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

Miller Park Collection

Processed by: Laura Zimmerman, December 2012


Contents

  1. Collection Information
  2. Historical Sketch
  3. Photographs
  4. Scope and Content Note
  5. Box and Folder Inventory
Collection Information

Volume: 1 box
Dates: 1861-
Restrictions: None
Reproduction: Permission to reproduce or publish material in this collection must be obtained in writing from the McLean County Museum of History
Provenance: Gift
Location: Archives
Notes:

See also:

Photographs – People – Hibarger

Greeting cards

Social cards

R__ Bessie Hibarger’s 1923 Illinois State

Normal University Junior College diploma.

Historical Sketch

Located on the west side of Bloomington, Miller Park is the city’s best known public park, home to both the municipal zoo and a historic lakefront pavilion.

The park was originally known as Miller’s pasture, named for the family of merchant, landowner and state treasurer James Miller. The acreage featured a partially wooded, slightly rolling topography and several natural springs bounded by Summit Street to the east, Wood Street to the north and Morris Avenue to the west.

By March 1887, the Miller family was offering to sell their tract to the city for $17,000. On April 18, 1887, Bloomington residents voted to support the issuance of bonds for the purchase of Miller’s pasture. Although the city council agreed to secure bonds to purchase the 43-acre Miller property, those living on the city’s southwest side were called upon, via a subscription drive, to donate additional monies to complete the purchase. In the end, the city covered $12,000 of the sale price while local citizens picked up the remaining $5,000.

In 1896, the city created a lagoon-like lake by damming the small creek, and six years later added the much-larger lake to the south. After a series of land buys over the years, the park has grown to 67.6 acres. 

 

 

 

 

Photographs
  • Third Annual Sailboat Regatta, Miller Park, August 1936

  • August 13, 1922

  • Fountain at Miller Park- 1899

Box and Folder Inventory
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Folder 1: History
1.1 “Miller Park,” by Ruth Pils, March 6, 1936, Bloomington High School.
1.2 “History of Miller Park,” by Kelly Ann Norris, August 1992, in partial fulfillment for a master’s degree in Health, Physical Education, & Recreation, Illinois State University.
Folder 2: Newspapers, Founding and Planning (1887-1889)
2.1 "Public Park," March 14, 1887; "Major's Grove Park," March 17, 1887; "We will vote on two parks," March 19, 1887. Pantagraph
2.2 "The Park Movement," March 15, 1887. Bulletin
2.3 "Miller's Park," April 5, 1887. Daily Leader
2.4 "A Plea for Miller's Pasture," April 15, 1887. Daily Leader
2.5 "The Park Question," April 16, 1887. Daily Leader
2.6 "Booming South Park," April 16, 1887. Daily Leader
2.7 "The Status of the Park Question," April 2, 1887; "The Park Question Today," April 18, 1887. Pantagraph
2.8 " Recapitulation," Vote totals for Miller Park vote, April 19, 1887. Pantagraph
2.9 "A Clean Sweep," Vote totals for Miller Park vote, April 19, 1887. Daily Leader
2.10 "Bogus Contributions," September 11, 1887. Daily Bulletin
2.11 "Miller Park, the Park is Purchased and the Title is Vested in the City," January 20, 1888. Pantagraph
2.12 "Park Matters Again," November 29, 1888. Pantagraph
2.13 "Miller Park, What it is Proposed to Make of It - An Excellent Plan and an Excellent Report," February 23, 1889. Pantagraph
2.14 "Plan of Miller Park," Produced by E.I. Cantine, Journal of Proceedings of City Council of the City of Bloomington, IL, for the fiscal year ending April 30, 1889
Folder 3: Newspapers (1889-1899)
3.1 "Trees in Miller Park," February 26, 1889. Pantagraph
3.2 "The scene at Miller Park," June 24, 1889. Pantagraph
3.3 "Our Parks and Their Uses," July 26, 1889. Pantagraph
3.4 "People Want Water," July 14, 1890. Daily Leader
3.5 "Nature's Paradise," April 13, 1891. Daily Bulletin
3.6 "Fourth of July," June 13, 1892. Daily Leader
3.7 "New Pump and Main," February 3, 1894. Pantagraph
3.8 "Work at Miller Park," June 18, 1895. Pantagraph
3.9 "A Great Attraction," July 20, 1895. Pantagraph
3.10 "Skating at the Park," December 5, 1895 and "Skating at the Park," December 6, 1895. Pantagraph
3.11 "Skimming on Steel," January 5, 1896. Daily Leader
3.12 "Bloomington's Park, How it Was Acquired and What it May Become," April 1, 1896. Daily Leader
3.13 "Baptized in Park Lake," May 9, 1898. Pantagraph
3.14 "Donations to Miller Park," August 10, 1898. Pantagraph
3.15 "Fishing Day at the Park," August 17, 1898. Pantagraph
3.16 "The Mille Park Swans," September 2, 1899. Pantagraph
Folder 4: Newspapers (1900-1949)
4.1

