City of Bloomington
McLean County History Museum (formerly McLean County Court House) in Downtown Bloomington
McLean County History Museum (formerly McLean County Court House) in Downtown Bloomington
Official logo of Bloomington
Location of Bloomington in McLean County, Illinois
Location of Bloomington in McLean County, Illinois
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 40°29′03″N 88°59′37″W / 40.48417°N 88.99361°W / 40.48417; -88.99361Coordinates: 40°29′03″N 88°59′37″W / 40.48417°N 88.99361°W / 40.48417; -88.99361
CountryUnited States
 • MayorMboka Mwilambwe[1]
 • City ManagerTim Gleason
 • City27.24 sq mi (70.56 km2)
 • Land27.12 sq mi (70.24 km2)
 • Water0.12 sq mi (0.32 km2)
797 ft (243 m)
 • City78,680
 • Density2,901.29/sq mi (1,120.18/km2)
 • Urban
132,600 (US: 243rd)
 • Metro
191,067 (US: 223rd)
Time zoneUTC−06:00 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−05:00 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
61701, 61704, 61705
Area code(s)309
FIPS code17-06613
Interstate highwaysI-39.svgI-55.svg
Interstate 74 in Illinois
AirportCentral Illinois Regional Airport
Public transitConnect Transit
Wikimedia CommonsBloomington, Illinois

Bloomington is a city and the county seat of McLean County, Illinois, United States. It is adjacent to the town of Normal, and is the more populous of the two principal municipalities of the Bloomington–Normal metropolitan area. Bloomington is 135 miles (217 km) southwest of Chicago, and 162 miles (261 km) northeast of St. Louis. The 2020 Census showed the city had a population of 78,680,[3] making it the 13th most populated city in Illinois, and the fifth-most populous city in the state outside the Chicago Metropolitan Area.[4] Combined with Normal, the twin cities have a population of roughly 130,000. The Bloomington area is home to Illinois Wesleyan University and Illinois State University. It also serves as the headquarters for State Farm Insurance and Country Financial.


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, Bloomington has a total area of 27.229 square miles (70.52 km2), of which 27.22 square miles (70.50 km2) (or 99.97%) is land and 0.009 square miles (0.02 km2) (or 0.03%) is water.[5]

Climate and weather

Bloomington, Illinois
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[6]

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.[6]


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

The Bloomington area was at the edge of a large grove occupied by the Kickapoo people before the first Euro-American settlers arrived in the early 1820s.[7] 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.[8]

When the County of McLean was incorporated, a county seat was established. However, the legislation stated the site of Bloomington "would be located later." James Allin, one of the new county's promoters, offered to donate 60 acres (240,000 m2) of his 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.[7] Prominent Bloomington resident Jesse W. Fell, who founded the Bloomington Pantagraph and who was most prominent in local real estate, had suggested the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1854 and played a prominent role in pushing Lincoln to run for President.[9]

In 1900 an officer on patrol discovered a fire in a laundry across the street from the old city hall and police station.[10] He sounded the alarm but the fire 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.

In 1997, Judy Markowitz was elected as the city's first female and Jewish Mayor.[11] During Markowitz's two terms as Mayor, an arena was built in downtown Bloomington and the city's performing arts center began restoration.[12][13] Bloomington would also approve a gay rights ordinance in 2002.[14] In 2021, Mboka Mwilambwe was elected as the city's first black mayor.[15]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[16]
2018 Estimate[17]

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 inhabitants per square mile (1,086.8/km2). There were 34,339 housing units at an average density of 1,261.5 per square mile (487.1/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.
Beer Nuts are produced in Bloomington.

Top employers

According to Bloomington's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the area's top employers are:

# Employer Employees
1 State Farm Insurance 14,731
2 Illinois State University 3,281
3 Country Financial 1,972
4 McLean County Unit District No. 5 1,761
5 Carle Bromenn Medical Center 1,305
6 OSF St. Joseph Medical Center 860
7 McLean County 835
8 Afni 830
9 Bloomington School District 87 680
10 City of Bloomington 679

Bloomington is also home to a convention center at the McLean County Fairgrounds, Grossinger Motors Arena, 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 north–south and east–west service through the city.

