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Archive of: Labor

Municipal Workers on Strike May 1968

Bloomington’s public service employees responsible for garbage pickup and cleanup work staged a seven-day strike in early May 1968. This May 6 scene shows the wives and supporters of the striking workers gathered on the south side of the Courthouse Square. The following day the 60-plus municipal employees on strike agreed to a proposed pay hike hammered out with the help of a mediator.

If you can identify anyone in this photo, please let us know! Update: Left to right: Helen Sims, Ginny Cochran, Elanor Burton.

Beats shoveling … Normal, Dec. 22, 1953

Two men out plowing the drive, 1953.

Three inches of snow had Don Locke of Bryan’s Standard Service Station out plowing the drive. Today, this site is occupied by Illinois State University’s Professional Development Building.

Herman Glaser, December 1952 Stanford’s Toy Maker

Homemade mechanical toy, 1952

Stanford resident and retired farmer Herman Glaser displayed several of his personally designed and built mechanical toys. This included a working 32-inch Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, and a yet-to-be-completed revolving Christmas tree.

LeRoy’s CCC Camp August 1934

Aerial photo of LeRoy CCC camps, 1934.

LeRoy was home to a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) work camp during the Great Depression. Camp LeRoy opened in May 1934, and the unmarried young men stationed there worked on soil erosion control projects.

Herman Jack’s Christmas tree December 1952

Herman Jack holding young Christmas tree, 1952.

In 1950, farmer Herman Jack planted 1,500 evergreen seedlings. In late December 1952 Jack selected one of the surviving 1,300 evergreens.

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.

Big 4 Valley Storm Sewer Project Mid-1930s, Bloomington

PWA sewer project, 1930s.

During the Great Depression an infusion of federal dollars through New Deal “alphabet” agencies and projects kept millions of Americans on the job and able to put food on the family table. In 1934, the Bloomington-Normal Sanitary District received a loan and grant from the PWA to construct a storm water sewer running roughly 3,000 feet.

Waterless Lake Bloomington Circa July 1929

Aerial photo of Lake Bloomington, undated.

This aerial, taken by The Pantagraph’s own news plane “Scoop,” shows the northern end of under-construction Lake Bloomington in the summer of 1929. By the following spring, late March 1930, the city was pumping fresh water from this lake to the city reservoir off Division Street.

Corn Belt Harvest September 1939

Corn Belt Harvest, 1939.

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.

Labor Day in Bloomington Circa 1920

Labor Day, 1920.

Bloomington’s first Labor Day parade was held on September 7, 1891, three years before the day became a national holiday. This parade float, dating to sometime around 1920, is the handiwork of the International Brotherhood of Blacksmiths and Helpers Local 79. This local represented blacksmiths at the Chicago & Alton Railroad Shops on the city’s west side.

Photo of the Week, 114: Downtown Bloomington, 1931

Seen here is the 100 block of N. Madison St. in 1931

Seen here is the 100 block of N. Madison St. in 1931.

Photo of the Week, 104: Wintertime Construction - State Farm Insurance Addition, January 1939

Wintertime Construction - State Farm Insurance Addition, January 1939

This image, taken January 25, 1939, shows two workers some 7 stories above tightening bolts in the dead of winter.

Photo of the Week, 62: Brother can you spare a . . . tractor

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.

Photo of the Week, 51: Unexpected Archaeology, Downtown Bloomington, 1969

In November 1969, employees of Danville, IL-based Fairhall Elevator Co., while installing a new elevator at American State Bank on the east side of the Courthouse Square, were surprised to uncover remnants of an older elevator.

McHistory: Workin' In A Coal Mine

At the turn of the 20th century, a certain woman journalist put out four columns a week. She was a prolific writer turning in 2000 words at a crack, a wonderful interviewer, and nobody's fool. Madam Annette talked with everyone from businessmen and public officials to jail inmates. During GLT's recurring series "McHistory" we hear portions of one of Madam Annette's columns as she explores a coal mine under Bloomington. McLean County Museum of History Development Director Beth Whisman reads the column with comment from Archivist Bill Kemp.

Hear the audio here

"McHistory" is a co-production of WGLT and the McLean County Museum of History using the letters, diaries, and documents of days gone by

Photo of the Week, 29: Blue Collar Bloomington

Hayes-Custer Stove Company, 1933.

Photo of the Week, 11: Corn Planting, May 1937

This scene shows an unidentified area farmer still making use of an old horse-drawn, two-row planter.

Photo of the Week, 5: Beich Employees Packing Whiz Bars

Beich Candy Co, This photograph shows the interior of the 170,000-square foot factory at 1302 W. Grove St

This undated photograph shows Paul F. Beich Candy Co. employees packing Whiz Bars, a marshmallow, chocolate and peanut concoction that was the local confectioner's best seller. Beich established a Bloomington-based candy company under his name in 1892.

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