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Archive of: Military

Red Cross knitters July 1940

In the summer of 1940, Marietta Howard, McLean County Red Cross executive secretary, issued an “S.O.S.” for local knitters. The local chapter hoped to soon knit 200 sweaters and other items for its war relief program.

We’re not sure who’s who here, or where this scene takes place. If you can help us out with any identification, we’d sure appreciate it.

Memorial Day 1964 Park Hill Cemetery, Bloomington

The Twin Cities and surrounding communities have honored their war dead since the first local Decoration Day was organized after the Civil War.

This Memorial Day 1964 scene shows Army Lt. Bernard Borson, chaplain at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, speaking at the soldiers’ monument at Park Hill Cemetery.

Memorial Day 1964 Evergreen Memorial Cemetery

The Bloomington High School marching band passes through the gates of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery on Bloomington’s south side for a Memorial Day program. “Our nation, our young men of necessity, play a role in the tragic drama now a part of current world events on this Memorial Day,” Edward B. Akin of the Illinois Veterans’ Commission told those gathered for a ceremony at the cemetery.

Memorial Day 1936 Downtown Bloomington

The McLean County Legion Drum Corps, debuting their new uniforms, march south down Main Street on Saturday, May 30, 1936, during Bloomington’s annual Memorial Day parade.

Defense Work at Firestone May 1968

a woman is pictured standing in the middle of a gigantic approx 12 foot diameter firestone tire.

Janet Froemming, receptionist at the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (now Bridgestone Tires) plant in Normal, gets a close look at a tire produced for the U.S. Army’s latest generation amphibious vehicle known as the LARC (Lighter, Amphibious Resupply, Cargo). These LARC tires were first shipped to the Army Depot in Polk, CA on May 29, 1968.

Memorial Day tradition Poppy Sales, May 1938

Three men and three women are pictured with a pile of flowers in the foreground. One of the women is pinning a flower to one of the Men's jackets, while the others watch.

The local Veterans of Foreign Wars John H. Kraus post prepares for its 17th annual poppy sale in this late May 1938 photograph. Left to right: Fred E. Crone, post commander; Marie Cooper, Anderson-Fike auxiliary president; Emmet Koos and Catherine Lawrence, poppy committee members; Ruth McReynolds, auxiliary poppy committee chair; and Grant Cooper, post poppy committee chair.

Redd-Williams Legion Post McBarnes Building, January 1942

Seen here are Redd-Williams American Legion Post #163 members at the McBarnes Memorial Building on East Grove Street in Bloomington. For much of the 20th century the Twin Cities had segregated Legion posts.

If you can identify any of these unidentified gentlemen, please let us know.

Local Guardsmen Head to Chicago June 1938

On June 20, 1938, about 40 members of Bloomington’s 2nd Battalion, 108th Quartermaster Regiment, headed to Chicago for the annual Illinois National Guard military show at Soldier Field. They’re seen here boarding a truck near the old armory (which was lost in a building collapse in 2011) in the warehouse district.

Saybrook’s last Civil War widow Emma Cook, May 1938

Seen here is 85-year-old Emma Cook, on the porch of her Saybrook home, looking at a portrait of her late husband Riley Cook, a veteran who died in July 1918. Mrs. Cook was the village’s last Civil War widow. She passed away on August 5, 1941.

‘Private Joe’ Fifer Memorial Day 1934

The gentlemen in the center is Joseph “Private Joe” Fifer of Bloomington, who served as Illinois governor from 1889 to 1893. For Memorial Day 1934. Fifer, a Civil War veteran, recited Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to a crowd gathered at Bloomington Cemetery (now part of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery). On the right is A.T. Ives, another Civil War veteran.

Redd-Williams Legion Post January 1942

Seen here are Redd-Williams post members and auxiliary leaders planning a President’s Birthday Ball for January 30, 1942.

For much of the 20th century the Twin Cities had segregated American Legion posts. Seen here are Redd-Williams post members and auxiliary leaders planning a President’s Birthday Ball for January 30, 1942.

​World War II Scrap Drive Colfax, June 1943

image of a pile of scrap outside an elevator in Colfax

In the early summer of 1943, some forty Colfax area residents, mostly farmers, gathered twenty tons of scrap for the war effort.

Armistice Day 1945 parade Downtown Bloomington

Armistice Day parade, 1945.

This photograph offers a partial view of the 200 block of North Main Street, looking southeast. The Unity Building, one of the great office buildings, was lost in a fire in 1988.

George Stewart World War I veteran

World War I veteran, 1940s.

This photograph shows George Stewart, a local (and well-decorated) World War I veteran. Though hard to believe, at one time Bloomington had separate Legion posts for black and white veterans.

Armistice Day, 1945 Courthouse Square, Bloomington

Armistice Day salute, 1945.

Veterans Day was first known as “Armistice Day.” Seen here is the 1945 Armistice Day ceremony a little more than two months after the end of World War II.

Gold Star Mothers Undated

​The American Gold Star Mothers, undated.

The American Gold Star Mothers organization consists of mothers who have lost a son or daughter to military service. This photograph is undated, though far left is Hazel Millard, founder and president of the Bloomington Gold Star Mothers chapter.

American Legion Carnival Bon-Go Park, July 3-8, 1933

Aerial view of Bon-Go Park carnival, 1933.

The American Legion Louis E. Davis Post No. 56 sponsored a six-day carnival at Bon-Go Park, the popular leisure grounds a few miles south of downtown Bloomington. The carnival included the Beckmann and Gerety Shows, billed as “America’s cleanest carnival.”

Eighth Grade Graduates Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home, 1928

Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School eight grade graduates, 1928.

Twelve eighth grade graduates from the Illinois Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home (later renamed the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School, or ISSCS) pose for this late spring 1928 photograph. Unfortunately, the only students positively identified are Richard Griffith (middle, back row) and Thelma Capshaw (second from left, front row).

Illinois Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home Home Band, 1930

ISSCS band, 1930.

The Pantagraph recounted the story of the Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home Band, organized in 1897-98 and active into the 1960s. This state-run home in north Normal changed its name to the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School (ISSCS) in 1931.

ISSCS Bus, School Street, Normal Late May 1958

Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School bus, 1958.

From the end of the Civil War to the 1970s, Normal was home to a state children’s home known as the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School (ISSCS). These kids attended University High at what was then called Illinois State Normal University. The drop-off / pickup stop for ISSCS students was School Street, just north of North Street, near the Fell Gates and today’s ISU Planetarium.

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