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

#1940s

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Esquire Theatre, circa 1944 Downtown Bloomington

Esquire Theater, 1944.

There aren’t too many known photographs of the Esquire Theatre, 108 N. Madison St., Bloomington. This one was taken by longtime Bloomington-Normal projectionist Karl Blakney, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 91. Karl was also an accomplished amateur photographer, and the Museum Archives holds a collection of his photographs.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Mother Road Turns Deadly October 28, 1949

Route 66 crash, 1949.

John M. Newman of Pittsfield, IL, was killed on October 28, 1949, when his Pacific Intermountain Express truck sideswiped an automobile parked along Route 66 south of Bloomington. The owner of the parked vehicle, 20-year-old Donald Slaughter of Bloomington, was unharmed in the tragic accident.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Homecoming 1949 Bloomington High School

Bloomington High School homecoming, 1949.

Seen here are two photographs of Bloomington’s 1949 homecoming festivities. The photo on the left shows the BHS homecoming queen with her attendants. The photo on the right shows the October 28 parade as the floats round Washington Street.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Angelic Coeds, September 27, 1940 Dedication of the Van Leer Chime Tower

Van Leer Chime Tower, 1940.

Bill Kemp's “Page from Our Past” column in the Pantagraph (linked below) detailed the estate in south Normal The September 27, 1940 dedication ceremony of the history of the chime tower on the Broadview Mansion included theatrical elements, such as Illinois Wesleyan University students Dorothy Mae Wilson and Helen Jean Brooks dressed as angels.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week, 130: Dogs of War, 1946 Bella and Her Two Surprises

U.S. Army veteran Dwight Pierceall of Normal, Dog Bella, and two puppies

U.S. Army veteran Dwight Pierceall of Normal received quite a shock on June 6, 1946, when he opened a crate sent from Europe. Inside was Bella, a canine refugee from war-torn Europe. That wasn’t the surprise though...

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week,129: Reserve Champions Illinois State Fair, August 17, 1949

Illinois State Fair - Gordon Ropp of Normal, winner in the Jersey class; Wayne Mohr of Normal, winner in the Guernsey class; and John Kline of LeRoy, tops in the Hereford class.

McLean County 4-H youth have an enviable record when it comes to Illinois State Fair showings. Back on August 17, 1949, for instance, McLean County boasted three reserve champions...

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Reserve Champions Illinois State Fair, August 17, 1949

Illinois State Fair, 1949.

McLean County 4-H youth have an enviable record when it comes to Illinois State Fair showings. Back on August 17, 1949, for instance, McLean County boasted three reserve champions. Seen here (left to right) at the fairgrounds in Springfield are Gordon Ropp of Normal, winner in the Jersey class.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos
Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week, 123: Burkey’s Bowling Palace, Grand Opening, Aug.16-17, 1941

Joseph E. Burkey and his wife Leila opened their six-lane bowling “palace” in mid-August 1941, at 211 E. Front St

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Flag Day, 1948

Local Girl Scouts hoist Old Glory at Forrest Park in south Bloomington in preparation for Flag Day 1948. Running the Stars and Stripes is Mary Jane Anderson, assisted by Joanie Magirl. In the background (left to right) are Karen Figg, Carole Colteaux, and Peggy Bennington. Happy Flag Day from the Museum!

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