Bloomington, Illinois

Coordinates: 40°29′03″N 88°59′37″W / 40.48417°N 88.99361°W / 40.48417; -88.99361
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Bloomington, Illinois
McLean County Courthouse and Square
Official logo of Bloomington, Illinois
Location of Bloomington in McLean County, Illinois
Location of Bloomington in McLean County, Illinois
Bloomington is located in Illinois
Bloomington
Bloomington
Bloomington is located in the United States
Bloomington
Bloomington
Coordinates: 40°29′03″N 88°59′37″W / 40.48417°N 88.99361°W / 40.48417; -88.99361
CountryUnited States
StateIllinois
CountyMcLean
Founded1831
Incorporated1831
Government
 • TypeMayor–council–manager
 • MayorMboka Mwilambwe[1][2]
 • City managerTim Gleason
Area
 • City27.24 sq mi (70.56 km2)
 • Land27.12 sq mi (70.24 km2)
 • Water0.12 sq mi (0.32 km2)
Elevation840 ft (260 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • City78,680
 • Density2,901.29/sq mi (1,120.18/km2)
 • Urban
132,600 (US: 243rd)
 • Metro
191,067 (US: 223rd)
Time zoneUTC−06:00 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−05:00 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
61701, 61704, 61705
Area code(s)309, 861
FIPS code17-06613
GNIS ID2394197[4]
Websitewww.bloomingtonil.gov

Bloomington is a city in and the county seat of McLean County, Illinois, United States. The 2020 census showed the city had a population of 78,680,[5] making it the 13th-most populous city in Illinois and the fifth-most populous outside the Chicago metropolitan area.[6] It is adjacent to the town of Normal, and is the more populous of the two principal municipalities of the Bloomington–Normal metropolitan area, which has a population of roughly 170,000. Bloomington is 135 miles (217 km) southwest of Chicago and 162 miles (261 km) northeast of St. Louis. Bloomington is home to Illinois Wesleyan University and the headquarters for State Farm and Country Financial.

History[edit]

Looking northwest from the east side of the downtown square, about 1910

The Bloomington area was at the edge of a large grove occupied by the Kickapoo people before the first Euro-American settlers arrived in the early 1820s.[7] Springing from the settlement of Keg Grove, later called Blooming Grove, Bloomington was named as county seat on December 25, 1830, when McLean County was created.[8]

When the County of McLean was incorporated, a county seat was established, but the legislation stated the site of Bloomington "would be located later." Gavin Quinn, one of the new county's promoters, offered to donate 60 acres (240,000 m2) of his land for the new town. His offer was accepted, and Bloomington was laid out. Its lots were sold at a well-attended and noisy auction on July 4, 1831. At this time there were few roads, but rich soils brought new farmers who began commerce by conducting their business in the county. People came from all over to trade and do business at the town's center, known today as Downtown Bloomington, including Abraham Lincoln, who worked as a lawyer in nearby Springfield.[7] Prominent Bloomington resident Jesse W. Fell, who founded the Bloomington Pantagraph and was most prominent in local real estate, had suggested the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1854 and played a prominent role in pushing Lincoln to run for president.[9]

In 1900, an officer on patrol discovered a fire in a laundry across the street from the old city hall and police station.[10] He sounded an alarm but the fire destroyed most of the downtown, especially the areas north and east of the courthouse. The burnt area was quickly rebuilt from the designs of local architects George Miller and Paul O. Moratz.

View of Bloomington, 1932

Bloomington continued to grow during the first two decades of the 20th century. Agriculture, the construction of highways and railroads, and the growth of the insurance business all influenced the growth of Bloomington and its downtown. Most notably, State Farm was founded in June 1922 by retired farmer George J. Mecherle as a mutual automobile insurance company specializing in insurance for farmers.[11]

The 1917 Bloomington Streetcar Strike was a labor dispute starting on May 28, 1917, when Amalgamated Transit Union Local 752 called a strike for union recognition, increased pay, and a shortened workday.[12][13] It ended in July when the mayor of Bloomington, E.E. Jones, mediated contract talks between the workers and company from July 6 to 9. During this, the Illinois National Guard had been stationed outside the courthouse where mediation was occurring, equipped with machine gun emplacements.[12]

