200 North Main Street | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

Archive of: Historic Photos

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

North Gate Subdivision Northeast Normal, July 1964

During the summer of 1964, ranch and split-level homes were popping up in the North Gate subdivision in northeast Normal, adjacent to the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School (ISSCS). North Gate was north of Lincoln, bounded by Beech on the east, and Walnut on the west. This view is looking southwest at Bright Drive, with Beech St.in the foreground. It looks like the photographer was standing at the entrance of the ISSCS administration building. Thanks to Daniel McClure for finding the exact location this picture was taken!

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Red Cross knitters July 1940

In the summer of 1940, Marietta Howard, McLean County Red Cross executive secretary, issued an “S.O.S.” for local knitters. The local chapter hoped to soon knit 200 sweaters and other items for its war relief program.

We’re not sure who’s who here, or where this scene takes place. If you can help us out with any identification, we’d sure appreciate it.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Whites-only beach Miller Park, Bloomington, July 1940

From the 1910s into the 1950s, there were racially segregated beaches at Miller Park. The much larger and much nicer beach shown here was set aside for white residents. The black beach was located in the lagoon-like part of the lake beyond the arched stone bridge seen in the distance. African Americans were also denied access to the spacious bathhouse next to the “white” beach.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Roller-Skating messengers State Farm Insurance, summer 1940

Anyone remember when State Farm used staff on roller skates?

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Mackinaw River catch, July 1940 Boolman residence, Bloomington

Chester Boolman, 820 W. Washington St., shows his 21-month-old son Melvin a 15-pound catfish he caught below the Kappa Bridge on the Mackinaw River. This photograph was probably taken July 1 or 2, 1940.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Lexington Dog Show July 31, 1940

Seen here are 5 of the 30 some entries for the children’s dog show, held July 31, 1940, in Lexington. They’re at Lexington Park, with the view looking east. That’s 105 E. Main St. behind them. The house is still there.

We’re not entirely sure, but this photo might show the five winners and their owners (left to right): “Nicky” and Dickie Payne; “Brownie” and Arlyss Printz; “Skipper” and Phyllis Ann Framer; “Mack” and Jimmy Travers; and “Bob” and Jane Oliver.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Downtown Bloomington September 1938

This view of downtown Bloomington looks north. The foreground includes a good look at the old city hall, which was located at the northwest corner of East and Monroe streets.

In the distance one can espy the Keiser-Van Leer building (later Clark and Barlow and now East Street Hardware and Tools); Lucca Grill, and the Illini Theatre building. What else do you see that catches your eye?

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Red, White, and Kaboom! Independence Day 1941

Nine-year-old Tommy Roberts of Bloomington stocks up on fireworks for the July 4, 1941 festivities.

The Museum wishes you and yours a happy—and safe!—Fourth of July

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Independence Day 1964 Miller Park, Bloomington

For well over a century, Miller Park on Bloomington’s west side has served as home to many the city’s Fourth of July activities, including the evening fireworks show.

Who remembers when Miller Park featured a Ferris wheel and other carnival-like rides? Who remembers spending Independence Day at Miller Park with friends and family?

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Tot Tries Tiny Tractor August 1947

Three-year-old Janet Schultze gets comfortable on her father Floyd Schultze’s two-cylinder, nine horsepower tractor. This was no child’s toy, however, as this miniature machine was strong enough to pull a 12-inch plow or a 56-inch disc cultivator.

Floyd Schultze ran a tractor repair shop in Chenoa.

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