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

#Towns -- Bloomington

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

Penney’s Readies Eastland Store November 9, 1966

J.C. Penney opened in the new Eastland Shopping Center (now Eastland Mall) on November 10, 1966. This photograph was taken a day before the grand opening as employees readied the store for the expected crush of bargain hunters.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington High Aegis staff October 1954

Several weeks ago we ran a photograph from a set of 1954 negatives showing the staff of Aegis, the BHS student newspaper. Here’s another one.

Gathered around the desk of Aegis editor Su Selders (that’s Sue without the “e”) are Pat Jones, assistant editor; Don Owen, business manager; and Ann Alcott, reporter.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Backstage, Majestic Theatre Bloomington, undated

This undated photo shows Bill Dorothy (left) and James “Pop” Tucker working the backstage area of the Majestic Theatre. Located at the corner of East and Washington streets, the Majestic opened in 1910 as a vaudeville house. It was torn in 1956.

This photograph was taken by Karl Blakney, a longtime local theater projectionist who was also an amateur photographer. The Museum holds a collection of Blakney’s photographs.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington Creamery 104 S. East St.

This undated view shows Bloomington Creamery on the 100 block of South East Street. We’re not sure, but that could be creamery manager A.H. Tobias on the left. Today, the shuttered C II East office building is located on this site.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington High from Above June 1963

“New” Bloomington High School, which opened four years earlier, is seen here in a June 1963 aerial. The view is looking southwest. Note the beginnings of Towanda Plaza in the lower right.

What else can you see of interest?

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Long way up … and down! WJBC radio tower, 1949

Robert Bible (left) and Wilson Hall of the International Derrick and Equipment Co. of Columbus, Ohio, work on the installation of WJBC’s new radio tower. This 400-foot steel tower was adjacent to the station’s under-construction office and studio building off Route 66 (now Veterans Parkway) on the southwest edge of Bloomington.

Sixty-eight years later WJBC is still located at this site.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Unfinished Business Interstate 74 , October 1965

This aerial shows Interstate 74 under construction southeast of Bloomington in the fall of 1965. Note the abrupt end of the interstate at the bottom of this photo. Talk about traffic delays!

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Extra! Extra! Read All About it! BHS student newspaper, 1954

The Aegis is Bloomington High School’s longtime student newspaper. Here’s chief photographer Bob Stoner in late October 1954 snapping BHS students Mary Ellen Ponsford and Courtney Read, both holding fund drive posters.

Who has fond memories working for their school newspaper?

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Cotton’s Village Inn 401 N. Main St., Bloomington

Melton “Cotton” McNabney and his wife Millie took over management of this downtown eatery in 1948. Located in the basement of the three-story building on the northeast corner of Main and Monroe streets, some old-timers might remember Millie McNabney’s ham loaf, creamed chicken pie, or Swiss steak and pan gravy.

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