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

#Businesses

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Pantagraph Expansion, Circa 1935 Madison and Washington streets Downtown Bloomington

Pantahgraph building expansion, 1935.

By 1935, The Pantagraph had outgrown its 1887 home. Construction of new and expanded quarters began that year at the same location.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

McDonald’s in Normal 806 S. Main St., 1961

First McDonald's in Normal, 1961.

The Twin Cities first McDonald’s restaurant opened in early 1959. The view here is looking southeast from the 800 block of South Main Street in Normal. The chain, which at this time boasted some 100 restaurants, had earlier opened drive-ins in Peoria and Decatur. Today, of course, McDonald's is one of the largest fast food restaurant chains in the world, with more than 36,000 “outlets” in 119 countries.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Courthouse Square, Bloomington East Side / Main Street, Late 1970s

Courthouse square, 1970s.

This colorful view shows the 200 block of North Main Street in the late 1970s. All of these buildings are gone, including the Griesheim Building, seen on the left, the granddaddy of downtown office buildings. In late August 1984, it was lost in a spectacular blaze started by an arsonist.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

National Bank of Bloomington Drive-In 400 block East Washington Street, c. 1970

National Bank of Bloomington Drive-In, 1970.

Much of what’s seen here is long gone, lost forever to the wrecking ball. The view is the 400 block of East Washington Street looking southwest. The “motor bank” drive-in is no longer there. Today at that location is a former dry cleaners that’s now home to Meltdown Creative Works.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Thompson’s Restaurant, Undated 208 N. Center St., Downtown Bloomington

Thompson's Resturant, undated.

A longtime fixture on the west side of the Courthouse Square, Thompson’s Restaurant welcomed locals and out-of-town visitors alike for about 40 years—from the mid-1910s into the 1950s.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington Fire Station No. 2 214 W. Washington St., c. 1883

Bloomington Fire Station, 1883.

The south side of the 200 block of West Washington Street is seen here about 1883. That’s the three-story Bloomington Fire Department Station No. 2 in the middle with the lookout “tower” and bell. The firemen posing out front are likely from Hose Co. No. 2.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

General Electric Plant Route 66 “Beltline,” 1968

General Electric, 1968.

Back in 1968 there wasn’t much at what’s today the intersection of Veterans Parkway and GE Road! The General Electric plant opened in 1954 and shutdown remaining manufacturing in the fall of 2010.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

East Washington Street 200 Block, Circa 1956

Downtown Bloomington, 1956.

Seen here is the north side of the 200 block of East Washington Street about 1956. Partially visible on the left edge of this photograph is old Withers Library, the forerunner to Bloomington Public Library. The handsome building to the east of Withers is the Arthur L. Pillsbury designed Bloomington Club. In the 1950s, the apartment-like building east of the Bloomington Club served as professional offices.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Another One Bites the Dust Mar-Len Hotel, June 1988

Demolition of Mar-Len Hotel, 1988.

Ross Griffin of Stark Excavating keeps an eye on crane operator John Quiram as he makes short work of the Mar-Len Hotel, 309 N. Center St., in early June 1988.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Ensenberger’s, 1925 West Side of Square, Bloomington

Construction of Ensenberger's, 1925.

Back in the summer of 1925 iron workers were completing the steel frame for the new Ensenberger’s furniture store high rise. This seven-story beauty was designed by local architect Arthur L. Pillsbury. It opened in May 1926, but Pillsbury had been killed in an automobile accident the previous October.

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