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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week: Dolls On Parade O’Neil Park, July 1939

Doll parade, 1939.

The once-annual O’Neil Park doll parade on Bloomington’s west side prepares to get underway.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington Centennial ‘Young Pioneers’ Parade, September 19, 1950

Bloomington Centennial, 1950.

The City of Bloomington celebrated its centennial over a seven-day extravaganza, September 17-23, 1950 (though the kickoff dance held September 15 somehow didn’t count, if one goes by the banner pictured here). Anyway, festivities included a “Young Pioneers” parade through downtown Bloomington on September 19.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington Centennial 65 Years Ago this Week!

Bloomington Centennial, 1950.

On September 15, 1950, Bloomington kicked off its centennial celebration with a “Queen’s Ball” at what is now called the Center for Performing Arts. Although Bloomington was established and settled as early as 1831, it wasn’t officially incorporated until 1850, hence the city’s 100th birthday bash was held in 1950 and not 1931.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Labor Day Parade Bloomington, 1985

Labor Day parade, 1985.

“Buy American—Save the USA” was the theme for the September 2, 1985, Labor Day parade.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Labor Day in Bloomington Circa 1920

Labor Day, 1920.

Bloomington’s first Labor Day parade was held on September 7, 1891, three years before the day became a national holiday. This parade float, dating to sometime around 1920, is the handiwork of the International Brotherhood of Blacksmiths and Helpers Local 79. This local represented blacksmiths at the Chicago & Alton Railroad Shops on the city’s west side.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

All the World’s a Stage Community Players, December 1953

Community players, 1953.

Community Players Theatre has been a local cultural treasure since its first staged production way back in 1923. Thirty-three years later, on December 3-4, 1956, the volunteer theater company staged the bewitching romantic comedy “Bell, Book and Candle.”

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week, 128: Dog Days of Summer Miller Park, 1937

Oh where oh where did the summer go? That’s a common refrain heard around these parts as we enter the dog days of the season and the school year fast approaches...

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

McLean County Fair, 1951

Aerial view of the McLean County fair, 1951.

From 1935 to 1955 (with one exception) the McLean County 4-H Fair was held at Fans Field, an old minor league ballpark on Bloomington’s south side, off Main Street and behind (or east) of the National Guard Armory.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week, 124: ‘Swing Time’ at Victory Hall October 1935

904 Hovey Ave. in Normal, Victory Hall

Opened in 1919 and located at 904 Hovey Ave. in Normal, Victory Hall was a safe place for boys from troubled families.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Photo of the Week, 123: Burkey’s Bowling Palace, Grand Opening, Aug.16-17, 1941

Joseph E. Burkey and his wife Leila opened their six-lane bowling “palace” in mid-August 1941, at 211 E. Front St

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