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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

300 Block North Main Street May 1937

This lovely Depression-era view of a bustling downtown Bloomington shows the east side of the 300 block of North Main Street, one block north of the Courthouse Square.

What catches your eye?

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Written by Bill Kemp in

University School of Beauty Culture September 1939

Margarette Scott’s beauty school was located on the 400 block of North Main Street in downtown Bloomington. “We get personality training too, because we’ve got to please our customers,” one of the students said at the time of this photograph. “Most of the girls are 18 to 25 years old and high school graduates … Nearly half the girls come from farm homes.”

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

What a long, strange trip it’s been … William and Beverly Meyers road trip Spring 1949

William Meyers and his wife Beverly (seen here) spent eight weeks traveling by U.S. Army surplus jeep from the Panama Canal Zone to Central Illinois—some 7,040 miles in all. Beverley’s parents lived in El Paso, Ill. During the epic journey the young couple had but one flat tire.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Illinois State Normal University Junior-Senior Prom, 1949

Several ISNU coeds show off their gowns for the June 10, 1949 junior-senior prom. Louise Claymore (left) is in a blue chiffon; Barbara Schonert (center) in blue satin; and Marilyn McCarthy in beige lace with a stole.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Normal grocery readies opening May 1949

Warren Craft (left) and two clerks, Don Bradbury and Catherine Chambers, prepare for the May 25, 1949 grand opening of Craft’s Food Store at 108 E. Beaufort St. in Uptown Normal.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Extra, extra, read all about it! Pantagraph’s graduation edition, May 1949

Danvers High School seniors are seen here pouring though The Daily Pantagraph’s 56-page graduation edition of May 18, 1949. The Pantagraph distributed complimentary copies to some 2,370 senior from 77 Central Illinois high schools.

These seniors delayed their “skip day” to Starved Rock State Park to get a look at the class photographs.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Eugene Field School Reading Class, October 1949

Eugene Field teacher Kathryn Carnahan leads a crowded classroom of 40 first graders in this October 1949 scene. Opened in 1936, Eugene Field in Normal closed as an elementary school in 2005, and today the 81-year-old building serves as the Vocational Training Center for McLean County Unit District No. 5.

Who’s a Eugene Field alum or had children that attended this neighborhood school?

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Written by Bill Kemp in

BHS Student Lounge May 1948

Bloomington High School students Wanda Rust (right) and Margaret Schlemmer work on murals in the newly opened student lounge, a repurposed second floor classroom. At this time the high school was located on the 500 block of East Washington Street. The current high school opened in 1959.

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Written by Bill Kemp in

Artist and Author Visit Bloomington May 1948

Artist Bob Hooton (left) and writer Dan Wickenden, both fresh from an extended stay in the Central American nation of Guatemala, arrived in Bloomington in mid-May 1948. Hooton, the son of Bloomington architect Phillip Hooton, intended to stay in the Twin Cities for the summer. Wickenden planned to return to his home in Connecticut. Two years later, the dust jacket cover of Wickenden’s novel “The Dry Season” would feature a Hooton painting.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

The Great Levant, February 1950 Pianist performs in Bloomington

Oscar Levant (right), the famed American pianist, composer, and actor, performed with the Bloomington-Normal Symphony on two consecutive nights, February 23 and 24, 1950, at the Scottish Rite Temple (now the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts).

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