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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

Courthouse Caroling December 23, 1935

Courhouse Christmas Caroling, 1935.

The ninth annual “Community Christmas Carol Sing” was held on the McLean County Courthouse Square on December 23, 1935. Seen here are lead caroler Harold D. Saurer (holding the papers) and the Rev. Frank L. Breen.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Christmas Caravan, 1935

Christmas Caravan, 1935.

During the Great Depression 80 downtown Bloomington merchants staged a “Christmas Caravan” promotion to boost holiday retail sales. The vehicle in the background, equipped with a calliope and pulling trailers loaded with prize giveaways, passed through more than 50 Central Illinois communities. The idea was to generate excitement for a promotion involving downtown shoppers receiving gift certificates with each purchase.

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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

All I Want for Christmas … Lincoln School First Graders, 1965

Lincoln School first graders, 1965.

Back in early December 1965, these six-year-old first graders from Lincoln School in Bloomington could sympathize with the wishes expressed in the grating holiday novelty song, “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.”

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Santa and His Six (?) Reindeer Bloomington Christmas Parade, 1929

Christmas parade, 1929.

The December 3, 1929 Christmas parade in Bloomington featured Santa Claus, six marching bands, a drum corps, and eleven floats, among many other attractions. Mr. Claus is seen here out front, his sleigh pulled by six reindeer.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Community Players Groundbreaking December 7, 1960

Community Players, 1960.

On December 7, 1960, Community Players Theatre broke ground for the playhouse on 201 Robinhood Lane. Seen here (left to right) are architect Harry Riddle, Jr. and C.E. Mulliken, Community Players building chairman, both of whom are handling building plans. Next to Mulliken is Alvin Keller with the City of Bloomington and Community Players President H. Dean Litt with shovel.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bah, humbug! Fred Hitch as Scrooge, 1926

Christmas Scrooge, 1926.

From this 1926 publicity still we’d have to say Bloomington’s Fred Hitch captured the essence of the character Charles Dickens described as a “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!” From the mid-1920s into the 1990s, the Scottish Rite Temple (now the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts) staged a version of the “A Christmas Carol.”

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

T-H-A-N-K-S-G-I-V-I-N-G 1980 Towanda Grade School

Thanksgiving grade school play, 1980.

Towanda Grade School kindergartners perform Thanksgiving themed poems and songs for their parents the week of Thanksgiving 1980.

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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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