inventory goes up for auction tonight at Dentino Auction Service 282 Derby St Pekin, IL at 5:30 pm. Two of our largest vendors also have consignments in this auction. I previewed the auction the other day and there's a LOT of neat stuff including some toys, furniture, display pieces and theater seats.


Spirit of the Past Antiques

August 3, 2013

Last week a message I posted was deleted from the timeline. If you managed to see it before it was gone just disregard. Spirit of the Past has now closed its physical location. This was a decision I agonized over for quite some time but was made necessary for multiple reasons. I want to thank all our loyal customers who made running the store such a pleasure. I feel very blessed to have met so many wonderful people during my time there. I also want to thank my father, my daughter Jaime, her boyfriend Aaron and my friend Teresa for all their help these last few months. I also want to thank my friend Leo without whose help I'd have never completed such a daunting task! Once the dust settles and life gets back to normal watch for me on eBay and Etsy.