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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Defense Work at Firestone May 1968

a woman is pictured standing in the middle of a gigantic approx 12 foot diameter firestone tire.

Janet Froemming, receptionist at the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (now Bridgestone Tires) plant in Normal, gets a close look at a tire produced for the U.S. Army’s latest generation amphibious vehicle known as the LARC (Lighter, Amphibious Resupply, Cargo). These LARC tires were first shipped to the Army Depot in Polk, CA on May 29, 1968.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Book Lover in Seventh Heaven May 1968

Retired schoolteacher Elsa Schilling found a quiet corner of Withers Public Library hoping to find a few keepers during the 10-cent book sale, held May 25, 1968. With the opening of the present-day Bloomington Public Library on East Olive Street, this old library was torn down in 1978. Who has special memories of Withers?

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Written by Bill Kemp in

Waiting for the wrecking ball, 1971 200 block South Main Street

These buildings, located on the west side of the 200 South Main Street, were demolished in the early 1970s to make way for the McLean County Law and Justice Center complex. Who remembers stopping at this National Liquors storefront or having a bite to eat at Baker’s Hamburger Stand?

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Memorial Day tradition Poppy Sales, May 1938

Three men and three women are pictured with a pile of flowers in the foreground. One of the women is pinning a flower to one of the Men's jackets, while the others watch.

The local Veterans of Foreign Wars John H. Kraus post prepares for its 17th annual poppy sale in this late May 1938 photograph. Left to right: Fred E. Crone, post commander; Marie Cooper, Anderson-Fike auxiliary president; Emmet Koos and Catherine Lawrence, poppy committee members; Ruth McReynolds, auxiliary poppy committee chair; and Grant Cooper, post poppy committee chair.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

4-H Gathering Undated

These patient 4-H members are waiting for something to wrap up before they can enjoy their meal. Note the needlework in front of them and the quilts behind. This mystery photograph comes from the Museum’s extensive collection of McLean County Home Bureau photographs. The Home Bureau is now known as the McLean County Association for Home and Community Education.

We don’t know the who, what, where, or why of this photograph. If you can help us with identifications, we’d sure appreciate it!

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

St. Joseph’s Hospital, Bloomington Under Construction, circa 1967

This circa 1967 aerial looks northwest. That’s under-construction St. Joseph’s Hospital in the center, with the Route 66 “beltline” (now Veterans Parkway) in the foreground. To the right (or north) is Eastland Mall, which formally opened in February 1967. This east side St. Joe’s, which would open in March 1968, replaced the old west side hospital off Morris Ave.

Who remembers when the east side of Bloomington liked like this?

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Redd-Williams Legion Post McBarnes Building, January 1942

Seen here are Redd-Williams American Legion Post #163 members at the McBarnes Memorial Building on East Grove Street in Bloomington. For much of the 20th century the Twin Cities had segregated Legion posts.

If you can identify any of these unidentified gentlemen, please let us know.

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Written by Bill Kemp in

Local Guardsmen Head to Chicago June 1938

On June 20, 1938, about 40 members of Bloomington’s 2nd Battalion, 108th Quartermaster Regiment, headed to Chicago for the annual Illinois National Guard military show at Soldier Field. They’re seen here boarding a truck near the old armory (which was lost in a building collapse in 2011) in the warehouse district.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

300 Block North Main Street May 1937

This lovely Depression-era view of a bustling downtown Bloomington shows the east side of the 300 block of North Main Street, one block north of the Courthouse Square.

What catches your eye?

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Written by Bill Kemp in

University School of Beauty Culture September 1939

Margarette Scott’s beauty school was located on the 400 block of North Main Street in downtown Bloomington. “We get personality training too, because we’ve got to please our customers,” one of the students said at the time of this photograph. “Most of the girls are 18 to 25 years old and high school graduates … Nearly half the girls come from farm homes.”

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