In 1997, Judy Markowitz was elected as the city's first female and Jewish mayor.[14] During her two terms as mayor, an arena was built in downtown Bloomington and the city's performing arts center began restoration.[15][16] Bloomington also approved a gay rights ordinance in 2002.[17] In 2021, Mboka Mwilambwe was elected as the city's first black mayor.[18]

Geography[edit]

Bloomington is located at 40°29′03″N 88°59′37″W. The city is at an elevation of 797 feet (243 m) above sea level. According to the 2010 census, Bloomington has an area of 27.229 square miles (70.52 km2), of which 27.22 square miles (70.50 km2) (99.97%) is land and 0.009 square miles (0.02 km2) (0.03%) is water.[19]

Climate[edit]

Bloomington, Illinois
Climate chart (explanation)
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source:The Weather Channel[20]
Metric conversion
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
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In recent years, average temperatures in Bloomington have ranged from a low of 14 °F (−10 °C) in January to a high of 86 °F (30 °C) in July, although a record low of −23 °F (−31 °C) was recorded in January 1985 and a record high of 114 °F (46 °C) was recorded on July 15, 1936, during the 1936 North American heat wave. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.71 inches (43 mm) in February to 4.52 inches (115 mm) in May.[20]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
18501,594
18607,075343.9%
187014,590106.2%
188017,18017.8%
189020,48419.2%
190023,28613.7%
191025,76810.7%
192028,72511.5%
193030,9307.7%
194032,8686.3%
195034,1633.9%
196036,2746.2%
197039,99210.2%
198044,18910.5%
199051,97617.6%
200064,80824.7%
201076,61018.2%
202078,6802.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[21]
2018 Estimate[22]

2020 census[edit]

Bloomington city, Illinois – Racial and Ethnic Composition
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos may be of any race.
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2000[23] Pop 2010[24] Pop 2020[25] % 2000 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 54,011 57,141 54,590 83.34% 74.59% 69.38%
Black or African American alone (NH) 5,527 7,663 8,407 8.53% 10.00% 10.69%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 107 170 165 0.17% 0.22% 0.21%
Asian alone (NH) 1,949 5,315 5,622 3.01% 6.94% 7.15%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 24 23 26 0.04% 0.03% 0.03%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 86 106 294 0.13% 0.14% 0.37%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 954 1,884 3,637 1.47% 2.46% 4.62%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 2,150 4,308 5,939 3.32% 5.62% 7.55%
Total 64,808 76,610 78,680 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%

As of the 2010 census, there were 76,610 people and 30,454 households within the city. The population density was 2,814.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,086.8/km2). There were 34,339 housing units at an average density of 1,261.5 per square mile (487.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 77.5% White, 10.1% African American, 0.3% Native American, 7.0% Asian, 1.42% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.6% of the population.

The City of Bloomington and McLean County comprise the fastest-growing metropolitan area in Illinois. The area's population has grown 28% from 1990 through 2006. The fastest growth has been in Bloomington, as the U.S. Census Bureau conducted a special census of that city in February 2006, showing a population of 74,975, a 15.7% increase in less than six years.

In 2010, there were 34,339 households, out of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.1% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 27.3% under the age of 20, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 45, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $58,662, and the median income for a family was $81,166. Males had a median income of $56,597 versus $39,190 for females. The per capita income for the city was $32,672. About 5.7% of families and 11.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.6% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.

Economy[edit]

Beer Nuts are produced in Bloomington

Bloomington is home to State Farm Insurance,[26] Country Financial, and Beer Nuts.[27] The original Steak 'n Shake restaurant was opened in Normal, Bloomington's adjoining city, in 1934.[28] It also has the largest Dairy Queen Restaurant.[29]

Top employers[edit]

According to Bloomington's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the area's top employers are:

# Employer Employees
1 State Farm Insurance 14,731
2 Illinois State University 3,281
3 Country Financial 1,972
4 McLean County Unit District No. 5 1,761
5 Carle Bromenn Medical Center 1,305
6 OSF St. Joseph Medical Center 860
7 McLean County 835
8 Afni 830
9 Bloomington School District 87 680
10 City of Bloomington 679

Bloomington is also home to a convention center at the McLean County Fairgrounds and Grossinger Motors Arena. Bloomington is the only town where Beer Nuts brand snacks are made. There are two Beer Nuts company stores in Bloomington, each offering a video tour of the Bloomington plant and history of Beer Nuts.[30]

