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Archive of: 1950s

Getting into the Stove Business Meadows Mfg. Co., April 1954

Meadows Manufacturing worker, 1954.

From 1920 to the mid-1950s, Meadows Manufacturing Co. made clothes washers from its plant on Bloomington’s near southeast side. n the spring of 1954, the company, then part of Thor Corp., began making electric stoves as well.

New Two-Way Radios, Part II Bloomington Fire Department, 1953

New radios for the Bloomington Fire Department, 1953.

This is BFD Chief Roland Behrend, who was now able to talk to firefighters back at the station or those “on the trucks” and racing to a fire.

New Two-Way Radios Bloomington Fire Department, 1953

The Bloomington Fire Department testing out new radios, 1953.

The BFD tried out its new two-way radio system in late August 1953. Seen here are Fireman Robert Colyer (left) driving the service truck as Capt. Ernest Lockenvitz contacts the station.

Up and Over Downs May 1953

Aerial view of the village of Downs, 1953.

Even the small Village of Downs had a post-World War II housing boom (relatively speaking). Note also that there was no Interstate 74 in 1953!

Bloomington Federal Under Construction, August 1957

Bloomington Federal Savings & Loan Association building, 1957.

The “new” Bloomington Federal Savings & Loan Association building under construction some three months before its grand opening in November 1957. Designed by visionary architect A. Richard Williams, additions to this bank building were made in the 1970s and 1980s.

Meadowbrook Subdivision July 1954

Meadowbrook under construction, 1954.

Meadowbrook, a 167-lot development southeast of Lakeside Country Club, was well under construction in this summer 1954 photograph.

State Farm’s ‘Midwest Office’ Move-In Day, July 15, 1957

New State Farm building, 1957.

In mid-July 1957, some 700 State Farm employees settled into their new quarters at 2309 E. Oakland Ave. In 2016, State Farm still occupies this office building.

'Madly for Adlai’ Sen. Estes Kefauver, Oct. 18, 1952

Sen. Estes Kefauver in Bloomington, 1952.

Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee stopped in Bloomington to campaign for fellow Democrat and hometown favorite son Adlai E. Stevenson II, who was the party’s presidential nominee. Stevenson would lose to Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower in both 1952 and 1956.

Walter Schroeder, August 1958 High-Moisture Shelled Corn

Livestock farmer Walter Schroeder, 1958.

Back in the late 1950s, livestock farmer Walter Schroeder (second from right) of rural Bloomington Township fattened about 500 head of cattle a year.

Sinoark’s ‘Frontier Room’ Opens October 1959

Phil-Kron drive-in theater, 1959.

Located at the junction of South Main Street and the Route 66 Beltline, the Phil-Kron drive-in theater featured a full restaurant built under the movie screen.

Grand Champion Gilt McLean County Fair, Aug. 6, 1958

Champion gilt, 1958.

That’s a proud Walter Gottschalk of Danvers at the 1958 McLean County 4-H Club Fair posing with his grand champion gilt hog.

Art Floyd’s Collection Covell, August 1958

License plate collection, 1958.

Art Floyd displays his mounted license plate collection from his garage in the Dale Township. Floyd was a local fastpitch softball legend, having served as announcer at Bloomington’s O’Neil park since 1948.

Girl Scouts Learn Weather Forecasting Camp Peairs, Early August 1950

Girl Scout camp counselor and campers, 1950.

Kathleen Keeley, assistant counselor at the Girl Scouts’ Camp Peairs, talks to Dotty Laudeman and Karen Figg about the weather flag she holds in her hands.

Woodford County Fair, Eureka Grand Champion, August 2, 1950

Grand champion barrow, 1950.

Seen here is Delores Moser of Roanoke with her Poland China barrow (“barrow” being a castrated male swine) judged Woodford County grand champion of all breeds in 1950.

Ozark Air Lines Touches Down Bloomington Municipal Airport, Nov. 6, 1950

Municipal Airport celebrates the start of scheduled commercial air service to Bloomington, 1950.

An estimated 200 area residents were on hand at the Municipal Airport (now Central Illinois Regional Airport) to celebrate the start of scheduled commercial air service to Bloomington. Seen here are Bloomington Postmaster Carter Pietsch (right) and Otto Gerth handing sacks of mail to stewardess Mary Forgach.

Frank Simpson’s Steers Farmer City, July 1957

Cattle farming, 1957.

Ralph G. Blue (right) and Harold Davis (with clipboard) weigh steers using a scale box. They’re seen here in early July 1957 at Frank Simpson’s feedlot outside of Farmer City in DeWitt County.

Idle Youth Miller Park, July 1957

Boys sitting around, 1957.

These unidentified boys are seen here a few days before Independence Day 1957, hanging out at Miller Park on Bloomington’s west side.

Adlai at Bloomington Country Club September 1953

Adlai Stevenson visiting Bloomington, 1953.

In September 1953, Adlai E. Stevenson (right) spent five days in Bloomington, his boyhood home, visiting friends and family. Earlier this week we posted another photo from this visit.

The Duke in Pontiac June 11, 1957

Duke Ellington in Pontiac, 1957.

This is a photo of one of Duke Ellington’s many visits to this stretch of Central Illinois. Ellington and his orchestra performed at the Elks Country Club in Pontiac in June 1957.

‘Golden Gleam’ Grabs Trophy Society Horse Show, Bloomington, 1953

Horse show, 1953.

Seen here is “Golden Gleam,” who captured the top prize in the parade class. The trophy winning horse was owned by Harold Mortland of Streator but was ridden by Pete Bradley.

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