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Archive of: 2015

Labor Day Parade Bloomington, 1985

Labor Day parade, 1985.

“Buy American—Save the USA” was the theme for the September 2, 1985, Labor Day parade.

Fall Means College Football ISNU ‘Teachers,’ 1907

Illinois State University football, 1907.

Back in 1907, the Illinois State Normal University Teachers finished the season undefeated against college-level competition—9 wins and 0 losses. The Teachers earned victories over Wesleyan (twice), Milliken, Monmouth College, Knox College, Northern Illinois, Bradley, Western Illinois, and Eastern Illinois.

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.

‘Modernistic’ Main Street July 1939

Service Station, 1939.

This Standard Oil Co. service station opened on July 29, 1939. The modernistic design sparkled with its glazed brick and terra cotta exterior and a color scheme of cream, blue, and red. It remained a Standard station into the late 1950s.

‘Old School’ Public Transportation Twin City Streetcars Date to 1867

Bloomington streetcars, 1867.

The week of September 2, 2015 marked 148th anniversary of the first official run of the Bloomington-Normal streetcar system. It was on September 6, 1867, that the Bloomington & Normal Horse Railway inaugurated its first line, which connected Downtown Bloomington with Uptown Normal. As implied in the system’s original name, the earliest streetcars were pulled by horses. The system was electrified in 1890.

All the World’s a Stage Community Players, December 1953

Community players, 1953.

Community Players Theatre has been a local cultural treasure since its first staged production way back in 1923. Thirty-three years later, on December 3-4, 1956, the volunteer theater company staged the bewitching romantic comedy “Bell, Book and Candle.”

Photo of the Week, 130: Dogs of War, 1946 Bella and Her Two Surprises

U.S. Army veteran Dwight Pierceall of Normal, Dog Bella, and two puppies

U.S. Army veteran Dwight Pierceall of Normal received quite a shock on June 6, 1946, when he opened a crate sent from Europe. Inside was Bella, a canine refugee from war-torn Europe. That wasn’t the surprise though...

Photo of the Week,129: Reserve Champions Illinois State Fair, August 17, 1949

Illinois State Fair - Gordon Ropp of Normal, winner in the Jersey class; Wayne Mohr of Normal, winner in the Guernsey class; and John Kline of LeRoy, tops in the Hereford class.

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...

Reserve Champions Illinois State Fair, August 17, 1949

Illinois State Fair, 1949.

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.

Collection Highlight: Ross Vinson, Funk Bro. Seed Company Photographer

Much of my time as Registrar at the McLean County Museum of History is spent looking through the lens of a camera, photographing the 20,000+ objects in our collection. Capturing the perfect image doesn’t always come easily and I’m always impressed by anyone with a good eye for photography. One such individual is Ross Vinson...

McLean County Fairgrounds, 1956

Aerial view of McLean county fairgrounds, 1956.

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.

Photo of the Week, 128: Dog Days of Summer Miller Park, 1937

Oh where oh where did the summer go? That’s a common refrain heard around these parts as we enter the dog days of the season and the school year fast approaches...

McLean County Fair, 1951

Aerial view of the McLean County fair, 1951.

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.

Intern Reflection: Chloe Harkins

My Communications degree program at Illinois State University requires an internship.When I started at ISU last fall I was apprehensive about it. Where would I apply? Would I have time to fit it in with my work schedule? What would I like to do? These questions ran through my noggin' over and over until I realized what I really enjoyed…talking and history.

Photo of the Week, 127: Death in Central Illinois, 1948

Photo of the Week, 126: ‘Fab Four’ in Bloomington, 1950

British foreign exchange students (left to right) Anthony Lodge, Ian Humphreys (though in local news coverage Ian’s last name was also spelled Humphries), Michael Wasilewski, and Alan Evans

Seen here are British foreign exchange students (left to right) Anthony Lodge, Ian Humphreys (though in local news coverage Ian’s last name was also spelled Humphries), Michael Wasilewski, and Alan Evans...

What’s Your Favorite Flavor?

National Ice Cream Day, 1988.

Seen here from March 1988 are Laesch employees Ben Christiansen (left) and Ben Kiley filling and packing a supply of chocolate almond ice cream.

Photo of the Week, 125: Coachman Motel September 1962

The Coachman Motel

The Coachman Motel opened on January 30, 1961, at 406 E. Washington St., on the eastern edge of downtown Bloomington.

Photo of the Week, 124: ‘Swing Time’ at Victory Hall October 1935

904 Hovey Ave. in Normal, Victory Hall

Opened in 1919 and located at 904 Hovey Ave. in Normal, Victory Hall was a safe place for boys from troubled families.

‘Swing Time’ at Victory Hall October 1935

Swing set, 1935.

Opened in 1919 and located at 904 Hovey Ave. in Normal, Victory Hall was a safe place for boys from troubled families. At the time of this photograph (unfortunately, no one is identified) Victory Hall was home to 43 “wards”.

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