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.
This weekend marks the 45th anniversary of the Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival held outside of the McLean County community of Heyworth, May 30 through June 1, 1970.
While conducting a survey in the summer haze of the WGLT concert in downtown Bloomington, I had a conversation with two excited women who had just taken a break from dancing in the street. I asked them, “What would make you visit the McLean County Museum of History again?"
Rachel Crothers is all but unknown today as America's most successful female playwright.
Julia LeBeau (1903-1994) was the daughter of George and Nettie LeBeau, owners of a Bloomington music shop. In 1906 she decided she wanted a xylophone, but her father didn't want to spend the money — he didn't think she'd stick with it. Instead, he built this tin-can xylophone for her, using fruit, fish, and vegetable cans purchased from a downtown Bloomington grocery.
Jazz great Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington and his band performed at the Scottish Rite Temple (now the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts) on September 18, 1972.
Museum Librarian Bill Kemp stumbled across this photograph while perusing a collection of recently donated photographs. Bill knew that the smartly dressed figure in the middle was Don Munson, the now-retired on-air WJBC AM 1230 morning radio personality. Without knowing the context of this curious find, Bill decided to email Don Munson, who still lives in Bloomington-Normal and hosts a delightful Thursday evening jazz program on WGLT FM 89.1, Illinois State University's Public Radio affiliate.