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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Extra, extra, read all about it! Pantagraph’s graduation edition, May 1949

Danvers High School seniors are seen here pouring though The Daily Pantagraph’s 56-page graduation edition of May 18, 1949. The Pantagraph distributed complimentary copies to some 2,370 senior from 77 Central Illinois high schools.

These seniors delayed their “skip day” to Starved Rock State Park to get a look at the class photographs.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Eugene Field School Reading Class, October 1949

Eugene Field teacher Kathryn Carnahan leads a crowded classroom of 40 first graders in this October 1949 scene. Opened in 1936, Eugene Field in Normal closed as an elementary school in 2005, and today the 81-year-old building serves as the Vocational Training Center for McLean County Unit District No. 5.

Who’s a Eugene Field alum or had children that attended this neighborhood school?

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Written by Bill Kemp in

BHS Student Lounge May 1948

Bloomington High School students Wanda Rust (right) and Margaret Schlemmer work on murals in the newly opened student lounge, a repurposed second floor classroom. At this time the high school was located on the 500 block of East Washington Street. The current high school opened in 1959.

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Written by Bill Kemp in

Artist and Author Visit Bloomington May 1948

Artist Bob Hooton (left) and writer Dan Wickenden, both fresh from an extended stay in the Central American nation of Guatemala, arrived in Bloomington in mid-May 1948. Hooton, the son of Bloomington architect Phillip Hooton, intended to stay in the Twin Cities for the summer. Wickenden planned to return to his home in Connecticut. Two years later, the dust jacket cover of Wickenden’s novel “The Dry Season” would feature a Hooton painting.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

The Great Levant, February 1950 Pianist performs in Bloomington

Oscar Levant (right), the famed American pianist, composer, and actor, performed with the Bloomington-Normal Symphony on two consecutive nights, February 23 and 24, 1950, at the Scottish Rite Temple (now the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts).

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Written by Bill Kemp in
Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Route 66 Hit-and-Run Towanda, May 1948

In the early morning hours of May 19, 1948, a hit-and-run truck driver knocked down two gasoline pumps at D.E. Henderson’s service station in Towanda. Fortunately no one was hurt.

Who remembers when gas pumps looked like this?

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Normal Fire Department New pumper, May 1968

Fire Inspector Charles Smalley (left) and Fire Chief Victor “Spud” Sylvester, Jr. take a close look at the controls of Normal’s new 1,000-gallon-per-minute pumper truck. It cost $23,000 at the time, which would be more than $162,000 in today’s dollars, adjusted for inflation.

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Written by Bill Kemp in

Franklin Park’s new evergreens April 1958

In the spring of 1958, the Bloomington-Normal Garden Club planted a series of evergreens at Franklin Park, the city’s oldest green space. Seen here is Joyce Lynn Hall, an Illinois Wesleyan University student, admiring three Pfitzer junipers and a vertical yew recently set in the concrete planter at the park’s center.

Note the city bus heading west on Walnut Street in the background.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Free range … no more! City Hall booking, March 30, 1958

Bloomington Police officer Robert Shepherd (left) books a startled hen on accessory charges. That’s officer John Hauptman keeping the prisoner from flying the coop. She was picked up when officers arrested a man they found trying to stuff her in a paper bag.

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