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


Recreation and entertainment

Nature and wildlife


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.[29]

The golf course at the Bloomington Country Club
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. 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.[30] The Den is home to both the IHSA Boys' Golf State Tournament and State Farm Youth Classic each summer.[31]

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.[32] The Highland Park Golf Course hosts the State Farm Youth Classic each summer.[31]

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, 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.[33] The Links is also home to the skills Challenge portion of the State Farm Youth Classic each summer.[31]

Prairie Vista sports 16 water hazards, a wave bunker, two-level greens and fairways, much sand, a pro shop, carts, club rental, snack bar, banquet room and driving range. In addition to annually hosting the State Farm Youth Classic and IHSA Boys' Golf State Finals, Prairie Vista hosted the 1997 NCAA Division I Women's Golf East Regional.[34]

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

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.[35]


Annual events

Historic sites

Miller Park Pavilion
Miller Park Pavilion


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





Team League Sport Venue Established Championships
Normal CornBelters Prospect League Baseball The Corn Crib 2010 None
FC Diablos Midwest Premier League Association football Bloomington High School 2017 0


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Bloomington is served by two public school districts. The interior of the city is served by Bloomington Public Schools 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, Corpus Christi Catholic School 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 Metcalf Elm./Jr. School and University High School, laboratory schools located at Illinois State University.

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

Neighboring Normal Illinois is home to:

Bloomington/Normal Japanese Saturday School (ブルーミントン・ノーマル補習授業校 Burūminton Nōmaru Hoshū Jugyō Kō), a Japanese weekend school, was established in 1986 and held at the Thomas Metcalf School, an ISU laboratory school in Normal.[65] The school has a separate office in Normal.[66]

Notable people

Main article: List of people from Bloomington, Illinois

Sister cities


FM Radio

TeleCourier Tower in Downtown Bloomington
TeleCourier Tower in Downtown Bloomington

AM Radio

NOAA Weather Radio



Notable companies

Bloomington is home to State Farm Insurance.,[70] Country Financial, and Beer Nuts.[71] The original Steak 'n Shake restaurant was opened in Normal, Bloomington's adjoining city, in 1934.[72] It also has the largest Dairy Queen Restaurant.[73]

