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Written by Bill Kemp in
Written by Bill Kemp in

‘Private Joe’ Fifer Memorial Day 1934

The gentlemen in the center is Joseph “Private Joe” Fifer of Bloomington, who served as Illinois governor from 1889 to 1893. For Memorial Day 1934. Fifer, a Civil War veteran, recited Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to a crowd gathered at Bloomington Cemetery (now part of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery). On the right is A.T. Ives, another Civil War veteran.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Robert Underwood, casting ballot April 9, 1945

Seen here is 30-year-old judicial candidate Robert C. Underwood (left) at an unidentified Town of Normal polling station, casting his ballot in the spring 1945 election. Underwood, in his first bid for elective office, would defeat sitting County Judge Dewey Montgomery by a nearly two-to-one margin.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

'Madly for Adlai’ Sen. Estes Kefauver, Oct. 18, 1952

Sen. Estes Kefauver in Bloomington, 1952.

Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee stopped in Bloomington to campaign for fellow Democrat and hometown favorite son Adlai E. Stevenson II, who was the party’s presidential nominee. Stevenson would lose to Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower in both 1952 and 1956.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Labor Secretary Visits Bloomington October 17, 1935

Labor Secretary, 1935.

Department of Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet, stopped in the Twin Cities on October 17, 1935. She spoke at Capen Auditorium on the Illinois State Normal University campus. She talked about workplace health and safety.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Eleanor Roosevelt visits the Twin Cities, November 9-10, 1937

Eleanor Roosevelt, 1937.

On November 9-10, 1937 First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, sans husband Franklin Delano, paid a visit to Bloomington-Normal. Mrs. Roosevelt is seen here relaxing at the Illinois Hotel in downtown Bloomington while taking questions from a Pantagraph reporter.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

FDR in Bloomington October 14, 1936

FDR visits Bloomington, 1936.

On October 14, 1963 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt campaigned in Bloomington. FDR’s whistle stop tour pulled into Union Depot on the city’s west side (see photo on the right) at 2:35 p.m. The photo on the left shows Roosevelt from the train’s rear observation platform.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week, 116: We Shall Overcome, October 1965

demonstrators from Illinois State University marched along Main Street to downtown Bloomington to protest the acquittal in Alabama of Ku Klux Klan gunman Collie Leroy Wilkins in the murder of Civil Rights Movement worker Viola Liuzzo.

On Sunday, October 24, 1965, demonstrators from Illinois State University marched along Main Street to downtown Bloomington to protest the acquittal in Alabama of Ku Klux Klan gunman Collie Leroy Wilkins in the murder of Civil Rights Movement worker Viola Liuzzo.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week, 112: Lincoln Marker Dedication, June 1922

Lincoln Marker Dedication, June 1922

In 1922 and 1923, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected 19 markers in Central Illinois commemorating the route Abraham Lincoln traveled on the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week, 86: Thirty Year Anniversary of ISU Beer Riot 'Brouhaha'

On October 3, 1984, Illinois State University students protested new Town of Normal liquor ordinances designed to control large off-campus keg parties. Students called the measures draconian, and some took out their frustrations on public and private property in Uptown Normal. Rioters, according to an AP report,

On October 3, 1984, Illinois State University students protested new Town of Normal liquor ordinances designed to control large off-campus keg parties.

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