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#Towns -- Normal

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

Mennonite School of Nursing Junior-Senior banquet, May 14, 1930

Mennonite nurses, 1930.

Forty nurses, doctors, and supervisors attended the annual Mennonite School of Nursing banquet on May 14, 1930, held at the Illinois Hotel in downtown Bloomington. Eloise Lehmann of Pontiac and Eula Peden of Lexington, presidents of the junior and senior classes respectively, addressed those gathered, as did Dr. H.P. Sloan

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

ISNU’s Milner Library October 1940

Milner Library, 1940.

Located on the east side of the Illinois State Normal University campus, the handsome brick Georgian-style Milner Library building opened in 1940. When the current Milner Library opened in July 1976 on the north end of campus, the old Milner Library was eventually renamed Williams Hall. In other words, seen here is the old Milner Library when it was brand new.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Jerry Sohl Shoots for the Stars August 1958

Jerry Sohl, 1958.

After twelve years as a Pantagraph reporter, Gerald “Jerry” Sohl (left) decided to pick up his family and head to California to become a full-time science fiction and fantasy writer. Seen here are his wife Jean Gordon, son Allan, and daughters Marty and Jennifer (we’re not sure who’s who, daughter-wise). Sohl already had nine novels published and would become a successful television scriptwriter.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Normal’s West Side Aerial, c. 1954

Aerial view of Normal, 1954.

Wow, how the Town of Normal has changed since 1954! If you’re having trouble getting your bearings, the view is to the northeast.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Normal Firefighters Undated

Normal Fire Department, undated.

These tough guys are Normal volunteer firefighters, though the photo is undated and no one is identified. For much of the town’s history, Normal’s fire department was operated on a volunteer basis. The department went professional in 1969, and nine years later, in 1978, Normal firefighters organized Local 2442 of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Chiddix Junior High, Normal Early 1960s

Chiddix Junior High, 1960s.

Seen here is an early photograph of the International-style inspired Chiddix Jr High School, the work of the Normal-based architectural firm of Middleton Associates. Chiddix opened in April 1961.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

ISSCS Bus, School Street, Normal Late May 1958

Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School bus, 1958.

From the end of the Civil War to the 1970s, Normal was home to a state children’s home known as the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School (ISSCS). These kids attended University High at what was then called Illinois State Normal University. The drop-off / pickup stop for ISSCS students was School Street, just north of North Street, near the Fell Gates and today’s ISU Planetarium.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

McLean County Basketball Tournament Championship Game, January 21, 1966 Octavia 68, Lexington 48

McLean County basketball tournament, 1966.

For many years the biggest sporting event on the local calendar was the McLean County Basketball Tournament, which began way back in 1911. During the years before school consolidation, 20 or more McLean County high schools outside of Bloomington-Normal would battle it out for bragging rights as the county’s small school champion.There were 11 schools vying for the 1966 tourney title. On January 21, Octavia beat Lexington in the championship game before a packed Horton Field House crowd on the Illinois State University campus.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

I'll huff, and I'll puff … ISNU Puppet Show, January 1960

ISU puppet show, 1960.

On January 14, 1960, Illinois State Normal University’s puppetry class staged its third annual pageant at Metcalf School. There was an afternoon performance for the university laboratory school’s lower grade children, and an evening one opened to the public. The program included “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Cinderella,” and other fairy tales

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