Major’s Hall

City: Bloomington

County: McLean

State: Illinois

Bloomington resident William T. Major built Major’s Hall in 1852 as the first public hall in the city. Major’s Hall was located on the third floor of a building at the corner of Front and East streets. It was used for events such as church services, community meetings, and political rallies, and, from 1857 to 1860, was the location of the first classes of the Illinois State Normal University (later Illinois State University). Abraham Lincoln attended the 1856 Illinois Anti-Nebraska Convention which was held at the hall, and there delivered his so-called “Lost Speech” on May 29, 1856. He also gave two speeches at the hall in September 1856 as part of his campaign efforts during the 1856 Federal Election.

E. Duis, The Good Old Times in McLean County, Illinois (Bloomington, IL: Leader, 1874), 290; J. H. Burnham, History of Bloomington and Normal, in McLean County, Illinois (Bloomington, IL: J. H. Burnham, 1879), 55, 67, 109-13, 125; Summary of Speech at Bloomington, Illinois; Summary of Speech at Bloomington, Illinois; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 12 September 1856,; 16 September 1856,