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Photo of the Week, 29: Blue Collar Bloomington

Hayes-Custer Stove Company, 1933

The Hayes-Custer Stove Co. was located at the northwest corner of Linden and Empire streets in Bloomington. The hometown manufacturer specialized in a variety of cast iron stoves, though in its later years it produced room furnaces and “streamline" gas ranges, among other products.

Unfortunately, the company didn't make it out of the Great Depression. In January 1940, Hayes-Custer was placed on the auction block, the foreclosure sale a result of an unpaid $57,000 loan from the federal government's Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

Local residents might remember that from 1995 until 2004, part of this factory was used as an early home of the Children's Discovery Museum, now located in Uptown Normal.

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp

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