Retail[edit]

Eastland Mall is the main shopping center in Bloomington.[31]

Arts and culture[edit]

Bloomington-Normal ranks competitively in Richard Florida's creativity rankings. Most noteworthy is Bloomington-Normal's creative class share of the workforce, which resulted in a No. 1 rating for Bloomington-Normal's creativity rank.[32]

The Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts is the centerpiece of the city's Cultural District, which also includes the neighboring McLean County of Arts Center, forthcoming festival park, and creativity center for arts education. The center is also home to over twenty area performing arts ensembles. More than 400 performances and community events take place at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts each year.[33] The Illinois Symphony Orchestra performs at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, where it gives five Masterworks concerts, two Pops concerts, and three Chamber Orchestra concerts annually.[34]

The McLean County Arts Center is one of the oldest arts organizations in the Midwest, serving Central Illinois for over 130 years. Each year 12 art exhibitions are held, including the Holiday Treasurers exposition and sale, and the annual Amateur Competition and Exhibition which, for over 70 years, has showcased the best amateur artists in Central Illinois. The Arts Center also sponsors a number of community events, such as the Sugar Creek Arts Festival in Uptown Normal and the Spring Bloom Arts Festival in Bloomington.[35]

The Community Players Theater, on Robinhood Lane off of Towanda Avenue, is one of the oldest community theaters completely staffed by volunteers. Opened in 1923, it celebrated its 88th season in 2011.[36] The Castle Theatre first opened in 1916 as a 1,000-seat theater, created by the legendary theater builders Balaban & Katz, original inventors of the classic movie palace. For decades, the property served as one of the area's premier destinations. The Castle was restored to its former glory with a $1.5 million renovation. It presents live music, corporate, public and private events.[37] The Illinois Wesleyan University School of Theatre Arts houses its talent within the Jerome Mirza Theatre at McPherson Hall. Four main stage plays are performed here annually, selected from a playbill including everything from Shakespeare to musicals. McPherson Hall, completed in 1963, is named for IWU's 10th president, Harry W. McPherson, and contains a 300-seat theater, scene shop, classrooms and other facilities.[38] The Illinois Wesleyan University Westbrook Auditorium serves approximately 200 music majors and several hundred IWU students each year. Several musical performances of all style periods are featured each semester, and most concerts are free with general seating.[39]

The Miller Park Outdoor Summer Theatre, an amateur theater group sponsored by the City of Bloomington, performs two major theater productions each year.[40] USA Ballet is an international ballet company. It provides children's workshops and outreach programs, and presents at Illinois Wesleyan University's McPherson Theatre three times a year.[41]

Events[edit]

East Grove Street District

American Passion Play was the oldest continuously performed Passion Play in the United States. Performed each spring at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, the Passion Play was set in Palestine and portrays the life of Christ in its entirety, closing finally after its 100th year running in May 2023.[42][43]

The Illinois Shakespeare Festival includes productions performed in an open-air, Elizabethan-style theatre within historic Ewing Manor each summer. The audience is encouraged to picnic on the grounds before each performance to be entertained by strolling Madrigal singers, jesters, and other entertainers as well as a Green Show performance.[44]

The Lincoln's Bloomington Festival is held each July in Downtown Bloomington and features Civil War reenactments, traditional craft demonstrations, children's activities, musical performances, talks and tours.[45]

The Spring Bloom Arts Festival is hosted by the McLean County Arts Center in March each year. This indoor fine art festival features over 100 artists representing a wide range of media including woodworking, glass art, sculpture, paintings, prints, photographs and handcrafted jewelry.[46]

The McLean County Fair is billed as the '"Home of the World's Largest County 4-H Fair"[47] taking place each August at the McLean County Fairgrounds in Bloomington. 4-H activities include: livestock shows, a film festival, and exhibits around food, nutrition & health, plant science, engineering & technology, and environment & natural resources. Evening Grandstand Entertainment features tractor pulls and various musical acts.

