“Building a Better Home Town,” by H. Clay Tate was published in 1954. He wrote from his experiences as editor of The Daily Pantagraph and also as a participant in the Central Illinois Betterment Program. This experimental program was designed to strengthen small communities by encouraging self-analysis of needs and potentialities along with relationships to surrounding communities.

The Way It Was in McLean County 1972-1822,” began 1968, as part of the State of Illinois sesquicentennial projects, when community leaders tapped Tate to write a current history of McLean County. Tate spent four years researching and writing this volume.
The history begins in 1822 with the first settlers in the Blooming Grove area and details successive changes in farming methods, industries, the absorption of local businesses by nationwide corporations, growth of State Farm Insurance, changes to the Illinois State Normal University, and other transitions in the middle third of the 20th century.

Tate was born in Eldorado, Illinois, earned a bachelors degree from Illinois College, and worked for a variety of Illinois newspapers before becoming the editor of the Daily Pantagraph in 1945.