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#Religion

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Unitarian Church of Bloomington 209 N. East St., undated

Unitarian Church, undated.

Seen here is the old Unitarian Church in downtown Bloomington. This building was torn down in late 1959. Today, the downtown PNC Bank occupies this site.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Mennonite Church of Normal 908 S. University St.

Old Mennonite Church, undated.

Seen here is the old Mennonite Church of Normal when it was located on South University Street. This photo is undated, but the fact that University Street is unpaved tells us it goes back a few years!

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Written by Lauren Lacy in Museum News Event Spotlight

Father Ric Schneider Named 2016 History Makers Honoree

Since Father Ric Schneider arrived in Bloomington to become the pastor of St. Mary’s Parish 23 years ago he has built St. Mary’s into an institution that contributes to the well-being of the entire community, serving the needy regardless of faith.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Lost Church First American Baptist of Normal

First Baptist Church in Normal, 1972.

Once Normal’s oldest church building, First American Baptist was located at the northeast corner of School and Mulberry streets. It was built in 1870-1871, making it 130 years old when it was torn down on September 26, 2000.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

American Passion Play Behind the Curtain, 1963

American Passion Play, 1963.

The American Passion Play, staged in Bloomington since 1923, is the oldest such retelling of the story of Christ in the nation. Seen here are last-minute preparations during the 40th season, which opened on Sunday, March 24, 1963.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Fourth Generation American Passion Play, 1961

American Passion Play rehearsal, 1961.

he American Passion Play, staged right here in Bloomington, is the nation’s oldest such staging of the story of Christ. Seen here is five-year-old John Aldridge during a rehearsal. His parents Jack and Carol Aldridge were also Passion Play performers. And appearing in previous seasons were both his grandmother and great-grandfather.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Second Presbyterian Church block Pre-Parking Lot Mania

Aerial view of the Second Presbyterian Church, undated.

This undated aerial shows a section of the east side of downtown Bloomington prior to the loss of much of the built environment to surface parking lots. Everything in the L-shaped blue box is gone, replaced by surface parking for State Farm Insurance and Second Presbyterian.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Lost Treasure of Bloomington First Church of Christ, Scientist

First Church of Christ, undated.

Designed by Bloomington architect Arthur L. Pillsbury, this Classical Revival-style First Church of Christ, Scientist featured a Greek temple entry and a copper dome, making it one of the most distinctive buildings in the Twin Cities. It was located at the southwest corner of Prairie and Monroe streets (Monroe no longer runs between East and Prairie streets). The church remained the home for local Christian Scientists until 1979.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

American Passion Play Backstage Laughs, 1954

American Passion Play, 1954.

Every spring Delmar D. Darrah’s theatrical retelling of “the greatest story ever told” is brought back to life on the local stage. The American Passion Play tells the story of Christ and his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. The former Scottish Rite Consistory Temple has served as the play’s home for all but one season. Seen here are actors (left to right) Stanley K. Norton, Gus Winker, and Walter Berg at a late March 1954 rehearsal.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church Bloomington, June 9, 1940

Baptist Church, 1940.

Founded in October 1865 as South Hill Baptist Church, Mt Pisgah Baptist Church has played an important leadership role in the local African-American community for 150-plus years. Seen here is Mt. Pisgah’s previous home at 701 S. Lee St., which the church built and opened in 1915-1916.

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