Historic sites[edit]

Ewing Manor was designed by Bloomington architect Phil Hooten in the Channel-Norman style favored by the affluent in the post-Victorian period. The surrounding gardens were created by noted landscape architect Jens Jensen, who also designed Springfield's Lincoln Memorial Gardens. The theatre on the grounds play host to the Illinois Shakespeare Festival each summer.[48]

The McLean County Museum of History traces its roots back to 1892, the year the McLean County Historical Society was founded. Housed inside the old McLean County Courthouse, the museum features permanent and rotating exhibits that explore the history of Central Illinois. This location is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[48]

The Miller Park Pavilion & War Memorial was restored in 1977 and dedicated in May 1988. The black granite memorial is surrounded by red sidewalks that list the names of Central Illinois residents killed or missing in action in the Korean and Vietnam battles.[48]

The Prairie Aviation Museum has a collection of preserved aircraft on display, including a Bell Sea Cobra, Huey helicopter, and F-14 Tomcat.

The Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, also known as the Evergreen Cemetery is the burial site of many notable Bloomington-Normal citizens including members of the Stevenson family. Adlai E. Stevenson I, vice president to Grover Cleveland, and Adlai E. Stevenson II, governor of Illinois. ambassador to the United Nations, and twice Democratic candidate for the United States presidency, are both buried there. Also buried there are Stevenson's wife, Letitia Green Stevenson, who was the second National President-General of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and her sister, Julia Green Scott, the seventh National President-General of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Other historical figures buried there include David Davis, friend and mentor to Abraham Lincoln; Charles Radbourn, arguably 19th-century baseball's greatest pitcher; and Dorothy Gage, inspiration for the main character in the Wizard of Oz and niece of author L. Frank Baum.[48]

David Davis Mansion, home to the 19th century politician and jurist David Davis

The David Davis Mansion offers a glimpse into the life friend and mentor of Abraham Lincoln, David Davis, who was a U.S. senator from Illinois and associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. Davis was a key component during Lincoln's bid for the 1860 presidential nomination. The Davis Mansion, completed in 1872, combines Italianate and Second Empire architectural features and is a model of mid-Victorian style and taste. His Bloomington home, which remained in the Davis family for three succeeding generations, contains the most modern conveniences of that era: a coal-burning stove, gas lighting and indoor plumbing. [1] The David Davis Mansion is an historic landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.[48]

The former building of the Montefiore synagogue is one of the few Moorish Revival buildings in Illinois and one of the oldest synagogues in the United States. Other historical landmarks listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

Parks and recreation[edit]

Miller Park Pavilion

The Bloomington Parks & Recreation Department is composed of four divisions: Parks, Recreation, Golf, and the Miller Park Zoo. The department maintains over 1,100 acres (4.5 km2) of land including 44 park sites and three golf courses.[49] These facilities often contain water spray parks, elaborate playgrounds, miniature golf, baseball/softball diamonds, soccer fields, cricket grounds, and lighted tennis courts. Outdoor public swimming pools are at O'Neil Park and Holiday Park.

Miller Park Zoo offers many exhibits and zookeeper interaction opportunities. Zoo inhabitants include a Sumatran tiger, river otter, Galapagos tortoise, Amur leopard, sun bears, reindeer, sea lion, red pandas, lemus, bald eagles, pallas cats and red wolves. The zoo features many exhibits including Wallaby WalkAbout, ZooLab, Children's Zoo, Animals of Asia, and the Katthoefer Animal Building. The Zoo's newest exhibit is the Tropical America Rainforest.[50]

The Bloomington-Normal Constitution Trail is a 24-mile (39 km) trail that operates on dedicated right-of-way through much of the city. The north–south segment of the trail follows the abandoned Illinois Central Gulf railroad from Kerrick Road in Normal to Grove Street in Bloomington. The east–west segment intersects the north segment at Normal City Hall Annex and continues east to Towanda-Barnes Road. The Liberty Branch begins at Commerce Drive and ends at Old Farm Lakes Subdivision. The Freedom Branch begins at Lincoln Street and ends at Route 9 West. The trail is open to walkers, runners, in-line skaters, skateboarders, cyclists, wheelchair users, and other non-motorized forms of transportation. During winter months, it is not cleared of snow, and is available to skiers; weather permitting.[51]