"The Dome at Miller Park," August 20, 1900. Pantagraph

4.2

"At Miller Park," November 6, 1900. Pantagraph

4.3

"Speedway at Miller Park," June 26, 1901. Pantagraph

4.4

"Miller Park Boat Rules," July 15, 1902. Pantagraph

4.5

"The Mille Park Lakes Are Now United," September 24, 1902. Pantagraph

4.6

"New Pavilion at Miller Park," August 29, 1906. Pantagraph

4.7

"The New Pavilion is Opened at Miller Park," May 23, 1907. Pantagraph

4.8

"For Colored People," June 27, 1908. Pantagraph

4.9

"When the Band Plays at the Park," August 31, 1908. Pantagraph

4.10

"Park Boat House is Burned Down," and "Inventory of Losses," April 5, 1909. Pantagraph

4.11

"Miller Park, New Terminal Pavilion," April 24, 1909. Pantagraph

4.12

"Add Stein's Grove to Miller Park," May 26, 1909. Daily Pantagraph

4.13

"Add Stein's Grove to Miller Park," May 26, 1909. Daily Pantagraph

4.14

"Gold Fish Pond for Miller Park," August 29, 1910. Pantagraph

4.15

"Spring Activity Apparent in Miller Park," March 14, 1911. Pantagraph

4.16

"Sixth in Parks of Twelve Illinois Cities," March 14, 1911. Pantagraph

4.17

"Free Fish Day in July," June 5, 1911. Pantagraph

4.18

"Dr. W.T.M. Miller Dead," August 6, 1913. Pantagraph

4.19

"One of Miller Park's Newest Attractions," March 14, 1914. Pantagraph

4.20

“Miller Park Budding Forth," March 23, 1919. Daily Bulletin

4.21

“Swimming at Park Lake Today," June 6, 1920. Daily Bulletin

4.22

“Miller Park a Famous Resort," December 23, 1920. Pantagraph

4.23

“Miller Park Lily Pond Being Emptied; to Make Flower Bed," April 11, 1924. Pantagraph

4.24

“Big German Siege Gun Owned by Legion," February 27, 1926. Pantagraph

4.25

“Bloomington's Latest Park Improvement," July 10, 1926. Pantagraph

4.26

“Won't be Long Now Until Miller Park Flower Beds Will Be Riots of Color," May 26, 1928. Pantagraph

4.27

“Park Receives 75 New Trees," March 31, 1929. Pantagraph

4.28

Miller Park Aerial Picture, 1936 Progress Edition. Pantagraph

4.29

“New Rule Allows Trunks," June 30, 1937. Pantagraph

4.30

“Wonders If Backyard Statue Is Twin of Kansas City Piece," December 12, 1938. Pantagraph.

