Bloomington, Illinois

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Old Mclean County (Illinois) Court House (1900 - 1976) Bloomington (3660700761).jpg
McLean County History Museum (formerly McLean County Court House) in Downtown Bloomington
Official name: City of Bloomington
CountryUnited States
Elevation797 ft (242.9 m)
Coordinates40°29′03″N 88°59′37″W / 40.48417°N 88.99361°W / 40.48417; -88.99361
Area27.23 sq mi (70.5 km2)
 - land27.22 sq mi (70 km2)
 - water0.01 sq mi (0 km2)
Population78,902 (2013)
 - urban132,600 (US: 243th)
 - metro188,715 (US: 223th)
MayorTari Renner
TimezoneCST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code61701, 61704, 61705
Area code309
Location of Bloomington within Illinois
Location of Illinois in the United States
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Coordinates: 40°29′03″N 88°59′37″W / 40.48417°N 88.99361°W / 40.48417; -88.99361
Old Mclean County (Illinois) Court House (1900 - 1976) Bloomington (3660700761).jpg
McLean County History Museum (formerly McLean County Court House) in Downtown Bloomington
Official name: City of Bloomington
CountryUnited States
Elevation797 ft (242.9 m)
Coordinates40°29′03″N 88°59′37″W / 40.48417°N 88.99361°W / 40.48417; -88.99361
Area27.23 sq mi (70.5 km2)
 - land27.22 sq mi (70 km2)
 - water0.01 sq mi (0 km2)
Population78,902 (2013)
 - urban132,600 (US: 243th)
 - metro188,715 (US: 223th)
MayorTari Renner
TimezoneCST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code61701, 61704, 61705
Area code309
Location of Bloomington within Illinois
Location of Illinois in the United States

Bloomington is a city in McLean County, Illinois, United States and the county seat. It is adjacent to Normal, Illinois, and is the more populous of the two principal municipalities of the Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area. The mayor of Bloomington is Tari Renner.

The 2010 census showed the city had a population of 76,610.[1] making it the 12th most populated city in Illinois, and the fifth-most populous city in the state outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area.[2] Combined with Normal, the twin cities have a population of roughly 130,000.


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, the city has a total area of 27.23 square miles (70.5 km2), of which 27.22 square miles (70.5 km2) (or 99.96%) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.026 km2) (or 0.04%) is water.[3]

Climate and weather[edit]

Bloomington, Illinois
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[4]

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of 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.[4]


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

The area of today's Bloomington was at the edge of a large grove occupied by the Kickapoo people before the first Euro-American settlers arrived in the early 1820s.[5] 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.[6]

When the County of McLean was incorporated, a county seat was established. However, the legislation stated that the site of Bloomington "would be located later." James Allin, who was one of the promoters of the new county, offered to donate 60 acres (240,000 m2) of his own 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 the 4th of July 1831. At this time there were few roads, but rich soils brought new farmers who began commerce by conducting their business in the newly formed 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 was working as a lawyer in nearby Springfield, Illinois.[5]

In 1900 an officer on patrol discovered a fire in a laundry across the street from the old City Hall and Police Station. He sounded the alarm but the fire eventually destroyed the majority of the downtown, especially the areas north and east of the courthouse. However, the burnt area was quickly rebuilt from the designs of local architects George Miller and Paul O. Moratz.

During the first two decades of the 20th century, Bloomington continued to grow. Agriculture, the construction of highways and railroads, and the growth of the insurance business (mainly State Farm Insurance) all influenced the growth of Bloomington and its downtown area. The downtown area became a regional shopping center attracting trade from adjoining counties. Labor unions grew in strength. This trend has continued to the present day, where expansion has included many restaurants and other businesses.[citation needed]


Historical population
Est. 201378,9023.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
2012 Estimate[8]

As of the census of 2010, there were 76,610 people and 30,454 households within the city. The population density was 2,814.8 people per square mile (1,099.5/km²). There were 34,339 housing units at an average density of 1,261.5 per square mile (492.8/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.


Beer Nuts are produced in Bloomington
The downtown State Farm Insurance Building, part of the Bloomington Central Business District.

Top employers[edit]

According to Bloomington's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report the city is in a good financial position.

