The History of Bloomington St. Joseph Academy
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.
The community 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.
Outside of 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.
The Bloomington-Normal 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.