4.31

“Miller Park, Oldest and Best of Bloomington Playgrounds," July 15, 1944

4.32

“Box Buried in Bridge in 1910 Will Go Back Into New Span," July 8, 1945. Pantagraph

4.33

“Notice: The Alton Junior Limited will make the initial trip of the year," August 24, 1945. Pantagraph

4.34

“500,000 Attend Band Concerts During Summer at Miller Park," September 9, 1945. Pantagraph

4.35

"10 Miller Park Boats off to Wabash Flood"March 9, 1945

4.36

“15 Ft. Lagoon Bridge Completed At Park," May 6, 1945. Pantagraph

4.37

“Child Drowns at Miller Park," August 17, 1948. Pantagraph

4.38

“Scrap Drive Replacement," March 4, 1949. Pantagraph

4.39

“Park has New Gun Now," April 26, 1949. Pantagraph

Folder 5: Newspapers (1950-1999)
5.1 "Picnic Tables Rise From Center Street," May 7,1950. Pantagraph
5.2 "Rhodeses' Grist Mill to Get Resting Place at Miller Park," October 2, 1952 and "Mill Stones Now Park Display," October 4, 1952. Pantagraph
5.3 "Miller Park Swimming Controversies Recalled," May 20, 1957. Pantagraph
5.4 "Bridge Succumbs To Age, Weather," April 21, 1960. Pantagraph
5.5 "Bridge Story Illustrates Plight of Park System," August 21, 1966. Pantagraph
5.6 "Pollution source not found; park swimming ban continues," August 8, 1973. Pantagraph
Folder 6: Newspapers (2000 - )
6.1

“Pavilion's 100th birthday party coming up," October 19, 2006. Pantagraph

6.2

“Miller Park Lake weathered racism, pollution," August 19, 2007. Pantagraph

Folder 7: Newspapers (Undated)
7.1 “The New Stone Bridge, Miller Park,” Undated. Daily Bulletin
7.2 “A Scene on Sylvan Lake at Miller Park during the late skating carnival,” Sketch by Robert Sydney Smith. Undated. Sunday Eye
Folder 8: Recreation and Events
8.1 Notice for the Baptist Sabbath School picnic, July 30, 1861. Pantagraph
8.2 Souvenir program of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the City of Bloomington, May 10, 1900
8.3 Second Annual Odd Fellows and Rebekahs' Union Picnic for Orphans' Home Children, June 24, 1909
8.4 Advertisement for Miller Park Rides, August 21, 1966. Pantagraph
8.5 City of Bloomington Fall Festival flyer, October 14, 2007
8.6 Farm Bureau and I.A.A. Picnic and Playday program, August 31, year unknown
8.7 "A recreational oasis in Miller Park," undated
Folder 9: Miller Park Cannons and Tank
9.1

"Franklin Park Cannon," May 13, 1902. Pantagraph

9.2

"Franklin Park's rejoinder," May 15, 1902. Pantagraph

9.3

"Another View of It," May 16, 1902. Pantagraph

9.4

"Can We Compromise," May 16, 1902. Pantagraph

9.5

"To Replace the Cannon," May 27, 1902. Pantagraph

9.6

"More Than 25,000 Attend July 4 Ceremony, Games and Fireworks," July 5, 1939. Pantagraph

9.7

"Bidding war: Hutch offered up to $90,000 for Civil War-era cannons," November 11, 2000. Hutchinson News

9.8

Email, November 30, 2000 from Micheal Wright to Greg Koos re: Civil War Military Museum

9.9

Letter from Civil War Artillery Museum to Keith Rich, Director Parks and Recreation, November 20, 2000

9.10

Letter from Civil War Artillery Museum to Keith Rich, Director Parks & Recreations, November 29, 2000

9.11

Handwritten notes by Museum Executive Director Greg Koos, undated

9.12

“Veterans spiffing up WWI tank at Miller Park," Apr 5, 1014, Pantagraph, 2pp.

9.13

email originally from Bloomington Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Dept about WWI tank and cannon at Miller Park. Attachments include summary sheet on the German Howitzer, City Council Minutes, etc. March 24, 2014. 6 pp.

9.14

"The French Tank at Miller Park" by Jim Hoppe

Folder 10: Miller Park Pavilion
10.1 Miller Park Pavilion History, by Ashley Harris, Bloomington Parks & Recreation, 2005
Folder 11: National Register Application
11.1 National Register Application draft, August 2002
Folder 12: Miller Park Outdoor Summer Theatre
12.1 "Any Wednesday," 1976.
12.2 "The Man Who Came to Dinner," June, 1979.
12.3 "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," July, 1979.
12.4 "The Curious Savage," June, 1980.
12.5 "Li'l Abner," August, 1980.