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Bloomington, a city in central Illinois, the seat of McLean County, situated about 65 miles northeast of Springfield. It is a trade center for an agricultural area that is noted for its corn and also stock raising and dairying. The city's industries produce hybrid seed corn, builders' supplies, electronic tubes, heating and ventilating equipment, and cotton pulp for paper.
The American Passion Play, originally performed in 1923, is presented each spring. The Illinois Shakespeare Festival, held annually on the grounds of Ewing Manor, is a nationally recognized event. There are many cultural outlets in the city, some of which are Illinois Wesleyan University Merwin Galleries, the McLean County Arts Center, the Twin Cities Ballet, and the Miller Park Outdoor Summer Theatre.
Named in 1822 for its profusion of flowers and location just north of the town of Blooming Grove, Bloomington shares Franklin Avenue with the bordering city of Normal. This common avenue also was the only street in the nation with a university at each end. Illinois Wesleyan University is in Bloomington, while Illinois State University is located in the adjoining city of Normal, which is considered a twin city to Bloomington.
Bloomington was the site of Abraham Lincoln's "Lost Speech" on the abolition of slavery, so named because reporters became so engrossed in the speech that none of them took notes. Although newspapers were unable to report the exact speech, most historians agree that this popular theme helped carry Lincoln to the presidency.
The Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is located at 210 S. East ST, P.O. Box 1586, Bloomington, IL 61702. Phone 309.829.1641 or 800.433.8226.
The David Davis Mansion is at 1000 E. