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Seen here is “High Tide,” first-place winner of the June 20-21, 1953 horse show in the hackney singles stake. Owned by S.S. Ferguson of Heyworth, “High Tide’ was driven by Orris Gray (holding the reins). Presenting the trophy (center) is Philip Schandein. Joe Wiltermood is on the left.
The McLean County chapter of Flying Farmers offered free airplane rides to some 70 moms and dads on Father’s Day, June 21, 1953.
Seen here at Bloomington Municipal Airport are Ivel Wade (left) and Art Hill (right) holding ten-month-olds.
This late May 1936 scene shows James Moberly (though which individual is James is unknown) of Funks Grove Township grinding valves and fitting new rings on his McCormick-Deering Farmall F-30 tractor. Moberly was preparing the tractor before his corn was ready for cultivation.
In late July 1922, the McLean County Farm Bureau and the McLean County Home Bureau held a picnic west of Bloomington for farmers and rural folk from six area townships. A crew from Homestead Films, Inc. of Chicago was also there to shoot scenes for a seven-reel silent picture to be called “The Yoke of Age.”
It is impossible to study the history of agriculture and rural life in McLean County without examining the career of Gordon Ropp. His dedication to the advancement of agriculture and enrichment of rural life has played an instrumental role in shaping McLean County.
In June 1936, the Danvers Farmers Elevator Association announced plans to upgrade its facilities, a project that included replacement of the 1902 wood-sided elevator shown here, as well as construction of a new powerhouse, coal sheds, and other buildings.
In late November 1942, during World War II, farm advisers and agriculture officials from Central Illinois gathered in Bloomington to hear about the importance of growing hemp for the war effort. That’s right, industrial hemp was needed to make rope and other things, such as harnesses and shroud lines for airborne troops. Seen here exhibiting hemp “straw” at the November 23 meeting are J. Francis Buck (left) of the Illinois Agricultural Adjustment Agency (AAA) and Dr. W.L. Burlison of the University of Illinois.
In the 76 years since these photographs were taken the Corn Belt countryside has undergone an absolute transformation when it comes to matters of mechanization, depopulation, storage, hybridization, the end of diversification, and genetics, among many other profound changes.
It was arguably the single largest event ever staged in McLean County history. Despite the cancellation of the first day due to muddy field conditions, the 1994 Farm Progress Show attracted an estimated 150,000 folks to the G.J. Mecherle Trust Farm off Illinois Route 9 several miles east of Bloomington.
The Village of McLean in the southwestern corner of McLean County used to stage an annual Harvest Festival. Seen here is the McLean Supper Club float.
McLean County 4-H youth have an enviable record when it comes to Illinois State Fair showings. Back on August 17, 1949, for instance, McLean County boasted three reserve champions...
McLean County 4-H youth have an enviable record when it comes to Illinois State Fair showings. Back on August 17, 1949, for instance, McLean County boasted three reserve champions. Seen here (left to right) at the fairgrounds in Springfield are Gordon Ropp of Normal, winner in the Jersey class.
Back in 1955, the McLean County Farm Bureau purchased Emile Philip Schandein’s 78-acre farm for $60,000. Located at the southwest corner of Illinois Route 9 and Hershey Road and just east of what would become Veterans Parkway, this old farm then served as the home of the McLean County Fair for more than 40 years.
From 1935 to 1955 (with one exception) the McLean County 4-H Fair was held at Fans Field, an old minor league ballpark on Bloomington’s south side, off Main Street and behind (or east) of the National Guard Armory.
This fascinating photograph is a mystery to Museum staff. The only thing we’re sure about is that it was taken on June 30, 1958.
In 1942, Edward Adams discussed the benefits of raising honeybees during the sugar shortage and civilian rationing spurred by World War II.
Happy Halloween from the board, staff, volunteers and members of the McLean County Museum of History!
On May 1, 1939, neighbors gathered at Grover Proctor's farm to take care of the spring plowing. Proctor, suffering from complications from pneumonia, was unable to get outside and do the necessary plowing on his farm.
This scene shows an unidentified area farmer still making use of an old horse-drawn, two-row planter.