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Union Bus Station, 1956 523 N. East Street, Bloomington

Bloomington bus station, 1956.

“A feeling of sadness that only bus stations have” Jack Kerouac mused in his 1957 novel “On the Road.” Well, we’re pretty sure that Kerouac, in all his riotous travels, never passed through Bloomington’s gone-but-not-forgotten Depression-era station! Located at the northeast corner of East and Douglas streets on the north end of downtown, this station opened on April 1, 1939. The one-story tan brick structure, built in the Streamline Moderne-style popular at the time, included waiting rooms, ticket office, and restrooms. By 1956, the date of this photograph, the station served Greyhound Bus Lines, Illini Coach Co., Peoria Rockford Coach Line, and the local Yellow Cab Co. There was also a lunch counter restaurant to grab a bite to eat.
Illini Swallow Bus Lines Inc. was the last carrier to make use of the station, which closed for good on October 17, 1997. The old building was then razed sometime afterward and the site is now part of Lincoln Park, the “front lawn” of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp is the Librarian at the McLean County Museum of History

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