In the 76 years since these photographs were taken the Corn Belt countryside has undergone an absolute transformation when it comes to matters of mechanization, depopulation, storage, hybridization, the end of diversification, and genetics, among many other profound changes.
It was arguably the single largest event ever staged in McLean County history. Despite the cancellation of the first day due to muddy field conditions, the 1994 Farm Progress Show attracted an estimated 150,000 folks to the G.J. Mecherle Trust Farm off Illinois Route 9 several miles east of Bloomington.
The Village of McLean in the southwestern corner of McLean County used to stage an annual Harvest Festival. Seen here is the McLean Supper Club float.
Seen here are two photographs of Bloomington’s 1949 homecoming festivities. The photo on the left shows the BHS homecoming queen with her attendants. The photo on the right shows the October 28 parade as the floats round Washington Street.
The once-annual O’Neil Park doll parade on Bloomington’s west side prepares to get underway.
The Museum may be a repository for McLean County’s history, but it’s hardly the only place where you can observe the past.The Museum is for studying and analyzing history; to see where it came from, one has to search it out
Bill Kemp's “Page from Our Past” column in the Pantagraph (linked below) detailed the estate in south Normal The September 27, 1940 dedication ceremony of the history of the chime tower on the Broadview Mansion included theatrical elements, such as Illinois Wesleyan University students Dorothy Mae Wilson and Helen Jean Brooks dressed as angels.
The City of Bloomington celebrated its centennial over a seven-day extravaganza, September 17-23, 1950 (though the kickoff dance held September 15 somehow didn’t count, if one goes by the banner pictured here). Anyway, festivities included a “Young Pioneers” parade through downtown Bloomington on September 19.
Seen here is the northeast corner of East and Market streets in downtown Bloomington, late 1935 or early 1936. Keiser-Van Leer Co., a mechanical contractor and hardware dealer, was preparing to demolish the two-story buildings in the foreground (both the wood frame and brick structures) to make way for a two-story Streamline Moderne addition.
On September 15, 1950, Bloomington kicked off its centennial celebration with a “Queen’s Ball” at what is now called the Center for Performing Arts. Although Bloomington was established and settled as early as 1831, it wasn’t officially incorporated until 1850, hence the city’s 100th birthday bash was held in 1950 and not 1931.
This view of the Town of Normal and Illinois State University, taken in 1966 from either Hewett or Manchester halls, two recently opened high-rise dormitories, looks west. Visible in the distance are Hancock Stadium and the Tri-Towers residential complex (Haynie, Wilkins, and Wright halls). The houses shown here were later razed to make way for the ISU Student Center (completed in 1973) and Milner Library - Illinois State University (1976).
On September 9, 1958, a one-ton wrecking ball made quick work of Illinois State University’s first campus building, affectionately known as “Old Main.” Today, a memorial featuring the building’s bell can be found on the north end of the Illinois State Quad.
“Buy American—Save the USA” was the theme for the September 2, 1985, Labor Day parade.
Back in 1907, the Illinois State Normal University Teachers finished the season undefeated against college-level competition—9 wins and 0 losses. The Teachers earned victories over Wesleyan (twice), Milliken, Monmouth College, Knox College, Northern Illinois, Bradley, Western Illinois, and Eastern Illinois.
Bloomington’s first Labor Day parade was held on September 7, 1891, three years before the day became a national holiday. This parade float, dating to sometime around 1920, is the handiwork of the International Brotherhood of Blacksmiths and Helpers Local 79. This local represented blacksmiths at the Chicago & Alton Railroad Shops on the city’s west side.
This Standard Oil Co. service station opened on July 29, 1939. The modernistic design sparkled with its glazed brick and terra cotta exterior and a color scheme of cream, blue, and red. It remained a Standard station into the late 1950s.
The week of September 2, 2015 marked 148th anniversary of the first official run of the Bloomington-Normal streetcar system. It was on September 6, 1867, that the Bloomington & Normal Horse Railway inaugurated its first line, which connected Downtown Bloomington with Uptown Normal. As implied in the system’s original name, the earliest streetcars were pulled by horses. The system was electrified in 1890.