Bloomington, Illinois

City: Bloomington

County: McLean

State: Illinois

Lat/Long: 40.480950, -88.991540

Bloomington is a city and the county seat of McLean County, Illinois. Located in central Illinois, 125 miles southwest of Chicago and thirty-five miles east southeast of Peoria, Bloomington lies just south of Normal, its sister city. Originally known as Keg Grove and Blooming Grove, Bloomington was home to the Kickapoo Indians until 1822, when white settlers began moving into the area. In December 1830, the Illinois General Assembly designated Bloomington as the seat of government for the newly-created county of McLean. The U.S. Post Office Department established a post office in the village in May 1831. In March 1839, the General Assembly incorporated Bloomington as a town, and in February 1850, town officials incorporated it as a city, which the General Assembly legally recognized in 1852. Bloomington became an important center for farming and coal-mining, and, along with Normal, a home of institutions of higher learning, with the establishment of Illinois Wesleyan College in Bloomington in 1850 and the Illinois State Normal School in Normal in 1857. In May 1856, Bloomington hosted a state convention of politicians opposed to the Kansas-Nebraska Act--a meeting that became the founding convention of the Republican Party in Illinois. The General Assembly re-chartered Bloomington as a city in 1861.

Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary 3rd ed., (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1997), 150; James N. Adams, comp., Illinois Place Names (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Society, 1989), 296; Edward Callary, Place Names of Illinois (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 37-38; "Bloomington," The Encyclopædia Britannica (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 1911), 4:86; "An Act Creating M'Lean County," 25 December 1830, Laws of Illinois (1831), 57-59; An Act to Incorporate the Town of Bloomington; "An Act to Legalize the Incorporation of the City of Bloomington and the Official Acts of the Mayor and the City Council of Said City, and the Appropriate Fines and Forfeitures Incurred Within the Limits of Said City," 19 June 1852, Laws of Illinois (1852), 45; "An Act to Grant and Establish a City Charter for the City of Bloomington," 13 February 1861, Private Laws of Illinois (1861), 104-15.