The History of Bloomington St. Joseph
Bloomington (population 75,000) is located in the central part
of the state of Illinois in McLean County, accessible by using Interstates 39, 55, & 74 as well as US Routes 51 & 150 and Illinois 9.
The Chicago & Alton Railroad played an important role to
the development of Bloomington and its Twin City neighbor Normal (population
45,000) as it was a major employer during its heyday. Route 66 was also a part of the community, but it is not forgotten
as you can still travel parts of the "Main Street
of America" today.
was established in 1830, as early pioneers such as James Allin
and Jesse Fell helped get it up and running. The county is named
for John McLean, a pioneer lawyer, territorial judge, the first
Representative in Congress from Illinois (1818), and United States Senator (1824–25), while
Bloomington was given its name originally as Blooming
Grove when settled around 1822, slightly changing the name to its current moniker when the county was formed in 1830.
Abraham Lincoln's presence in the community, others such as David Davis (a former Supreme Court Justice), baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Charles "Hoss" Radbourne, naturalist John Wesley Powell,
politican Adlai Stevenson I and his son Adlai II, and actor McLean Stevenson (a cousin
to Adlai II) are well-known figures who lived in Bloomington at one time. Nineteenth Century opera singer Marie Litta (aka Jenny Lind) also hailed from
Bloomington as well.
area is home to Illinois Wesleyan University, as well as Illinois State University. The nation's number one
auto and property/casualty insurance companies, State Farm Insurance, was also founded in Bloomington by George J. Mecherle in 1922.