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Photo of the Week, 24: Seven ball in the corner pocket . . .

Students at the Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School (ISSCS) play pool at Horner Hall, circa 1955-1956.

ISSCS, the state-run orphanage in north Normal, opened after the Civil War and was first known as the Illinois Soldiers' Orphans' Home. Horner Hall, built in 1930, served as a model nursery for some 40 children. It was later repurposed as a boys' cottage and named for Illinois Gov. Henry Horner, and then became an isolation cottage for sick children. In 1954, the building was converted into the school's recreation center.

According to Paul Roley, an employee at the time of this photograph, this cozy center was the “hub of the youngsters' leisure activities with its pool and ping pong tables, its big television set, and above all the free juke box, beloved particularly by the girls, with all the latest records."

Today, Horner Hall (located on Oglesby Avenue) is a private residence.

(The Roley quote comes from Ruth's Cobb's A Place We Called Home, a history of Orphans' Home/Children's School published in 2007 by the ISSCS Historical Preservation Society).

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp

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