Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Marker Details

The marker is located in the Funk's Grove Rest Area on I-55, south of Bloomington between Shirley and McLean
Dedication Date:
Dedication By:
Illinois Department of Transportation and The Illinois State Historical Society

Marker Description:
The first settlement in this area in 1822 was called Keg Grove. By the time a post office was established in 1829 the settlement was known as Blooming Grove. McClean County was organized the following year and Bloomington, which was laid out in 1831 just north of Blooming Grove on 22.5 acres of land donated by James Allin, was selected as county seat. It was incorporated as a town in 1843 and a city in 1850. In 1853 Illinois Wesleyan University was chartered here and in 1857 Normal University, first state-supported school of higher education in Illinois, was established in North Bloomington which soon changed its name to Normal. The State Republican Party was formally organized in Bloomington in 1856 at a convention that Abraham Lincoln delivered his 'Lost Speech,' so called because no record of it was kept. Several of Lincoln's close associates were local residents, including Jesse Fell, credited with the founding of Normal, Leonard Swett, lawyer and campaigner for Lincoln, and David Davis, appointed to the United States Supreme Court by Lincoln (1862-1877) and later United States Senator. Other distinguished residents include Governors John M. Hamilton and Joseph Fifer; Adlai Stevenson I, Vice-President under Cleveland; and Adlai Stevenson II, Governor, twice presidential candidate, and United Nations Ambassador.

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