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

#1930s

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

Saybrook’s last Civil War widow Emma Cook, May 1938

Seen here is 85-year-old Emma Cook, on the porch of her Saybrook home, looking at a portrait of her late husband Riley Cook, a veteran who died in July 1918. Mrs. Cook was the village’s last Civil War widow. She passed away on August 5, 1941.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Free-range Kids April 1938

This mystery photograph comes from the Museum’s collection of Pantagraph negatives. We don’t know the names of these kids or the rural location of this cistern or stock pond. If you can help with the identification, let us know!

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Elizabeth Paullin Funk Undated

This circa early 1930s portrait of Elizabeth Paullin Funk was taken by Clara Brian, longtime McLean County Home Bureau adviser. The Museum holds several hundred of her photographs.

Elizabeth Paullin married Marquis de LaFayette Funk in 1864. He built the sprawling country residence outside of Shirley that is now the Funk Prairie Home historic site. Elizabeth is seen here in the Prairie Home’s living room.

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Written by Bill Kemp in

‘Private Joe’ Fifer Memorial Day 1934

The gentlemen in the center is Joseph “Private Joe” Fifer of Bloomington, who served as Illinois governor from 1889 to 1893. For Memorial Day 1934. Fifer, a Civil War veteran, recited Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to a crowd gathered at Bloomington Cemetery (now part of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery). On the right is A.T. Ives, another Civil War veteran.

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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).

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Soap Box Derby Saybrook, July 14, 1937

​That’s Bob Butler on the white pony towing Eugene Stauffer, third-place soap box derby finisher in the Class B division.

That’s Bob Butler on the white pony towing Eugene Stauffer, third-place soap box derby finisher in the Class B division.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Face-off! Angler’s Club, Bloomington January 1938

Angler's Club playing hockey on Angler's Lake on January 31, 1938

Hockey players Carson, Bower, Smith, Rasmussen, Walsh, and Redman play hockey on Angler's Lake, one of several old play pits. The club has since disbanded.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Excelsior School -- Cheney’s Grove Township, 1938

Three boys in school constructing a model home, 1938

Excelsior School was one of more than 250 one-room schools in McLean County. Joe and Jack Powell working on the kitchen floor while Gayle Bane looks on.

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