The Genevieve Green Gardens at Ewing Cultural Center were dedicated in 2007 as part of the Illinois State University's 150th anniversary celebration. Several architects and landscape designers contributed to the extensive project of creating the gardens, including input from Bruce V. Green, an avid gardener whose $5.2 million donation spearheaded the project. The gardens include a public entry that directs visitors to a formal plaza, the entrance to the manor, a grass patio, theater walk with a widened walkway, and additional plantings.[52]

The Bloomington Ice Center is an indoor public ice skating facility operated by the Bloomington Parks & Recreation Department. The facility offers ice skating lessons, public skating sessions, a comprehensive hockey program, learn to curl and curling leagues, skate rental, and a concessions stand.[53]

Sports[edit]

Golf[edit]

The golf course at the Bloomington Country Club

In 2005, Golf Digest ranked Bloomington-Normal as the Fifth Best American City for Golf in its "Best in America" Metro Golf Rankings. Golf Digest ranked America's largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas on four different criteria: access to golf, weather, value of golf, and quality of golf.[54]

  • The Den at Fox Creek: 6,926 yards (6,333 m), Par 72, 18 holes.

The Den at Fox Creek is a 4-star, Arnold Palmer Signature Designed Golf Course that opened in 1997. Amenities include GPS-equipped carts, club rental, pro shop and snack bar. There are nine holes with water hazards, 131 sand traps and a unique alternative shot closing the 18th hole on this par 72 course. Practice facilities include a large bent grass driving range and tees with practice chipping and putting greens.[55] The Den is home to both the IHSA Boys' Golf State Tournament and State Farm Youth Classic each summer.[56]

  • Highland Park Golf Course: 5,725 yards (5,235 m), Par 70, 18 holes.

Located in South Bloomington, the Highland Park Golf Course has numerous challenges including creeks, three lakes, well-placed sand traps and tree-lined fairways. Highland Park sports a pro shop, carts, club rental and snack bar and offers individual or group lessons.[57] The Highland Park Golf Course hosts the State Farm Youth Classic each summer.[56]

  • The Links at Ireland Grove: 1,590 yards (1,450 m), Par 29, 9 holes.

The Links at Ireland Grove is Bloomington's newest public golf facility and first executive course. This nine-hole course consists of seven par 3's and two par 4's. The driving range has weather protected hitting bays, plus over 1-acre (4,000 m2) of target greens, several bunkers, and nearly 2 acres (8,100 m2) of natural grass hitting area. In addition, The Links Golf Academy offers a 4-acre (16,000 m2) short game practice facility. The Links' complex also includes Golf Etc., a pro shop selling everything golf related.[58] The Links is also home to the skills Challenge portion of the State Farm Youth Classic each summer.[56]

  • Prairie Vista Golf Course: 6,745 yards (6,168 m), Par 72, 18 holes.

Prairie Vista sports 16 water hazards, a wave bunker, two-level greens and fairways, much sand, a pro shop, carts, club rental, snack bar, banquet room and driving range. In addition to annually hosting the State Farm Youth Classic and IHSA Boys' Golf State Finals, Prairie Vista hosted the 1997 NCAA Division I Women's Golf East Regional.[59]

There are two private country clubs within Bloomington: Bloomington Country Club and Lakeside Country Club. A third, Crestwicke Country Club, is just south of the city. All three have golf courses.

Facilities[edit]

Grossinger Motors Arena

The Grossinger Motors Arena in southwest downtown Bloomington opened in 2006 and is home to the Bloomington Edge of the Indoor Football League and formerly the home of the PrairieThunder and Blaze of the Central Hockey League. Since 2014, it has been the home rink of the Central Illinois Flying Aces of the United States Hockey League, as well as hosting certain games of Illinois State University's club hockey team and local youth hockey programs. With over 180,000 square feet (17,000 m2) of space, the arena boasts a fixed seating capacity of 7,000 but can seat over 8,000 for special events. The facility can also be set up as a theatre with a retractable curtain and enables shows to seat 2,500–5,000 in a more intimate atmosphere. Since the arena's opening, the facility has hosted an array of events including concerts, family shows, ice shows, motorsports, and trade shows.[60]

The Community Soccer Fields complex offers 20 soccer fields of various sizes used annually by 2,000 area soccer players.[61]

Extra Innings Bloomington/Normal is an indoor baseball and softball training facility.[62] The Shira Baseball Complex consists of 6 fields of various sizes (four with lights) and a concession stand to accommodate McLean County baseball players ages 5–19.

