Normal, Illinois is located in McLean County, in the heart of the state, that saw its share of historical events over the years. From pivotal battles to famous speeches and people, Normal, and the surrounding area has played an important role in the history of the United States. Here are seven events that have taken place close to Normal.
1. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates - Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas famously debated each other during the 1858 Illinois Senate campaign. The debate took place in Bloomington, only a few miles away from Normal, and is considered a significant event leading up to the Civil War.
2. Battle of Lexington - In 1861, Union and Confederate troops clashed in the historic town of Lexington that lies just southeast of Normal. The Union was led by Col. James A. Mulligan, who defended his position and refused to surrender even under heavy shelling.
3. Illinois Central Railroad - In 1853, the Illinois Central Railroad was completed, providing transportation from Chicago to New Orleans. Normal became one of the major stops on the railroad, which allowed for growth and prosperity.
4. The Development of Agriculture - Agriculture is a significant industry in the Normal and Bloomington areas, and the introduction of scientific methods of farming in the late 19th century allowed for agricultural growth. The research and teaching done at Illinois State University, located in Normal, contributed significantly to the development of agriculture in the region.
5. Artist's Colony - In the 1890s, a group of artists and writers founded a colony in the small town of Towanda, located less than 10 miles from Normal. The colony, known as Towanda Arts Colony, attracted artists from across the country and was instrumental in encouraging the growth of modern art in the United States.
6. Franklin D. Roosevelt's Fireside Chats - President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously addressed the nation through his "fireside chats" in the 1930s and 1940s. One of his speeches was given at Illinois State University in 1938, where he spoke about the importance of education in improving the economy.
7. Route 66 - Route 66, one of the most famous highways in America, runs through Normal and Bloomington. The highway was vital in promoting tourism and commerce to the area throughout the 20th century.
In conclusion, Normal, Illinois, and its surroundings, have been a witness to many significant events that helped shape the history of the United States. From civil war battles to modern art, Normal has been home to events that have influenced and inspired people from all walks of life. It remains an exciting destination, where one can immerse themselves in the rich history of the region.
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