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Archive of: 2015

Say Cheese! ISNU Basketball, 1939

ISU basketball, 1939-1940.

Seen here is the 1939-1940 Illinois State Normal “A” or varsity squad, which would go on to finish the season 21-5 and champions (two years running) of the “Little Nineteen” athletic conference.

Executive Director Greg Koos to retire after 39 years of leadership, preservation, vision

Greg Koos began his career with the Museum in 1977. He plans to retire in March next year.

As the McLean County Museum of History prepares for major exhibit and technology changes that usher in a new era of teaching and promoting local history, the man who -- working with his mentor Barbara Dunbar -- transformed the McLean County Historical Society’s operations into a nationally accredited museum has announced his plans to retire.

Bloomington Municipal Airport June 20, 1941

Aerial view of Bloomington Airport, 1941.

This aerial view of Bloomington Municipal Airport (now Central Illinois Regional Airport, or CIRA) looks northwest and shows the main hanger and East Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Today, this old hanger site is occupied by Image Air and the Prairie Aviation Museum.

Veterans Day, 1958 McLean County Courthouse Lawn

Veterans Day, 1958.

Veterans Day ceremonies have been held on the lawn of the old McLean County Courthouse (now the McLean County Museum of History) for as long as most folks can remember. Seen here is five-year-old Becky McCormick of Charleston, IL, who was here on a visit.

Rhythm Rollers … Rolling and Twirling Miller Park Bandstand, 1947 or 1948

Rhythm Rollers, 1940s.

The “Page from Our Past” feature in Sunday November 8, 2015's Pantagraph delved into the history of the Rhythm Rollers, Bloomington’s very own roller skating dance team active from the 1930s to the 1950s. Seen here is a rare action shot, taken at a 1947 or 1948 performance at the Miller Park bandstand on Bloomington’s west side.

East Side Exodus, November 1966 Penney’s to Eastland Mall

Aerial view of Eastland Mall, 1967.

On November 10, 1966, JCPenney moved into the still under-construction Eastland Shopping Center on what was then the far eastern edge of Bloomington. Eastland Mall would officially open its doors three months later, February 16, 1967, though Penney’s and other retailers, such as Sears, Roebuck and Co., were already doing business there.

Eleanor Roosevelt visits the Twin Cities, November 9-10, 1937

Eleanor Roosevelt, 1937.

On November 9-10, 1937 First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, sans husband Franklin Delano, paid a visit to Bloomington-Normal. Mrs. Roosevelt is seen here relaxing at the Illinois Hotel in downtown Bloomington while taking questions from a Pantagraph reporter.

‘Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile’ 1961 Edition

Fall leaves, 1961.

Seen here is Illinois State Normal University senior Connie Townsend from Princeton, IL, enjoying an idyllic fall day back in early November of 1961.

The Shape of Things to Come Brunton’s First Delivery Truck, 1908

Brunton truck, 1908.

This 1908 scene shows Campbell Brunton behind the wheel of the very first truck owned by the family business, Brunton’s Parcel Delivery and City Express. At the time Campbell worked as a clerk for his father Frank G. Brunton.

St. Mary's Church & School Collection

I am Chelsea Pokrzywinski, a first year graduate student at the University of Illinois studying library and information science. With a bachelor’s degree in history from ISU and the goal of working in a library or museum after graduate school, I felt the museum was the best place to learn what archivists do every day. I worked with several collections during my internship in the fall of 2015, but my main project involved the St. Mary’s Church and School Collection.

‘Lucky Lindy’ Bails Out November 1926

Lindbergh crash, 1926.

On the evening of November 3, 1926, Charles Lindbergh jumped out of his U.S. airmail biplane somewhere in the skies far above McLean County. Flying blind and out of fuel at 13,000 feet, a 24-year-old “Lucky Lindy” parachuted into the inky darkness and blowing snow. He landed unharmed at a farm just outside of Covell, an unincorporated community southwest of Bloomington. Meanwhile, his doomed, pilotless aircraft had crashed nearby.

Happy Halloween! Jefferson School, Bloomington, 1957

Halloween costumes, 1957.

James and Evora Ross, pictured here with their four-year-old daughter Janet, chaired the all-family Jefferson School PTA Halloween party back on October 28, 1957.

Halloween Traditions

These place cards were among many Halloween party favors found in 2009 residing in a wicker trunk in the attic of the Lewis Green Stevenson House at 1316 E. Washington Street in Bloomington.

Although there are several theories regarding the origin of Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, its roots can be traced back to the ancient Celts of Ireland and Northern England. The Celtic New Year begins on November 1st and the festival of Samhain (pronounced “sow-win”) is celebrated on October 31st to mark the end of harvest and the beginning of winter.

Halloween Party, 1939 Holy Trinity Parish Kindergarten, Bloomington

Holy Trinity Parish Halloween party, 1939.

Holy Trinity Catholic Church's afternoon kindergarten class enjoyed candied apples among other treats during this Halloween Day 1939 party.

Twilight of the Interurban Downtown Bloomington, 1950

Downtown terminal, 1950.

This September 1950 scene shows an Illinois Terminal Railroad car trundling past the 200 block of North Madison Street in downtown Bloomington. Illinois Terminal is often misidentified as a city streetcar system. In fact it was an electrified light rail network connecting many Central Illinois communities to each other and St. Louis. Bloomington lost interurban service in February 1953.

Bo Peep Has Found Her Sheep Halloween Parade, Bloomington 1938

Halloween parade, 1938.

A Depression-era tradition in Bloomington was the annual Halloween Mardi Gras parade and street dance. Seen here from the parade of October 31, 1938, is Little Bo Peep played by Joe Raycraft.

October Means ‘Rocktober’ Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival Aerials, May 31, 1970

Rocktober Kickapoo festivak, 1970.

The Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival was held outside of the McLean County community of Heyworth on L. David Lewis’ 320-acre farm over Memorial Day weekend 1970. Seen here are two aerials during the festival’s second day, May 31. The festival drew something like 60,000 young folk.

Illinois State Normal University Homecoming Parade, October 25, 1958

ISU Homecoming parade, 1958.

The Illinois State University homecoming parade has passed through Uptown Normal since the 1920s. Pictured here from the 1958 parade are members of the visiting Northern Illinois University marching band heading east on North Street. In the football game later that afternoon, the #Redbirds dispatched the NIU Huskies 33-18. Illinois Wesleyan University also held its homecoming on this day.

October Means ‘Rocktober’ The Defenbaughs Meets Elvis, 1957

Teenagers holding a photo of Elvis, 1957.

Back in the spring of 1957, Bloomington teenagers Nancy Defenbaugh and her older brother Jim were vacationing in Memphis, TN, with their family. Nancy and Jim kept pestering their parents Ted and Thelma to take them to Elvis Presley’s new residence, and their perseverance paid off. They visited what would be later known as Graceland (then outside Memphis city limits) and Elvis emerged from his house, got on a lawn tractor, and proceeded to motor on over and say hello.

Spooktacular 1957 Jefferson School, Bloomington

Jefferson School Halloween, 1957.

The Jefferson School PTA held an all-family Halloween party on October 28, 1957. Seen here are prize winners for the prettiest, most original, and ugliest costumes. The ballerina (prettiest) is Susan Anderson, the robot (most original) Allan Swartz, and the farmer (ugliest) Carolyn Hirsch.

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