Teams[edit]

Team League Sport Venue Established Championships
Normal CornBelters Prospect League Baseball The Corn Crib 2009 None
FC Diablos Midwest Premier League Association football The Corn Crib 2017 0
Bloomington Bison ECHL Ice hockey Grossinger Motors Arena 2024 -

Education[edit]

Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University

Primary and secondary[edit]

Bloomington is served by two public school districts. The interior of the city is served by Bloomington Public Schools District 87, which operates one high school, Bloomington High School, one junior high school, Bloomington Junior High School, and six elementary schools (Oakland, Washington, Bent, Irving, Sheridan, and Stevenson elementary schools) and one pre-school, Sarah Raymond (named for the first female superintendent for Bloomington).[63]

Growth has taken the city well into the boundaries of a second district, McLean County Unit District No. 5. Although Unit Five originally served only suburban areas, including Normal, the majority of its students now are from Bloomington itself. Unit Five operates two high schools (Normal Community High School and Normal Community West High School), four junior high schools, and numerous elementary schools.[64] As of 2010, Unit Five was constructing its fourth junior high school which is called George Evans Junior High School more commonly known as EJHS. The construction was finished in 2011 Unit 5 was also making two new elementary schools in Bloomington, and is projecting the need for another high school.

Bloomington is also home to several private schools, including Central Catholic High School, Corpus Christi Catholic School Elm./Jr. School, Epiphany Elm./Jr. School, St. Mary's Catholic School, Trinity Lutheran School, and Cornerstone Christian Academy. Bloomington students also may enroll at Metcalf Elm./Jr. School and University High School, laboratory schools located at Illinois State University.

Bloomington/Normal Japanese Saturday School (ブルーミントン・ノーマル補習授業校 Burūminton Nōmaru Hoshū Jugyō Kō), a Japanese weekend school, was established in 1986 and held at the Thomas Metcalf School, an ISU laboratory school in Normal.[65] The school has a separate office in Normal.[66]

Colleges and universities[edit]

The city of Bloomington is home to Illinois Wesleyan University. Founded in 1850, it is a private residential university with an enrollment of 2,100 and a student/faculty ratio of 12 to 1. Historically, it was affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The university consists of the College of Liberal Arts, with 17 academic departments; the College of Fine Arts, comprising professional Schools of Art, Music, and Theatre Arts; and the School of Nursing. In the past decade, Illinois Wesleyan has added the five-story Ames Library, the Center for Natural Science, and the Shirk Center for Athletics and Recreation. An NCAA Division III school, Illinois Wesleyan has had more than 100 athletes elected into the Academic All-American team since 1970.,[48][67]

Library[edit]

Bloomington Public Library was first opened in 1857 by the Ladies' Library Association, which was formed in 1856. The small library was mainly supported by book donations and membership fees. In 1871, the library relocated to 105 West North Street (now West Monroe Street). After closing due to a lack of funds in 1880, the library reopened after residents raised $1,100 to support it. In 1888, the library moved into a new two-story building at the corner of East and Washington Streets on land donated by Sarah B. Withers. In honor of the donation, the library was renamed "Withers Library."[68] In 1976, Citizens for a New Public Library organized a Friends of the Library group that campaigned for approval of bonds to raise money for a new public library. The campaign was successful, and in 1977 the library reopened at 205 East Olive Street as Bloomington Public Library. It offers a number of public programs, including a Bookmobile, started in 1926 as Library on Wheels, that delivers to local neighborhoods.[68]

Media[edit]

NOAA Weather Radio station KZZ65 transmits from Bloomington and is licensed to NOAA's National Weather Service Central Illinois Weather Forecast Office at Lincoln, broadcasting on a frequency of 162.525 mHz (channel 6 on most newer weather radios, and most SAME weather radios). The station activates the SAME tone alarm feature and a 1050 Hz tone activating older radios (except for AMBER Alerts, using the SAME feature only) for hazardous weather and non-weather warnings and emergencies, along with selected weather watches, for the Illinois counties of McLean, Tazewell, and Woodford. Weather permitting, a tone alarm test of both the SAME and 1050 Hz tone features are conducted every Wednesday between 11 AM and Noon.[69]

The Pantagraph is a local daily newspaper serving Bloomington.

