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Woops! Roller-skating messenger State Farm Insurance, summer 1940

More than a week ago we posted a photograph from this set. Here’s another one. At the time, State Farm was testing the feasibility of having staff at its downtown Bloomington building deliver mail on roller skates. Seen here is Fayne Hoobler taking a rare tumble. Sitting at the desk is Margaret Warrick.

Roller-Skating messengers State Farm Insurance, summer 1940

Anyone remember when State Farm used staff on roller skates?

Bull in Barbershop Hudson, June 19, 1947

We’ve all heard the expression “bull in a china shop,” but how about one in a barbershop?

Bzzzz! June 30, 1938

William Knuth, a laid off boilermaker and hobbyist beekeeper, was called to the Darling Poultry and Fish Market, 218 S. Center St., to corral some swarming bees. He located the queen, brushed her into the box, and the others followed.

Paving, 400 block North Main Street June 1938

Workmen with local contractor Berenz & Son lay asphalt down the 400 block of North Main Street in Bloomington. Today, the Jaeger’s Candy Shop storefront is occupied by Gigi Bottega. The Miller Music storefront is now Bobzbay.

The Iceman Cometh … but for how long? June 1957

Once a common sight in windows throughout the Twin Cities and beyond, ice cards were becoming an increasingly rare sight by 1957. What were they?

Nybakke Vacuum Shop April 1982

Nybakke is currently celebrating its 85th anniversary, making it one of the oldest family-owned businesses in Central Illinois.

Excuse me, comin’ through May 1968

On May 22, 1968, workers removed a roof off a gas station being dismantled at the corner of Lee and Washington streets on the west end of downtown Bloomington. The roof was being moved to Locust Street where it would be placed atop another gas station.

Waiting for the wrecking ball, 1971 200 block South Main Street

These buildings, located on the west side of the 200 South Main Street, were demolished in the early 1970s to make way for the McLean County Law and Justice Center complex. Who remembers stopping at this National Liquors storefront or having a bite to eat at Baker’s Hamburger Stand?

300 Block North Main Street May 1937

This lovely Depression-era view of a bustling downtown Bloomington shows the east side of the 300 block of North Main Street, one block north of the Courthouse Square.

What catches your eye?

Normal grocery readies opening May 1949

Warren Craft (left) and two clerks, Don Bradbury and Catherine Chambers, prepare for the May 25, 1949 grand opening of Craft’s Food Store at 108 E. Beaufort St. in Uptown Normal.

Eureka Williams aerial June 1966

This summer 1966 view of the near southeast side of Bloomington, looking east, offers a wealth of information. “A” is Oakaland School; “B,” Holiday Club, a private park that the city purchased in 1970; “C,” Meadows subdision; “D,” Lakeside County Club; and “E,” Eureka Williams Co.

What else can you see? Who remembers the water tower north of Holiday Club?

Bloomington’s Federal’s ‘electronic brain’ January 1963

Bloomington Federal Savings & Loan Association claimed to be the first financial institution in Illinois to make use of the NCR 390 computer, which was capable of calculating dividends and mortgage interest—among many other miraculous feats!

Penney’s Readies Eastland Store November 9, 1966

J.C. Penney opened in the new Eastland Shopping Center (now Eastland Mall) on November 10, 1966. This photograph was taken a day before the grand opening as employees readied the store for the expected crush of bargain hunters.

Bloomington Creamery 104 S. East St.

This undated view shows Bloomington Creamery on the 100 block of South East Street. We’re not sure, but that could be creamery manager A.H. Tobias on the left. Today, the shuttered C II East office building is located on this site.

Long way up … and down! WJBC radio tower, 1949

Robert Bible (left) and Wilson Hall of the International Derrick and Equipment Co. of Columbus, Ohio, work on the installation of WJBC’s new radio tower. This 400-foot steel tower was adjacent to the station’s under-construction office and studio building off Route 66 (now Veterans Parkway) on the southwest edge of Bloomington.

Sixty-eight years later WJBC is still located at this site.

Cotton’s Village Inn 401 N. Main St., Bloomington

Melton “Cotton” McNabney and his wife Millie took over management of this downtown eatery in 1948. Located in the basement of the three-story building on the northeast corner of Main and Monroe streets, some old-timers might remember Millie McNabney’s ham loaf, creamed chicken pie, or Swiss steak and pan gravy.

Model-Paris, 1938 Downtown Bloomington

Back in 1938, Model-Paris Launderers & Cleaners had two location in the Twin Cities: 208-216 E. Market St., seen here, and the corner of Beaufort Street and Broadway Avenue in Normal.

The Model-Paris building shown here is long gone. Today the old building site is—what else!—a surface parking lot.

Bloomington’s far west side Undated aerial

At the time of this photograph, Funk Bros. Seed Co. operated the grain silos and complex of buildings seen in the lower half of this view. The plant in the upper right shows a Ralston-Purina Co. facility. Today, the Funk Bros. silos are home to Upper Limits, the popular climbing gym. Cargill, Inc. now operates the Ralston-Purina site.

What else do you see here?

Hot Times on in Downtown Bloomington June 19, 1949

This early summer scene shows a crowd gathered outside the Western Union office on the 200 block of West Washington Street. The business had been evacuated due to a fire call (note the BFD engine parked in the middle of the street).

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