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#1940s

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Red, White, and Kaboom! Independence Day 1941

Nine-year-old Tommy Roberts of Bloomington stocks up on fireworks for the July 4, 1941 festivities.

The Museum wishes you and yours a happy—and safe!—Fourth of July

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Tot Tries Tiny Tractor August 1947

Three-year-old Janet Schultze gets comfortable on her father Floyd Schultze’s two-cylinder, nine horsepower tractor. This was no child’s toy, however, as this miniature machine was strong enough to pull a 12-inch plow or a 56-inch disc cultivator.

Floyd Schultze ran a tractor repair shop in Chenoa.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bull in Barbershop Hudson, June 19, 1947

We’ve all heard the expression “bull in a china shop,” but how about one in a barbershop?

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Mackinaw River swimmin’ hole July 1941

A few hundred yards west of the old Mackinaw River bridge, about one mile west of Lexington, was one of the lovelier swimming holes in all McLean County. Seen here during the summer of 1941 are Christine Kinslow (left) and Christine Underwood, both of Lexington. The owner of the head bobbing in the waters behind them is unknown!

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Miller Park Beach July 1941

For decades Miller Park beach was the most popular spots in the Twin Cities to cool off during the summer months. If you can identify any or all of these three swimmers, let us know! Miller Park beach closed for good in 2002.

Who remembers spending time at this beach?

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Redd-Williams Legion Post McBarnes Building, January 1942

Seen here are Redd-Williams American Legion Post #163 members at the McBarnes Memorial Building on East Grove Street in Bloomington. For much of the 20th century the Twin Cities had segregated Legion posts.

If you can identify any of these unidentified gentlemen, please let us know.

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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

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

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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