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#1940s

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bohemian Bloomington Evans Building, December 1947

Evans Building, 1947.

In the mid-1940s, the Evans Building earned the nickname “Little Greenwich Village” due to all the colorful characters that made the downtown high-rise their home or place of business. The Evans is actually two buildings—one fronting Jefferson Street and the other Main Street—which together form an “L” around the old Corn Belt Bank building.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church Bloomington, June 9, 1940

Baptist Church, 1940.

Founded in October 1865 as South Hill Baptist Church, Mt Pisgah Baptist Church has played an important leadership role in the local African-American community for 150-plus years. Seen here is Mt. Pisgah’s previous home at 701 S. Lee St., which the church built and opened in 1915-1916.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Patrol Boys Confab, January 1946 Franklin School, Bloomington

Franklin School patrol boys, 1946.

Some 140 patrol boys from nine Bloomington public schools gathered at Franklin School on January 8, 1946, for a joint meeting on traffic safety. Seen here is the gathering’s principal speaker, Capt. Emerson H. Westwick (left) of the Illinois State Highway Patrol, bantering with some of the local lads.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

On Your Mark . . . Street Sledding, December 31, 1946

Sledding, 1946.

Who says there aren’t hills in Central Illinois? These youngsters took advantage of the chilly, snowy weather over the 1946-1947 New Year’s holiday to go sledding down an icy stretch of South Lee Street in Bloomington.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

U.S. Declares War The Pantagraph, December 8, 1941

Congress declares war on Japan, 1941.

The U.S. Congress declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941, in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor the previous day. On December 8, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his “Day of Infamy” speech to a joint session of Congress at 12:30 p.m. (the address was reprinted on page 7 of that day’s Pantagraph, shown here).

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Ho ho ho Livingston’s Santas, 1940s

Linvingston's Christmas Santa, 1940s.

From the 1940s to the mid-1970s, A. Livingston & Sons in downtown Bloomington hoisted two giants Santas onto its overhang for the holiday season. The two identical Santas (only one is shown here) were about 13 feet in height and likely made of some early plastic or fiberglass material. Livingston’s was a locally owned department store on the south side of the Courthouse Square.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Whoa dude! ‘Hemp for Victory,’ 1942

Industrial hemp demonstration, 1942.

In late November 1942, during World War II, farm advisers and agriculture officials from Central Illinois gathered in Bloomington to hear about the importance of growing hemp for the war effort. That’s right, industrial hemp was needed to make rope and other things, such as harnesses and shroud lines for airborne troops. Seen here exhibiting hemp “straw” at the November 23 meeting are J. Francis Buck (left) of the Illinois Agricultural Adjustment Agency (AAA) and Dr. W.L. Burlison of the University of Illinois.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Say Cheese! ISNU Basketball, 1939

ISU basketball, 1939-1940.

Seen here is the 1939-1940 Illinois State Normal “A” or varsity squad, which would go on to finish the season 21-5 and champions (two years running) of the “Little Nineteen” athletic conference.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington Municipal Airport June 20, 1941

Aerial view of Bloomington Airport, 1941.

This aerial view of Bloomington Municipal Airport (now Central Illinois Regional Airport, or CIRA) looks northwest and shows the main hanger and East Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Today, this old hanger site is occupied by Image Air and the Prairie Aviation Museum.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Rhythm Rollers … Rolling and Twirling Miller Park Bandstand, 1947 or 1948

Rhythm Rollers, 1940s.

The “Page from Our Past” feature in Sunday November 8, 2015's Pantagraph delved into the history of the Rhythm Rollers, Bloomington’s very own roller skating dance team active from the 1930s to the 1950s. Seen here is a rare action shot, taken at a 1947 or 1948 performance at the Miller Park bandstand on Bloomington’s west side.

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