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

#Businesses

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

The Gem Saloon, c. 1880 West Side of Courthouse Square, Bloomington

The Gem Saloon, 1880.

Peter J. Neuerburg owned The Gem from the late 1870s into the early 1880s. He is likely one of the unidentified gentlemen posing out front. Then Gem was located at 204 N. Center St., on the west side of the Courthouse (now Museum) Square.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Downtown Bloomington, April 1948 East Side of Courthouse Square

Downtown Bloomington view, 1948.

This photograph showing the 200 block of North Main Street was snapped on April 4, 1948. In the upper right corner you'll see a Google Street View image of the block in 2016.

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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

North Center Street, circa 1935 Downtown Bloomington

Street view of downtown Bloomington, 1935.

This lovely view of the 300 and 400 blocks of North Center Street, looking north, offers plenty of “eye candy” for the local history buff. For instance, on the far left is the Illinois Hotel, now known as the Illinois House. The hotel also included a barber shop, cafe (note the sign), and cigar stand. The building to the immediate north (or right), as indicated by the vertical sign, was the old location of Bloomington-Normal’s Sears Roebuck and Co. store. Today, this building’s tenants include Fox and Hounds Day Spa.

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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.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington’s “Great West Side” July 1932

Aerial view of Beich Plant, 1932.

This aerial view, taken on July 20, 1932, shows the near west side of Bloomington. The view is looking northeast.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

“A City Unto Itself” Chicago & Alton RR Shops

Aerial view of Chicago & Alton Railroad shops, undated.

This undated aerial photograph, looking northwest, gives one a sense of the impressive size of the sprawling Chicago & Alton Railroad Shops on Bloomington’s west side. From the years after the Civil War to the Great Depression, the C&A was the largest employer in the Twin Cities. At this complex upwards of 2,000 or more men were involved in the maintenance and repair of steam locomotives and rolling stock.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

200 Block W. Washington St. Downtown Bloomington, 1965

Downtown Bloomington, 1965.

This photograph, taken from the roof of The Pantagraph building in March 1965, shows a row of four brick commercial buildings stretching west of the 1911 Peoples Bank building. This is the south side of the 200 block of W. Washington St. back in 1965.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Downtown Bloomington Early 1920s

Aerial view of downtown Bloomington, undated.

This aerial view is undated but several clues helped us assign an approximate date with the colored arrowns. We can safely assume this photograph is pre-1925.

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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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