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Archive of: March, 2016

Another One Bites the Dust Mar-Len Hotel, June 1988

Demolition of Mar-Len Hotel, 1988.

Ross Griffin of Stark Excavating keeps an eye on crane operator John Quiram as he makes short work of the Mar-Len Hotel, 309 N. Center St., in early June 1988.

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.

Heyworth High and Environs January 1933

Aerial photo of Heyworth High School, 1933.

This wonderful aerial photograph of Heyworth High School dates to January 23, 1933. The view is looking east-northeast into town.
In many ways, the Village of Heyworth hasn’t changed all that much, though most of the high school shown here is gone.

Fashion Show Prep, late April 1958 Octavia High School, Colfax

Fashion Show, 1958.

This late April 1958 scene shows Octavia High School student Marcella Brucker at a sewing machine working on a dress she planned to model for the May 1 Future Homemakers of America (FHA) fashion show.

Newsletter -- Spring 2016

Ensenberger’s, 1925 West Side of Square, Bloomington

Construction of Ensenberger's, 1925.

Back in the summer of 1925 iron workers were completing the steel frame for the new Ensenberger’s furniture store high rise. This seven-story beauty was designed by local architect Arthur L. Pillsbury. It opened in May 1926, but Pillsbury had been killed in an automobile accident the previous October.

The Gem Saloon, c. 1880 West Side of Courthouse Square, Bloomington

The Gem Saloon, 1880.

Peter J. Neuerburg owned The Gem from the late 1870s into the early 1880s. He is likely one of the unidentified gentlemen posing out front. Then Gem was located at 204 N. Center St., on the west side of the Courthouse (now Museum) Square.

Boost Bigger, Beautiful Bloomington! C&A Shop Expansion Fund Button, 1910

Bloomington expansion button, 1910.

Buttons like this one, mentioned in the column, were sold to help raise funds for the expansion of the Chicago & Alton Railroad Shops on Bloomington’s west side. The button’s reverse side tells us it comes from famed button manufacturer Whitehead & Hoag Co. of Newark, NJ. As with most products manufactured in the U.S. at this time, it also had a “union label” indicating it was made by union labor. In this instance it’s stamped “Allied Printing Trades Council.”

Special invitation to Abraham Lincoln fans

A special invitation from Guy C. Fraker, author of Lincoln's Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit

What a coup for the McLean County Museum of History to have Douglas L. Wilson speak!

He is on any Abraham Lincoln fan's list of top Lincoln scholars in the nation. He is the leading authority on the work of William Herndon, Lincoln's long-time law partner and biographer which dominates any study of Lincoln before the White House.

Home Sweet Home Mission, 1923 1006 W. Washington St., Bloomington

Home Sweet Home Mission, 1923.

Home Sweet Home City Rescue Mission (now known as Home Sweet Home Ministries) has provided “food, shelter, and hope to the hungry, homeless, and hurting” since 1917.

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.

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.

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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