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Archive of: 1900s

Snowbound Illinois Central Northeast of Fletcher, February 1908

Train buried in snow, 1908

A heavy snowfall in February 1908 put a halt to this steam locomotive along the Illinois Central Railroad’s “Bloomer Line.”

Bloomington’s long-gone post office Circa 1900

Old post office building, undated

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.

Corn map of McLean County December 1909

Corn map at ​The Farmers’ and Teachers’ Institute, 1909.

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.

Cooksville Ball Club 1908

Young men in a baseball club, 1908.

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!

One Dress, Eleven Brides

Myrtle Abbott McCarty, married 30 November 1904

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.

Cooksville High School Class of 1909

Cooksville High School graduates, 1909.

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.

Play Ball! Cooksville, 1909

Baseball players, 1909.

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.

Anchor School Circa 1900

Anchor school, 1900.

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.

The Shape of Things to Come Brunton’s First Delivery Truck, 1908

Brunton truck, 1908.

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.

Fall Means College Football ISNU ‘Teachers,’ 1907

Illinois State University football, 1907.

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.

Photo of the Week, 103: Broadview Mansion Bell Tower, November 1939

Broadview Mansion Bell Tower, November 1939

For nearly 75 years the Broadview Mansion bell tower has served as a local landmark.

The Meyer Brewing Co.

Advertisement from the Bloomington City Directory, 1904

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.

What’s in a Name? Intern reflection by Ashley White

Ashley has become all too familiar with this sight- a page from the 1900 census.

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...

McHistory: Bloomington Dramaturge Explored Gender Roles

Rachel Crothers is all but unknown today as America's most successful female playwright.

McHistory: Bloomington Suffragist Lobbies in Springfield

Barbara Egger was a part of a women's suffrage group that lobbied in Springfield in 1909.

​Photo of the Week, 54: Ike Sander’s “Short Order House,” ca. 1903-1911

“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.

McHistory: Workin' In A Coal Mine

Photo of the Week, 8: Ike Sanders "Up, Up and Away"

Ike Sanders

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.

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