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

#1900s

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Snowbound Illinois Central Northeast of Fletcher, February 1908

Train buried in snow, 1908

A heavy snowfall in February 1908 put a halt to this steam locomotive along the Illinois Central Railroad’s “Bloomer Line.”

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington’s long-gone post office Circa 1900

Old post office building, undated

This building served as the city’s post office from 1896 to 1932. The successor post office on the 400 block of North East Street is now part of Second Presbyterian Church.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Corn map of McLean County December 1909

Corn map at ​The Farmers’ and Teachers’ Institute, 1909.

The Farmers’ and Teachers’ Institute was held in mid-December 1909 at the “Normal University,” as ISU was most often called back then. A highlight of the corn exhibit room was a county map made of corn by nine boys from Price School.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Cooksville Ball Club 1908

Young men in a baseball club, 1908.

Back in the early 20th century baseball was not only the National Pastime but the National Obsession. At this time even tiny communities such as Cooksville fielded competitive teams—though it’s possible this club included a “ringer” or two from elsewhere!

Read more…

Written by Emma Meyer in Collection Highlights

One Dress, Eleven Brides

Myrtle Abbott McCarty, married 30 November 1904

This beautiful wedding gown was recently donated to the museum. First worn in 1904, it was subsequently worn by 10 brides – all descendants of the original wearer, Miss Alice Myrtle Abbott.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Cooksville High School Class of 1909

Cooksville High School graduates, 1909.

Seen here are 1909 graduates from Cooksville, a small community some fifteen miles northeast of Normal. Left to right, beginning with the top row, are Grace Fossett, Ethel Wright, Eddie Manning, Merle Douglass, and Clarence Crumbaker.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Play Ball! Cooksville, 1909

Baseball players, 1909.

McLean County’s smaller communities, including the Village of Cooksville, once fielded competitive baseball clubs that welcomed all comers. Costello & O’Malley’s (note the misspelling on the photo—Costello with an extra “T”) was a menswear store on the 300 block of Main Street in downtown Bloomington.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in

Anchor School Circa 1900

Anchor school, 1900.

The small community of Anchor, located in the northeastern corner of McLean County, was once home to this attractive 1896 school building. In 1949, the neighboring rural communities of Anchor, Cooksville, and Colfax consolidated to form Octavia High School, which was located in Colfax.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

The Shape of Things to Come Brunton’s First Delivery Truck, 1908

Brunton truck, 1908.

This 1908 scene shows Campbell Brunton behind the wheel of the very first truck owned by the family business, Brunton’s Parcel Delivery and City Express. At the time Campbell worked as a clerk for his father Frank G. Brunton.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Fall Means College Football ISNU ‘Teachers,’ 1907

Illinois State University football, 1907.

Back in 1907, the Illinois State Normal University Teachers finished the season undefeated against college-level competition—9 wins and 0 losses. The Teachers earned victories over Wesleyan (twice), Milliken, Monmouth College, Knox College, Northern Illinois, Bradley, Western Illinois, and Eastern Illinois.

Read more…