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First McDonald's in Normal, 1961.

The Twin Cities first McDonald’s restaurant opened in early 1959. The view here is looking southeast from the 800 block of South Main Street in Normal. The chain, which at this time boasted some 100 restaurants, had earlier opened drive-ins in Peoria and Decatur. Today, of course, McDonald's is one of the largest fast food restaurant chains in the world, with more than 36,000 “outlets” in 119 countries.

Unfortunately, though one gets a good look at the iconic sign, the restaurant is only partially visible to the left. That’s Kohlhagen’s Standard Service gas station on the right. The current McDonald’s is roughly at the same location, though it’s closer to the Hovey Avenue / Beaufort Street intersection (about where Kohlhagen’s is here).


Written By

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp is the Librarian at the McLean County Museum of History

Posted in Historic Photos

April 4th, 2016

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