In popular culture

See also


  1. ^ Nardi, Sarah (May 1, 2021). "At Swearing In, Bloomington Mayor Mwilambwe Vows to Tackle Divisions". WGLT.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  3. ^ "2020 City Population and Demographics". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  4. ^ M.K. Guetersloh (June 16, 2006). "Bloomington grows by 10,000". Pantagraph. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  5. ^ "G001 – Geographic Identifiers – 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Bloomington, Illinois". The Weather Channel. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  7. ^ a b History of Bloomington, History of Bloomington Archived February 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ History of Bloomington (City Website), History of Bloomington (from city website) Archived February 29, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Jesse W. Fell (1808–1887)".
  10. ^ McLean County Museum of History (Museum Finding Aids), Bloomington Fire of June 1900
  11. ^ Stock, Eric (February 16, 2021). "Judy Markowitz, Bloomington's Groundbreaking Mayor, Dies". WGLT. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  12. ^ Doyle, Neil (February 16, 2021). "Former Bloomington Mayor Judy Markowitz passes away". WJBC. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  13. ^ "Judith Stern Harrison Markowitz 1938 – 2021". Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  14. ^ "Bloomington, Ill., approves gay rights ordinance". October 30, 2002. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  15. ^ Denham, Ryan (April 7, 2021). "Mwilambwe Comes Out On Top In 3-Way Bloomington Mayoral Race". WGLT. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  16. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  17. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  18. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet Illinois 2008" (PDF). Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  19. ^ "Home | CIRA". Central Illinois Regional Airport.
  20. ^ "News Archives – Central Illinois Regional Airport".
  21. ^ "The Pepsi Ice Center :: Bloomington Parks & Recreation - Bloomington, Illinois". Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  22. ^ US Cellular Coliseum. "US Cellular Coliseum – Home".
  23. ^ a b Parker, Kerrie. "Bloomington Public Library". Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  24. ^ "City of Bloomington Parks & Recreation - Interactive Parkfinder". Archived from the original on December 14, 2010. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  25. ^ "Bloomington Parks & Recreation - Park Regulations". Archived from the original on February 22, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  26. ^ "Miller Park Zoo". Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  27. ^ "Bloomington Parks & Recreation - Constitution Trail". Archived from the original on December 14, 2010. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  28. ^ "Genevieve Green Gardens: Ewing Cultural Center". Archived from the original on January 5, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  29. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 22, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2011.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "The den at Fox Creek Golf Course :: Bloomington Parks & Recreation - Bloomington, Illinois". Archived from the original on December 14, 2010. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  31. ^ a b c "". Archived from the original on October 16, 2015.
  32. ^ "Highland Park Golf Course :: Bloomington Parks & Recreation - Bloomington, Illinois". Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  33. ^ "The Links at Ireland Grove". Ireland Grove.
  34. ^ "Prairie Vista Golf Course". Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  35. ^ The Rise of the Creative Class. And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure and Everyday Life, 2002. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02477-7.
  36. ^ "Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts | Home BCPA".
  37. ^ Administrator. "Illinois Symphony Orchestra: Listen Live!".
  38. ^ "McLean County Arts Center – MCAC Home".
  39. ^ "Home". Community Players.
  40. ^ "The Castle Theatre".
  41. ^ "Illinois Wesleyan: IWU Theatre Box Office". Archived from the original on April 18, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  42. ^ "School of Music".
  43. ^ "Bloomington Parks & Recreation". Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  44. ^ "USA Ballet". usaballet.
  45. ^ "The American Passion Play, Inc".
  46. ^ "Home – Illinois Shakespeare Festival – Illinois State". May 19, 2016.
  47. ^ "McLean County Museum of History".
  48. ^ "MCA Art – The McLean County Art Scene". Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  49. ^ "McLean County Fair".
  50. ^ a b c d e f "Welcome to Bloomington-Normal, Illinois". Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. Archived from the original on October 9, 2018. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  51. ^ "Bloomington Cultural District | Historic Tours". Archived from the original on August 8, 2011. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  52. ^ "Tours".
  53. ^ Karen. "The Tea Ladies Inc. Bringing the Art of Victorian Tea to Life".
  54. ^ "McLean County Museum of History". Archived from the original on April 14, 2011. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  55. ^ "Website Disabled". Archived from the original on April 24, 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  56. ^ "Eastland Mall -- Home Page". Archived from the original on March 3, 2011. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  57. ^ Sanicola, Laura (December 12, 2017). "America's malls are rotting away". CNNMoney.
  58. ^ "Downtown Bloomington Association | Learn About Downtown". Archived from the original on May 10, 2011. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  59. ^ "File Not Found – Beer Nuts".
  60. ^ "Illinois Fusion Soccer". Archived from the original on February 8, 2014. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  61. ^ "Apps Parents Should Choose with Caution". Choosing Apps Wisely. Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  62. ^ "Game Time Gym II – …Where players are made".
  63. ^ "About Us".
  64. ^ Hairmasters Institute of Cosmetology. "Hairmasters Institute of Cosmetology – Home".
  65. ^ Home page Archived February 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Bloomington/Normal Japanese Saturday School. Retrieved on March 31, 2015. "The facility of Metcalf Laboratory School that we have been using since 1986 allows us to enjoy full use of class rooms as well as gym and outdoor playground."
  66. ^ "~ 学校の概要 ~ Archived February 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine." Bloomington/Normal Japanese Saturday School. Retrieved on March 31, 2015. "郵便送付先: 1413 Heritage Road West, Normal, IL 61761"
  67. ^ Normal, Illinois website, Sister City Partnership
  68. ^ a b c d "Interactive City Directory". Sister Cities International. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  69. ^ "KZZ65". National Weather Service Central Illinois, Lincoln IL.
  70. ^ "Office Locations". Archived from the original on August 19, 2007. Retrieved August 30, 2007.
  71. ^ Beer Nuts located in Bloomington, Official Website
  72. ^ "Steak n Shake | Steakburger & Hand Dipped Milkshakes". Archived from the original on August 20, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  73. ^ Hansen, Karen (December 21, 2009). "Nation's largest Dairy Queen Grill & Chill set for B-N". Bloomington Pantagraph. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  74. ^ For a thorough account of Bloomington's history, cf. Jean Barkey et al., Whitchurch Township Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine (Erin, ON: Boston Mills, 1993), 100–102.

Further reading