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

Archive of: Historic Photos

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Majestic Theatre, Bloomington May 1937

First opened in 1910, the Majestic Theatre was located at the corner of East and Washington streets in downtown Bloomington. This March 1937 scene shows folks lined up for a musical variety show presented by the employees of State Farm Insurance. The show was held May 26-28.

This old vaudeville house came down in 1956 to make way for the Bloomington Federal Savings and Loan Association building (today known as the Government Center).

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Dennie Bridges, IWU February 1958

The Illinois Wesleyan legend is seen here as a promising freshman guard. A native of Anchor, a small village in eastern McLean County, Bridges would go on to coach the men’s team for 36 seasons, leading the Titans to a NCAA Division III national championship in 1997. He retired as the university’s athletic director in 2015.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Vroom, vroom

This undated photograph shows a Pantagraph motorcycle and sidecar at the corner of Madison and Washington streets. The view is looking east. What a way to deliver newspapers!

Behind the stylish rider is the Hills Hotel, which later became the Tilden-Hall, which was torn down in 1962.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Better Babies Conference May 1929

The Pantagraph and Second Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, sponsored a three-day “Better Babies Conference,” May 7-9, 1929. Seen here are participants gathered around the registration table at Second Presbyterian. Seated is Nellie Motherway, president of the Holy Trinity School Parent Teacher Association.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Arrowsmith High School

Built in 1929, this building served as the Village of Arrowsmith’s high school until consolidation with neighboring Saybrook in 1952. The old high school was then used as the consolidated junior high before falling to the wrecking ball.

Today, Arrowsmith students attend Ridgeview High School in Colfax

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Pillsbury House The Wrecking Ball Looms

Second Empire and Italianate architectural style house.

This undated photograph was taken not too long before this historic house, a mix of Second Empire and Italianate architectural styles, was torn down.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Illini Coach Ray Eliot, 1942 Young Men’s Club luncheon

University of Illinois head football coach Ray Eliot addressing the Young Men’s Club at the Illinois Hotel in downtown Bloomington

On February 10, 1942, new University of Illinois head football coach Ray Eliot (that’s Eliot with one “L”) addressed the Young Men’s Club at the Illinois Hotel in downtown Bloomington. Eliot would go on to lead the Illini for 18 seasons, winning 3 Big Ten titles and 2 Rose Bowls.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Television comes to Danvers June 1949

Who remembers television coming to their home? In June 1949, The Pantagraph reported on the arrival of television to several area communities.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington’s far west side Undated aerial

At the time of this photograph, Funk Bros. Seed Co. operated the grain silos and complex of buildings seen in the lower half of this view. The plant in the upper right shows a Ralston-Purina Co. facility. Today, the Funk Bros. silos are home to Upper Limits, the popular climbing gym. Cargill, Inc. now operates the Ralston-Purina site.

What else do you see here?

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

‘Tied in knots’ outside of Heyworth June 1949

A massive knot disfigured an old black oak on the Charles Hall farm one mile east of Heyworth.

A massive knot disfigured an old black oak on the Charles Hall farm one mile east of Heyworth. Seen here is young Eugene Smith of Heyworth examining this unnatural-looking natural oddity.

Read more…