Norm Kelly Stories

Local History:

Norm Kelly, a Peoria local historian has produced a series of local stories about people, events, and places in Peoria's past. The following material is derived from Norm Kelly's descriptions of the Larson Barbershop shootings of November 15, 1933.

Larson's Barbershop Shootings

Shot two days earlier by Russell Hughes in Larson's Barber Shop, Peoria Detective Sergeant Robert Moran died on Wednesday, November 15, 1933.

Even after seventy-eight years, a great deal of information is available about the event, the day, and the circumstances. Larson's, at the corner of Western Avenue and Adams Street, is gone; what may have been the original building is concealed behind a more modern facade. The Moran house at 1859 West Lincoln Avenue no longer stands, although homes across the street still reflect the character of he neighborhood.

Nevertheless, information about the day and the event are still available despite the fact that some information conflicts. See the name of Detective Sergeant Moran's killer in the Peoria Police Department History linked below, for example. From information in other sources listed below, explain the discrepancy and find further information about the event in the context of its day.

Look up Detective Sergeant  Moran in City Directories. Had he always lived in Peoria? Had he always lived on Lincoln Avenue? How long had he lived here?

Did his wife stay at that address after his death? Did he have a family?

Has he been memorialized by the Peoria Police Department? How long after Detective Sergeant Moran's death did the next Peoria Police officer die in the line of duty? Where is Detective Sergeant Moran buried?

Who were the criminals who were involved? Why were they in Peoria? What else had these criminals done? What later became of them?

Are any of Detective Sergeant Moran's descendants still here in Peoria? Where? What was being advertised in the Peoria papers that week for Thanksgiving? What large event had just ended in Chicago after a summer run?

What were the national news stories of the day? Were other crime stories and events related to this one?Who was John Dillinger? Where was he active? How is his activity related to that of anyone else in the larger Robert E. Moran story?

Who were the "College Kidnappers"? Who were Leopold and Loeb? What well remembered crime had they done in Chicago nine years earlier?

What was the weather like in Peoria on November 15, 1933? What other stories were in the local news? 

What was Detective Sergeant Moran's middle name from his initial "E"?

How and when would the people of Peoria have learned of the shooting of Detective Sergeant Moran? What was the reaction to it in the community?

Who was Rev. Sammon (possibly Salmon)?

For each of the sites listed below, apply the criteria for the evaluation of sources provided in the Library of Congress Analysis of Primary Sources. Pay attention to The Time and Place RuleThe Bias Rule, and answer the seven Questions for Analyzing Primary Sources for each source.

Sergeant Moran's Neighborhood