In late June 1951, the Junior Chamber of Commerce sponsored a “Traffic Courtesy Week” in Bloomington-Normal. The event included giving away $5 to those who exhibited courteous behavior to fellow motorists and pedestrians. Here’s Gene Paxton of Paxton Typewriter Co. talking to 13-year-old Ronnie Rider of Bloomington. Ronnie was a $5 winner for stopping his bicycle to let a woman burdened with packages get to her car.
A group from Illinois State Normal University readies for their two-month tour of the British Isles and the European continent. They were led by Dr. Arthur W. Watterson (far right), who was just named acting head of the Department of Geology and Geography. Watterson Towers is the namesake of Dr. Watterson.
William Meyers and his wife Beverly (seen here) spent eight weeks traveling by U.S. Army surplus jeep from the Panama Canal Zone to Central Illinois—some 7,040 miles in all. Beverley’s parents lived in El Paso, Ill. During the epic journey the young couple had but one flat tire.
In the early morning hours of May 19, 1948, a hit-and-run truck driver knocked down two gasoline pumps at D.E. Henderson’s service station in Towanda. Fortunately no one was hurt.
Who remembers when gas pumps looked like this?
In the spring of 1958, the Bloomington-Normal Garden Club planted a series of evergreens at Franklin Park, the city’s oldest green space. Seen here is Joyce Lynn Hall, an Illinois Wesleyan University student, admiring three Pfitzer junipers and a vertical yew recently set in the concrete planter at the park’s center.
Note the city bus heading west on Walnut Street in the background.
Art Carnahan (left), manager of the Bloomington Municipal Airport (now Central Illinois Regional Airport), greets Harold Medbery, a pilot from the Tazewell County community of Armington. Medbery brought in nine pouches of airmail from towns southwest and west of Bloomington. That mail was then loaded onto a waiting Chicago & Southern airliner.
This May 1938 demonstration was staged for National Airmail Week.
This aerial shows Interstate 74 under construction southeast of Bloomington in the fall of 1965. Note the abrupt end of the interstate at the bottom of this photo. Talk about traffic delays!
This undated photograph shows a Pantagraph motorcycle and sidecar at the corner of Madison and Washington streets. The view is looking east. What a way to deliver newspapers!
Behind the stylish rider is the Hills Hotel, which later became the Tilden-Hall, which was torn down in 1962.
A heavy snowfall in February 1908 put a halt to this steam locomotive along the Illinois Central Railroad’s “Bloomer Line.”
None of these buildings are standing today. This is all surface parking and the Irvin Theater would be built on this block in 1915.
Commercial air service to Bloomington began on Nov. 6, 1950 with Ozark’s first flight into Bloomington Municipal Airport. Local officials were guests on the inaugural flight.
The period from Wednesday through Sunday around Thanksgiving is usually the busiest travel time of the year in the U.S. Fortunately for folks flying in or out of Bloomington, local airport facilities have expanded dramatically since 1964!
Seen here is motorman John W. Bryan riding the Bloomington-to-Peoria Illinois Terminal light rail “interurban” sometime in September 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.
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.
This 1931 scene at that field shows a local delegation standing before one of Century Air Lines’ 10-passenger Stinson tri-motor “ships.” The occasion was the inauguration of air passenger service to this area.
In 1947, a group of young girls from the Lucy Orme Morgan Home in Bloomington, which took in neglected girls from families unwilling or unable to care for them, were guests at the home of Violet Whitmer. Activities included rides on a pony cart.
This scene shows four unidentified boys heading south on the 1600 block of Fell Ave. The white house is 1610 Fell Ave., and the house under the boys clasped hands is 1612 Fell Ave. No bike helmets in 1963!
An estimated 200 area residents were on hand at the Municipal Airport (now Central Illinois Regional Airport) to celebrate the start of scheduled commercial air service to Bloomington. Seen here are Bloomington Postmaster Carter Pietsch (right) and Otto Gerth handing sacks of mail to stewardess Mary Forgach.
In July 1937, a group of Bloomington businessmen purchased the old post office building and then razed the post office in order to build Bloomington’s first fireproof automobile garage. The Auto Hotel opened in late June 1938.