The top employers in the area are:

#Employer# of Employees
1State Farm Insurance14,450
2Illinois State University3,259
3Country Financial2,084
4Unit 5 School District1,826
5Advocate Bromenn Medical Center1,522
6Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America1,278
7OSF St. Joseph Medical Center1,140
9McLean County806
10City of Bloomington743
11Bloomington School District 87691
13Illinois Wesleyan University468

Bloomington is also home to a convention center at the McLean County Fairgrounds, U.S. Cellular Coliseum, and Beer Nuts.


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. The Bloomington-Normal Public Transit System operates Bloomington-Normal's internal bus system and several intercity bus lines operate both north-south and east-west service through the city.

Bloomington is serviced by passenger rail, bus service, and several airlines.


Recreation and entertainment[edit]

Nature and wildlife[edit]


In 2005, Golf Digest ranked Bloomington-Normal as the Fifth Best American City for Golf in their "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.[21]

The golf course at the Bloomington Country Club.

The Den at Fox Creek is a 4-star, Arnold Palmer Signature Designed Golf Course that opened in 1997 and features bent grass tees, greens and fairways. 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.[22] The Den is home to both the IHSA Boy’s Golf State Tournament and COUNTRY Youth Classic each summer.[23]

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.[24] The Highland Park Golf Course hosts the COUNTRY Youth Classic each summer.[23]

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, two fairways 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.[25] The Links is also home to the COUNTRY Skills Challenge portion of the COUNTRY Youth Classic each summer.[23]

Prairie Vista sports 16 water hazards, a wave bunker, two-level greens and fairways, lots of sand, a pro shop, carts, club rental, snack bar, banquet room and driving range. In addition to annually hosting the COUNTRY Youth Classic and IHSA Boy’s Golf State Finals, Prairie Vista hosted the 1997 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf East Regional.[26]

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.

Arts and theatre[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.[27]


Annual events[edit]

Historic sites[edit]

Miller Park Pavilion


Area attractions and businesses also offer a number of tours in Bloomington.





Bloomington EdgeIndoor footballCPIFLU.S. Cellular Coliseum2006None
Bloomington ThunderIce HockeyUSHLU.S. Cellular Coliseum2013None
Normal CornBeltersBaseballFrontier LeagueThe Corn Crib2010None
Bloomington FlexBasketballPBLU.S. Cellular Coliseum20122
Bloomington CrashRugbyMidwest Rugby UnionSK Nord Fields2013None


Bloomington is served by two public school districts. The interior of the city is served by (Illinois special charter) 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).

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. 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, Holy Trinity 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 University High School, a laboratory school located at Illinois State University.

The city of Bloomington is home to one university and one trade school:

Neighboring Normal Illinois is home to:

Notable people[edit]

Sister cities[edit]


FM Radio[edit]

TeleCourier Tower in Downtown Bloomington

AM Radio[edit]

NOAA Weather Radio[edit]



Notable companies[edit]

Bloomington is home to State Farm Insurance. [6], Country Financial, and Beer Nuts.[59] The original Steak 'n Shake restaurant was opened in Normal, Bloomington's adjoining city, in 1934. [7] It also has the largest Dairy Queen Restaurant[citation needed].

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2010 City Population and Housing Occupancy Status". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved May 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ M.K. Guetersloh (2006-06-16). "Bloomington grows by 10,000". Pantagraph. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  3. ^ "Places: Illinois". 2010 Census Gazetteer Files. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  4. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Bloomington, Illinois". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  5. ^ a b History of Bloomington, History of Bloomington
  6. ^ History of Bloomington (City Website), History of Bloomington (from city website)
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  9. ^ Amtrak Fact Sheet Illinois 2008
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  11. ^ CIRA Press Release
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  27. ^ The Rise of the Creative Class. And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure and Everyday Life, 2002. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02477-7.
  28. ^ Bloomington Cultural District | Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts
  29. ^ Illinois Symphony Orchestra home page
  30. ^ The McLean County Arts Center
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  41. ^ a b c d e f g Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB Website)
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  54. ^ Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU Website)
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  56. ^ Normal, Illinois website, Sister City Partnership
  57. ^ a b c d "Interactive City Directory". Sister Cities International. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  58. ^ "KZZ65". National Weather Service Central Illinois, Lincoln IL. 
  59. ^ Beer Nuts located in Bloomington, Official Website

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]