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#1870s

Written by Bill Kemp in Museum News Collection Highlights

Questers help restore priceless 1873 ‘bird’s eye’ view of Bloomington

Museum staff recognized the local Jesse Fell chapter of Questers International. This group, dedicated to the study and preservation of historical objects, oversaw a $1,500 donation to pay for a professional restoration of the Museum’s rare 1873 “bird’s eye” view of Bloomington.

International Questers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study, conservation, and preservation of historical objects, donated $1,500 to the McLean County Museum of History for the restoration of a priceless 1873 "bird's eye" view of Bloomington. Half the donation came from Illinois State Questers and the other half from the local Jesse Fell Chapter, the latter raised by way of garage sales. This significant donation to the McLean County Museum of History was undertaken by the Jesse Fell Chapter to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Prairie Birds to the Rescue! Great Chicago Fire, October 8-9, 1871

Locomotive, 1871.

As the Great Chicago Fire raged out of control the night and early morning of October 8-9, 1871, Mayor Roswell B. Mason made a desperate plea over the telegraph wires for additional firefighters and equipment. This image shows the American Standard locomotive No. 97 that carried the Prairie Birds and their steamer on a flatbed railcar to Chicago.

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Written by Guest Blogger in Volunteer and Intern Bloggers

What’s in a Name? Intern reflection by Ashley White

Ashley has become all too familiar with this sight- a page from the 1900 census.

Early on in my internship I began noticing interesting items on the censuses. While many occupations are familiar even today (photographer, dressmaker, tayloress, student), there were plenty of unusual occupations that made me investigate more...

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Written by Torii Moré in

Photo of the Week, 74: Red, White and Blue in Sepia

Union Army veteran Gilbert Henderson Bates

Union Army veteran Gilbert Henderson Bates sought, in his own eccentric way, to help heal the sectional wounds of fratricidal bloodletting.

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Written by Bill Kemp in WGLT McHistory Series

McHistory: Bloomington Dramaturge Explored Gender Roles

Rachel Crothers is all but unknown today as America's most successful female playwright.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week, 60: Funks at Yosemite, June 1874

A gaggle of Funks, including four sons of local Funk patriarch Isaac (1797-1865), headed West in 1874. Here they are in Yosemite Valley for a family portrait framed by the world famous Yosemite Falls, the highest measured waterfall in North America.

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