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

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

National Bank of Bloomington Main and Washington, 1930s

National Bank building, 1930s.

The green arrow points to the old YMCA building across East Street. The red arrow indicates the 1910 Majestic Theatre, and the blue arrow Liberty State Bank, one of only two Bloomington banks to collapse during the Great Depression.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Addison Pancake ‘Deaf Mute’ Photographer, ca. 1869

The Deaf-Mute photographer, 1869.

In 1860, hearing impaired photographer Addison Pancake (1844-1900) operated a studio in downtown Bloomington. He was a graduate of what’s today known as the Illinois School for the Deaf and billed himself as a “deaf mute photographer.”

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Getting into the Stove Business Meadows Mfg. Co., April 1954

Meadows Manufacturing worker, 1954.

From 1920 to the mid-1950s, Meadows Manufacturing Co. made clothes washers from its plant on Bloomington’s near southeast side. n the spring of 1954, the company, then part of Thor Corp., began making electric stoves as well.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Wabash Telephone Company Local Switchboard, Bloomington, 1935

Bloomington switchboard workers, 1935.

This early photo shows a full daytime force of operators on the “local board” at the Wabash Telephone Co.’s which handled about 60,000 calls a day.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Pony Giveaway Courthouse Square, August 1947

Pony giveaway gathering, 1947.

In 1947, Bloomington merchants staged a promotional drawing on the west steps of the McLean County Courthouse Square (now the Museum Square). Nine-year-old Donald Lake, whose family lived north of Lexington, won the top prize, a bay pony named “Flag.”

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Ralston-Purina Co. Plant Bloomington, Undated

Ralston-Purina Co., undated.

In 1948, Ralston-Purina Co. opened a soybean processing plant on Bloomington’s west side. Soybean oil from this plant was used in a variety of animal feeds.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington Federal Under Construction, August 1957

Bloomington Federal Savings & Loan Association building, 1957.

The “new” Bloomington Federal Savings & Loan Association building under construction some three months before its grand opening in November 1957. Designed by visionary architect A. Richard Williams, additions to this bank building were made in the 1970s and 1980s.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

State Farm’s ‘Midwest Office’ Move-In Day, July 15, 1957

New State Farm building, 1957.

In mid-July 1957, some 700 State Farm employees settled into their new quarters at 2309 E. Oakland Ave. In 2016, State Farm still occupies this office building.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Sinoark’s ‘Frontier Room’ Opens October 1959

Phil-Kron drive-in theater, 1959.

Located at the junction of South Main Street and the Route 66 Beltline, the Phil-Kron drive-in theater featured a full restaurant built under the movie screen.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Downtown Bloomington, circa 1927 100 Block of East Front Street

​View is looking east down the 100 block of E. Front St.

The view here is looking east down the 100 block of E. Front St. The streetcar is turning onto Front from Main Street (or vice versa, we can’t tell which!) Today, the McLean County Law and Justice Center complex blocks Main Street from running from Front south to Olive Street.

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