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#Transportation

Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Randolph from On High Undated Aerial

Aerial view of Randolph railway, 1938.

entral Illinois is dotted with the tiniest of communities that owe their existence to the railroad boom of the nineteenth century. Many of these places featured a pocket-sized train station, grain elevator, livestock pens, and a small cluster of residential and commercial buildings.
One such railroad stop or “station” was Randolph, situated roughly halfway between Bloomington and Heyworth.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

‘Union’ Depot, December 1979 Bloomington’s West Side

Amtrak Depot, 1979.

Opened in 1913, Union Depot was located just south of West Washington Street on the west side of the Chicago & Alton Railroad tracks. In 1979, this line was used by Amtrak for passenger service but owned by Illinois Central Gulf Railroad. Today this mainline is still used by Amtrak but the owner is Union Pacific Railroad. Union Depot’s interior is seen here in December 1979 after completion of the first phase of a $382,000 renovation project.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

ISSCS Bus, School Street, Normal Late May 1958

Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School bus, 1958.

From the end of the Civil War to the 1970s, Normal was home to a state children’s home known as the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School (ISSCS). These kids attended University High at what was then called Illinois State Normal University. The drop-off / pickup stop for ISSCS students was School Street, just north of North Street, near the Fell Gates and today’s ISU Planetarium.

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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

Death on the Mother Road Rural Logan County, September 1935

Bus accident, 1935.

On Sunday, September 22, 1935, one person was killed just before 6:00 a.m. when a southbound Greyhound bus collided with a coupe on U.S. Route 66 several miles south of Lincoln.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Union Bus Station, 1956 523 N. East Street, Bloomington

Bloomington bus station, 1956.

Located at the northeast corner of East and Douglas streets on the north end of downtown, this station opened on April 1, 1939. The one-story tan brick structure, built in the Streamline Moderne-style popular at the time, included waiting rooms, ticket office, and restrooms. By 1956, the date of this photograph, the station served Greyhound Bus Lines, Illini Coach Co., Peoria Rockford Coach Line, and the local Yellow Cab Co. There was also a lunch counter restaurant to grab a bite to eat.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington Municipal Airport June 20, 1941

Aerial view of Bloomington Airport, 1941.

This aerial view of Bloomington Municipal Airport (now Central Illinois Regional Airport, or CIRA) looks northwest and shows the main hanger and East Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Today, this old hanger site is occupied by Image Air and the Prairie Aviation Museum.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

The Shape of Things to Come Brunton’s First Delivery Truck, 1908

Brunton truck, 1908.

This 1908 scene shows Campbell Brunton behind the wheel of the very first truck owned by the family business, Brunton’s Parcel Delivery and City Express. At the time Campbell worked as a clerk for his father Frank G. Brunton.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

‘Lucky Lindy’ Bails Out November 1926

Lindbergh crash, 1926.

On the evening of November 3, 1926, Charles Lindbergh jumped out of his U.S. airmail biplane somewhere in the skies far above McLean County. Flying blind and out of fuel at 13,000 feet, a 24-year-old “Lucky Lindy” parachuted into the inky darkness and blowing snow. He landed unharmed at a farm just outside of Covell, an unincorporated community southwest of Bloomington. Meanwhile, his doomed, pilotless aircraft had crashed nearby.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Twilight of the Interurban Downtown Bloomington, 1950

Downtown terminal, 1950.

This September 1950 scene shows an Illinois Terminal Railroad car trundling past the 200 block of North Madison Street in downtown Bloomington. Illinois Terminal is often misidentified as a city streetcar system. In fact it was an electrified light rail network connecting many Central Illinois communities to each other and St. Louis. Bloomington lost interurban service in February 1953.

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