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

#Towns -- Bloomington

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Susan Emrath Computer Pioneer, 1968

Susan Emrath sitting in front of an old computer, 1968.

Susan Emrath, a recent Illinois State University graduate, worked as a systems engineer for IBM. Emrath, 22 years old at the time, was the youngest in IBM’s eight-member account/marketing team and is seen here at a State Farm office with an IBM System/360 mainframe computer.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Illinois Terminal Railroad September 1950

Man sitting in a train car, 1950.

Seen here is a weary, unnamed worker heading to Danvers on the Bloomington-to-Peoria Illinois Terminal Railroad “interurban”. The Illinois Terminal was a light rail network of electric-powered passenger cars connecting six Central Illinois cities.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Museum News Collection Highlights

Questers help restore priceless 1873 ‘bird’s eye’ view of Bloomington

Museum staff recognized the local Jesse Fell chapter of Questers International. This group, dedicated to the study and preservation of historical objects, oversaw a $1,500 donation to pay for a professional restoration of the Museum’s rare 1873 “bird’s eye” view of Bloomington.

International Questers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study, conservation, and preservation of historical objects, donated $1,500 to the McLean County Museum of History for the restoration of a priceless 1873 "bird's eye" view of Bloomington. Half the donation came from Illinois State Questers and the other half from the local Jesse Fell Chapter, the latter raised by way of garage sales. This significant donation to the McLean County Museum of History was undertaken by the Jesse Fell Chapter to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

National Bank of Bloomington Main and Washington, 1930s

National Bank building, 1930s.

The green arrow points to the old YMCA building across East Street. The red arrow indicates the 1910 Majestic Theatre, and the blue arrow Liberty State Bank, one of only two Bloomington banks to collapse during the Great Depression.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington Letter Carriers Circa early 1930s

Bloomington mailmen, 1930s.

These spiffy letter carriers pose in front of the pre-1932 downtown Bloomington post office, which was located at the northwest corner of East and Jefferson streets.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Windsor Hotel Downtown Bloomington, undated

Old Windsor Hotel, undated.

This Italianate-style hotel was Bloomington’s finest for many years. Originally known as the Ashley House, it opened sometime around 1860. It later became the Windsor Hotel. It was lost in the Great Bloomington Fire of 1900.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Normal’s Streetcar ‘Subway’ Ca. 1912

Subway streetcars in Normal, 1912.

This viaduct (or “subway,” as they were once called) was built to enable Bloomington & Normal Railway Co. streetcars to safely cross the Chicago & Alton Railroad mainline in Normal. This viaduct remains open today and is used by automobiles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Addison Pancake ‘Deaf Mute’ Photographer, ca. 1869

The Deaf-Mute photographer, 1869.

In 1860, hearing impaired photographer Addison Pancake (1844-1900) operated a studio in downtown Bloomington. He was a graduate of what’s today known as the Illinois School for the Deaf and billed himself as a “deaf mute photographer.”

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Private Joe’ Fifer Laid to Rest August 8, 1938

Funeral procession for Joseph Fifer, 1938.

Seen here are pallbearers bringing the casket of Joseph “Private Joe” Fifer into the old downtown Bloomington Unitarian Church. A longtime Bloomington resident, Fifer served as Illinois governor from 1889 to 1893. He had passed away two days earlier at the age of 97.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Calling Dr. Scholls! ISNU Freshmen Orientation, Sept. 1953

ISU freshamn with sore feet, 1953.

This photograph, taken Sept. 15, 1953, shows three Illinois State Normal University freshmen rubbing their aching feet after a busy opening day of Orientation Week.

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