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200 North Main St | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

Collection Description

General Electric opened in Bloomington in 1955 at 1601 GE Road in then-rural east Bloomington.  The plant, which employed some 1,000 in the early years, was part of a post-World War II movement that saw factories leave the core of inner cities for more lush suburban surroundings.  It also was among the first Twin City businesses to provide higher-paying employment opportunities for blacks.

General Electric decided to close the Bloomington plant by the end of 2010 because of the slowing, shifting economy.   The plant made electrical control equipment but was operating well under capacity.  The steady shrinking of the plant is owed to outsourcing jobs to other plants in the United States and abroad (such as Puerto Rico), changing technology, and increasingly automated assembly.  In October 2010, 66 people were employed, down from 96 the year before.  All but one of the employees who left took early retirement. 

This collection is mostly comprised of hundreds of issues from multiple Bloomington GE newsletters from 1955-2005 plus newsletters from plants across the country.  Also included are 6 folders containing scrapbook pages with newspaper clippings, all related to GE employees and company news.  Also included are two phonograph records and lyrics to the song “GE Control Country,” one 1943 catalog, and 4 display boards from the GE lobby.


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