Transportation[edit]

Terminal of Central Illinois Regional Airport

Bloomington is serviced by passenger rail, bus service, and several airlines. Amtrak, from its Bloomington-Normal station, operates five trains in each direction between St. Louis and Chicago each day. The station also serves connecting bus service to Peoria and Amtrak stations in Galesburg and Champaign-Urbana. It is Illinois' third-busiest Amtrak station after Chicago and Champaign-Urbana, servicing about 92,000 passengers in fiscal year 2021.[70]

Greyhound Lines provides service to/from Chicago and St. Louis. Burlington Trailways offers service from the Amtrak station and the Greyhound station to/from Peoria, Quad Cities, Illinois/Iowa, Champaign, and Indianapolis

The Central Illinois Regional Airport on Route 9 is served by four airlines (Delta Air Lines, American Eagle, Frontier and Allegiant Air), five rental car agencies, and has direct daily flights to Atlanta (Delta), Chicago (American Eagle), Dallas-Ft. Worth (American Eagle), Detroit (Delta), and Minneapolis/St. Paul (Delta). Additional service includes nonstop flights to Sanford, Florida (Allegiant) and St.Pete/Clearwater (Allegiant).[71] A record 559,481 passengers flew to or from CIRA in 2010.[72]

Connect Transit provides local bus service with 11 color-coded fixed routes in the area; a lift-assisted paratransit service called Connect Mobility and a campus shuttle for ISU called Redbird Express.

Interstates 39, 55, and 74 intersect at Bloomington, making the city a substantial transportation hub. US highways 51 and 150 and Illinois state route 9 also run through Bloomington. The legendary highway U.S. Route 66 once ran directly through the city's downtown and later on a bypass to the east.

