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#1950s

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Twin City Stork Club New Year’s Day 1958

New Years baby, 1958.

Nancy Sue Hannah was the first Bloomington-Normal newborn of 1958, arriving 12 hours and 25 minutes into the new year. Also pictured here at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bloomington are the parents Esther and Larry Hannah. Nancy Sue was the first child for the couple, who lived at 815 W. Jefferson St. in Bloomington.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Be of Good Cheer Livingston’s, Early 1950s

Livingston's Christmas, 1950s.

Seen here from the early 1950s is Livingston’s, the gone-but-not-forgotten local department store on the south side of the Courthouse Square. The giant waving Santas standing upon the store’s overhang were a beloved holiday tradition from the late 1940s into the mid-1970s.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

ISSCS Christmas Circa 1950

Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School children, 1950.

Christmastime at the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School in Normal included many traditional activities, such as trimming the tree. Seen here are ISSCS students decorating a Christmas tree placed in front of the state orphanage’s Norman-style residential cottages.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bright Lights in Time for Christmas Downtown Bloomington, December 1958

Christmas lights, 1958.

On Dec. 19, 1958, Bloomington Mayor Robert McGraw threw a ceremonial switch to light about half of the 65 new mercury vapor streetlamps along a stretch of Main Street from Walnut Street south to MacArthur Avenue. Seen here is the 500 block of North Main Street looking south. This block was once “furniture row” with Leath & Co. visible on the right

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Winter Wonderland Miller Park Ice Skating, 1958

Miller Park ice-skaters, 1958.

Ice skating was once popular at Miller Park on Bloomington’s west side. Fifty-seven years ago, mid-December 1958, three young women (left to right) Helen Johnson, Judy Johnson, and Raylene Mitchell finish prepping before heading for the ice on the park’s smaller lagoon.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Veterans Day, 1958 McLean County Courthouse Lawn

Veterans Day, 1958.

Veterans Day ceremonies have been held on the lawn of the old McLean County Courthouse (now the McLean County Museum of History) for as long as most folks can remember. Seen here is five-year-old Becky McCormick of Charleston, IL, who was here on a visit.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Happy Halloween! Jefferson School, Bloomington, 1957

Halloween costumes, 1957.

James and Evora Ross, pictured here with their four-year-old daughter Janet, chaired the all-family Jefferson School PTA Halloween party back on October 28, 1957.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Twilight of the Interurban Downtown Bloomington, 1950

Downtown terminal, 1950.

This September 1950 scene shows an Illinois Terminal Railroad car trundling past the 200 block of North Madison Street in downtown Bloomington. Illinois Terminal is often misidentified as a city streetcar system. In fact it was an electrified light rail network connecting many Central Illinois communities to each other and St. Louis. Bloomington lost interurban service in February 1953.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Illinois State Normal University Homecoming Parade, October 25, 1958

ISU Homecoming parade, 1958.

The Illinois State University homecoming parade has passed through Uptown Normal since the 1920s. Pictured here from the 1958 parade are members of the visiting Northern Illinois University marching band heading east on North Street. In the football game later that afternoon, the #Redbirds dispatched the NIU Huskies 33-18. Illinois Wesleyan University also held its homecoming on this day.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

October Means ‘Rocktober’ The Defenbaughs Meets Elvis, 1957

Teenagers holding a photo of Elvis, 1957.

Back in the spring of 1957, Bloomington teenagers Nancy Defenbaugh and her older brother Jim were vacationing in Memphis, TN, with their family. Nancy and Jim kept pestering their parents Ted and Thelma to take them to Elvis Presley’s new residence, and their perseverance paid off. They visited what would be later known as Graceland (then outside Memphis city limits) and Elvis emerged from his house, got on a lawn tractor, and proceeded to motor on over and say hello.

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