A heavy snowfall in February 1908 put a halt to this steam locomotive along the Illinois Central Railroad’s “Bloomer Line.”
This building served as the city’s post office from 1896 to 1932. The successor post office on the 400 block of North East Street is now part of Second Presbyterian Church.
The Farmers’ and Teachers’ Institute was held in mid-December 1909 at the “Normal University,” as ISU was most often called back then. A highlight of the corn exhibit room was a county map made of corn by nine boys from Price School.
Back in the early 20th century baseball was not only the National Pastime but the National Obsession. At this time even tiny communities such as Cooksville fielded competitive teams—though it’s possible this club included a “ringer” or two from elsewhere!
This beautiful wedding gown was recently donated to the museum. First worn in 1904, it was subsequently worn by 10 brides – all descendants of the original wearer, Miss Alice Myrtle Abbott.
Seen here are 1909 graduates from Cooksville, a small community some fifteen miles northeast of Normal. Left to right, beginning with the top row, are Grace Fossett, Ethel Wright, Eddie Manning, Merle Douglass, and Clarence Crumbaker.
McLean County’s smaller communities, including the Village of Cooksville, once fielded competitive baseball clubs that welcomed all comers. Costello & O’Malley’s (note the misspelling on the photo—Costello with an extra “T”) was a menswear store on the 300 block of Main Street in downtown Bloomington.
The small community of Anchor, located in the northeastern corner of McLean County, was once home to this attractive 1896 school building. In 1949, the neighboring rural communities of Anchor, Cooksville, and Colfax consolidated to form Octavia High School, which was located in Colfax.
This 1908 scene shows Campbell Brunton behind the wheel of the very first truck owned by the family business, Brunton’s Parcel Delivery and City Express. At the time Campbell worked as a clerk for his father Frank G. Brunton.
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.
The McLean County Museum of History holds a small collection of artifacts used by the Meyer Brewing Company of Bloomington, IL, a local brewery that enjoyed much success prior to Prohibition.
Early on in my internship I began noticing interesting items on the censuses. While many occupations are familiar even today (photographer, dressmaker, tayloress, student), there were plenty of unusual occupations that made me investigate more...
Rachel Crothers is all but unknown today as America's most successful female playwright.
Barbara Egger was a part of a women's suffrage group that lobbied in Springfield in 1909.
“Ike" Sanders and his first wife Allie Headley opened what's believed to be the first restaurant in Bloomington owned and operated by African Americans. The restaurant, which also doubled as a rooming house, was located at 306 South Main Street.
This “gag shot," circa 1904, shows two African-American men “floating" over downtown Bloomington. We're almost certain that's Ike Sanders (1878-1929) on the left.