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

#1950s

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Fashion Show Prep, late April 1958 Octavia High School, Colfax

Fashion Show, 1958.

This late April 1958 scene shows Octavia High School student Marcella Brucker at a sewing machine working on a dress she planned to model for the May 1 Future Homemakers of America (FHA) fashion show.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Jerry Sohl Shoots for the Stars August 1958

Jerry Sohl, 1958.

After twelve years as a Pantagraph reporter, Gerald “Jerry” Sohl (left) decided to pick up his family and head to California to become a full-time science fiction and fantasy writer. Seen here are his wife Jean Gordon, son Allan, and daughters Marty and Jennifer (we’re not sure who’s who, daughter-wise). Sohl already had nine novels published and would become a successful television scriptwriter.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Normal’s West Side Aerial, c. 1954

Aerial view of Normal, 1954.

Wow, how the Town of Normal has changed since 1954! If you’re having trouble getting your bearings, the view is to the northeast.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

American Passion Play Backstage Laughs, 1954

American Passion Play, 1954.

Every spring Delmar D. Darrah’s theatrical retelling of “the greatest story ever told” is brought back to life on the local stage. The American Passion Play tells the story of Christ and his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. The former Scottish Rite Consistory Temple has served as the play’s home for all but one season. Seen here are actors (left to right) Stanley K. Norton, Gus Winker, and Walter Berg at a late March 1954 rehearsal.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Home TV Storefront, 1954 216 W. Washington St., Bloomington

TV Storefront, 1954.

Cecil M. Carlock opened Home TV sales and repair in January 1954. Home TV lasted a year or two before it closed. Note the glass block cross set in the brick wall to the immediate right. That’s the edge of the old Salvation Army building.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Dedication of Holton Homes Bloomington’s West Side, July 1954

Holton Homes, 1954.

Several hundred folks sat in the shade of a box elder tree in 1954, for the dedication of Bloomington’s new public housing project. The housing project was named for Campbell Holton, who operated a wholesale grocery in Bloomington for nearly a half century.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

ISSCS Bus, School Street, Normal Late May 1958

Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School bus, 1958.

From the end of the Civil War to the 1970s, Normal was home to a state children’s home known as the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School (ISSCS). These kids attended University High at what was then called Illinois State Normal University. The drop-off / pickup stop for ISSCS students was School Street, just north of North Street, near the Fell Gates and today’s ISU Planetarium.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

B-29 Bomber Visits Courthouse Square June 13, 1950

B-29 Bomber, 1950.

Back during the early years of the Cold War the fuselage of a U.S. Air Force B-29 Superfortress was put on display on the McLean County Courthouse Square, presumably as part of a patriotic road show to celebrate America’s technological, industrial, and military might. Air Force personnel were on hand during the June 13, 1950 stop in Bloomington to explain the bomber’s workings and answer questions.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Union Bus Station, 1956 523 N. East Street, Bloomington

Bloomington bus station, 1956.

Located at the northeast corner of East and Douglas streets on the north end of downtown, this station opened on April 1, 1939. The one-story tan brick structure, built in the Streamline Moderne-style popular at the time, included waiting rooms, ticket office, and restrooms. By 1956, the date of this photograph, the station served Greyhound Bus Lines, Illini Coach Co., Peoria Rockford Coach Line, and the local Yellow Cab Co. There was also a lunch counter restaurant to grab a bite to eat.

Read more…

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Postwar Housing Boom Maplewood Subdivision, January 1957

Maplewood subdivision, 1957.

New suburban-like developments sprouted up in the Twin Cities in the years after World War II to accommodate young couples and their Baby Boom children. Seen here are 1404 (left) and 1406 Maplewood Drive in Normal’s Maplewood subdivision.

Read more…