Notable people[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nardi, Sarah (May 1, 2021). "At Swearing In, Bloomington Mayor Mwilambwe Vows to Tackle Divisions". WGLT.
  2. ^ "City Council". City of Bloomington. Retrieved November 6, 2023.
  3. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  4. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Bloomington, Illinois
  5. ^ "2020 City Population and Demographics". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  6. ^ M.K. Guetersloh (June 16, 2006). "Bloomington grows by 10,000". Pantagraph. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  7. ^ a b History of Bloomington, History of Bloomington Archived February 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ History of Bloomington (City Website), History of Bloomington (from city website) Archived February 29, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Jesse W. Fell (1808–1887)".
  10. ^ McLean County Museum of History (Museum Finding Aids), Bloomington Fire of June 1900
  11. ^ Sonderman, Joe; Eichar, Cheryl (2014). Images of America: Route 66 in Illinois. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-4671-1194-2.
  12. ^ a b "Bloomington 1917 Strike". Mother Jones Museum. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  13. ^ Unknown (May 29, 1917), "Call Strike on Street Car Lines", The Pantagraph, p. 3, retrieved April 10, 2023
  14. ^ Stock, Eric (February 16, 2021). "Judy Markowitz, Bloomington's Groundbreaking Mayor, Dies". WGLT. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  15. ^ Doyle, Neil (February 16, 2021). "Former Bloomington Mayor Judy Markowitz passes away". WJBC. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  16. ^ "Judith Stern Harrison Markowitz 1938 – 2021". Legacy.com. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  17. ^ "Bloomington, Ill., approves gay rights ordinance". Advocate.com. October 30, 2002. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  18. ^ Denham, Ryan (April 7, 2021). "Mwilambwe Comes Out On Top In 3-Way Bloomington Mayoral Race". WGLT. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  19. ^ "G001 – Geographic Identifiers – 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Bloomington, Illinois". The Weather Channel. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  21. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  22. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  23. ^ "P004 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2000: DEC Summary File 1 – Bloomington city, Illinois". United States Census Bureau.
  24. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Bloomington city, Illinois". United States Census Bureau.
  25. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Bloomington city, Illinois". United States Census Bureau.
  26. ^ "Office Locations". Archived from the original on August 19, 2007. Retrieved August 30, 2007.
  27. ^ Beer Nuts located in Bloomington, Official Website
  28. ^ "Steak n Shake | Steakburger & Hand Dipped Milkshakes". Archived from the original on August 20, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  29. ^ Hansen, Karen (December 21, 2009). "Nation's largest Dairy Queen Grill & Chill set for B-N". Bloomington Pantagraph. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  30. ^ "File Not Found – Beer Nuts".[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ "Eastland Mall -- Home Page". Archived from the original on March 3, 2011. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  32. ^ The Rise of the Creative Class. And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure and Everyday Life, 2002. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02477-7.
  33. ^ "Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts | Home BCPA". www.artsblooming.org.
  34. ^ Administrator. "Illinois Symphony Orchestra: Listen Live!".
  35. ^ "McLean County Arts Center – MCAC Home". mcac.wildapricot.org.
  36. ^ "Home". Community Players.
  37. ^ "The Castle Theatre". thecastletheatre.com.
  38. ^ "Illinois Wesleyan: IWU Theatre Box Office". Archived from the original on April 18, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  39. ^ "School of Music". www.iwu.edu.
  40. ^ "Bloomington Parks & Recreation". Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  41. ^ "USA Ballet". usaballet.
  42. ^ "After 100 years on stage, a final curtain call for the 'American Passion Play', Inc". www.wglt.org.
  43. ^ "The American Passion Play, Inc". www.americanpassionplay.org.
  44. ^ "Home – Illinois Shakespeare Festival – Illinois State". May 19, 2016.
  45. ^ "McLean County Museum of History". www.mchistory.org.
  46. ^ "MCA Art – The McLean County Art Scene". Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  47. ^ "McLean County Fair". www.mcleancountyfair.org.
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  49. ^ "City of Bloomington Parks & Recreation - Interactive Parkfinder". Archived from the original on December 14, 2010. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  50. ^ "Miller Park Zoo". Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  51. ^ "Bloomington Parks & Recreation - Constitution Trail". Archived from the original on December 14, 2010. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  52. ^ "Genevieve Green Gardens: Ewing Cultural Center". Archived from the original on January 5, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  53. ^ "The Pepsi Ice Center :: Bloomington Parks & Recreation - Bloomington, Illinois". Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  54. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 22, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  55. ^ "The den at Fox Creek Golf Course :: Bloomington Parks & Recreation - Bloomington, Illinois". Archived from the original on December 14, 2010. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  56. ^ a b c "countryyouthclassic.com". Archived from the original on October 16, 2015.
  57. ^ "Highland Park Golf Course :: Bloomington Parks & Recreation - Bloomington, Illinois". Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  58. ^ "The Links at Ireland Grove". Ireland Grove.
  59. ^ "Prairie Vista Golf Course". Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  60. ^ US Cellular Coliseum. "US Cellular Coliseum – Home".
  61. ^ "Illinois Fusion Soccer". Archived from the original on February 8, 2014. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  62. ^ "Apps Parents Should Choose with Caution". Choosing Apps Wisely. Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  63. ^ "Bloomington Public Schools". District 87. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  64. ^ "McLean County Unit 5". McLean County Unit 5. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  65. ^ Home page Archived February 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Bloomington/Normal Japanese Saturday School. Retrieved on March 31, 2015. "The facility of Metcalf Laboratory School that we have been using since 1986 allows us to enjoy full use of class rooms as well as gym and outdoor playground."
  66. ^ "~ 学校の概要 ~ Archived February 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine." Bloomington/Normal Japanese Saturday School. Retrieved on March 31, 2015. "郵便送付先: 1413 Heritage Road West, Normal, IL 61761"
  67. ^ "About Us". www.iwu.edu.
  68. ^ a b Parker, Kerrie. "Bloomington Public Library". bloomingtonlibrary.org. Archived from the original on October 23, 2018. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  69. ^ "KZZ65". National Weather Service Central Illinois, Lincoln IL.
  70. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet Fiscal Year 2021 State of Illinois" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on May 14, 2023. Retrieved July 19, 2023.
  71. ^ "Home | CIRA". Central Illinois Regional Airport.
  72. ^ "News Archives – Central Illinois Regional Airport".
  73. ^ Normal, Illinois website, Sister City Partnership
  74. ^ a b c d "Interactive City Directory". Sister Cities International. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  75. ^ For a thorough account of Bloomington's history, cf. Jean Barkey et al., Whitchurch Township Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine (Erin, ON: Boston Mills, 1993), 100–102.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]