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Archive of: April, 2017

Normal Fire Department New pumper, May 1968

Fire Inspector Charles Smalley (left) and Fire Chief Victor “Spud” Sylvester, Jr. take a close look at the controls of Normal’s new 1,000-gallon-per-minute pumper truck. It cost $23,000 at the time, which would be more than $162,000 in today’s dollars, adjusted for inflation.

Franklin Park’s new evergreens April 1958

In the spring of 1958, the Bloomington-Normal Garden Club planted a series of evergreens at Franklin Park, the city’s oldest green space. Seen here is Joyce Lynn Hall, an Illinois Wesleyan University student, admiring three Pfitzer junipers and a vertical yew recently set in the concrete planter at the park’s center.

Note the city bus heading west on Walnut Street in the background.

Free range … no more! City Hall booking, March 30, 1958

Bloomington Police officer Robert Shepherd (left) books a startled hen on accessory charges. That’s officer John Hauptman keeping the prisoner from flying the coop. She was picked up when officers arrested a man they found trying to stuff her in a paper bag.

Corn farming in McLean County … 800 years ago!

Area farmer Nuel Downs, a lifelong collector of Native American relics, is shown here in mid-July 1972 assisting with an archeological dig at the Noble-Wieting site north of Heyworth.

Eureka Williams aerial June 1966

This summer 1966 view of the near southeast side of Bloomington, looking east, offers a wealth of information. “A” is Oakaland School; “B,” Holiday Club, a private park that the city purchased in 1970; “C,” Meadows subdision; “D,” Lakeside County Club; and “E,” Eureka Williams Co.

What else can you see? Who remembers the water tower north of Holiday Club?

Saybrook’s last Civil War widow Emma Cook, May 1938

Seen here is 85-year-old Emma Cook, on the porch of her Saybrook home, looking at a portrait of her late husband Riley Cook, a veteran who died in July 1918. Mrs. Cook was the village’s last Civil War widow. She passed away on August 5, 1941.

National Air Mail Week May 1938

Art Carnahan (left), manager of the Bloomington Municipal Airport (now Central Illinois Regional Airport), greets Harold Medbery, a pilot from the Tazewell County community of Armington. Medbery brought in nine pouches of airmail from towns southwest and west of Bloomington. That mail was then loaded onto a waiting Chicago & Southern airliner.

This May 1938 demonstration was staged for National Airmail Week.

Easter Lily Sales March 1958

Here’s a group of Y-Teens from the Bloomington YWCA, March 29, 1958, selling Easter lilies in the State Farm Insurance Co. headquarters downtown. The girls are not identified, but that’s Gladys Martin (left) and Betty Moore in the back.


The girls were raising money for the local chapter of the National Society for Crippled Children and Adults.

Bloomington’s Federal’s ‘electronic brain’ January 1963

Bloomington Federal Savings & Loan Association claimed to be the first financial institution in Illinois to make use of the NCR 390 computer, which was capable of calculating dividends and mortgage interest—among many other miraculous feats!

Free-range Kids April 1938

This mystery photograph comes from the Museum’s collection of Pantagraph negatives. We don’t know the names of these kids or the rural location of this cistern or stock pond. If you can help with the identification, let us know!

Museum announces 2017 History Maker Honorees

Graphic showing the 2017 honorees: Craig Hart, Jeanne Morris, Charles Morris, Judy Stone and Jesse Smart

The McLean County Museum of History announced today five recipients of the 2017 History Makers award to be presented during the Museum’s sixth annual History Makers Gala on Thursday, June 15

Craig Hart Named 2017 History Makers Honoree

Craig Hart head shot

Craig Hart was born on January 11, 1934 in Streator, Illinois. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics and his master’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.

Jeanne and Charles Morris Named 2017 History Makers Honorees

Jeanne and Charles Morris

The story of how Jeanne and Charles Morris met “usually gets a smile,” according to Charles. Jeanne and Charles Morris grew up in entirely different states, but met in college while working at a camp on Squam Lake in Holderness, New Hampshire. Although they then went their separate ways—Jeanne back to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and Charles back to Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina—the two kept in touch as they finished up their undergraduate degrees.

Judy Stone Named 2017 History Makers Honoree

Judy Stone

Judy Stone was born in Columbus, Ohio on July 21, 1932. After growing up in Ohio, Judy received her bachelor’s degree in English and attended Northwestern University in Evanston for her master’s degree in History. It was in Evanston that Judy met her husband Jerry, who was working on his PhD.

Jesse Smart Named 2017 History Makers Honoree

Jesse Smart

Jesse Smart was born on April 29, 1939 on a small family farm in Pike County, IL.

After graduating as class valedictorian at East Pike High School, Jesse went on to study agricultural education at the University of Illinois. It was there, in Urbana-Champaign, that Jesse met his wife Susan.

Tree Planting, Lincoln School April 22, 1938

In a pre-Arbor Day observance, members of Lincoln School’s eighth grade class watch Jack Elledge shovel dirt around a newly planted elm tree. Lincoln School, located in Bloomington’s South Hill neighborhood, is now operated by the city’s parks & recreation department as a community center.

Did anyone out there attend Lincoln School back in the day?

Elizabeth Paullin Funk Undated

This circa early 1930s portrait of Elizabeth Paullin Funk was taken by Clara Brian, longtime McLean County Home Bureau adviser. The Museum holds several hundred of her photographs.

Elizabeth Paullin married Marquis de LaFayette Funk in 1864. He built the sprawling country residence outside of Shirley that is now the Funk Prairie Home historic site. Elizabeth is seen here in the Prairie Home’s living room.

‘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.

Dr. Moate becomes proficient knitter April 1946

Dr. Thomas Moate, who practiced medicine in Gridley for 50 years, picked up knitting at the age of 70. He’s seen here in mid-April 1947 at the age of 74. By this time Moate was bedridden, but knitting helped pass the hours.

“I don’t know what heaven’s like, but if it’s anything like Gridley, I’ll like it,” he told The Pantagraph at the time. Dr. Moate passed away on May 31, 1947 at the age of 75.

Pointer and Setter Club Field Trials, April 1946

That’s “Jake,” a pointer puppy owned by “bird dog man” G.S. Bryant of Springfield and handled here by E.T. Burke of Farmersville. Jake was a guest, one might say, of the Bloomington Pointer and Setter Club, which staged its annual spring trials in early April 1946 on club grounds outside of the Village of Downs.

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