The Murray Baker Bridge’s namesake was the star of the opening day ribbon cutting and crossing on a cold day in December 1958.

Baker had been instrumental in planning for such a bridge during World War II and had been a vice president at Peoria’s two large industrial firms: Caterpillar and Le Tourneau. Fittingly, the bridge that led to the demolition of North Washington Street was named for a businessman who, with the backing of the corporations he worked for, had put energy into reforming Peoria politically and culturally.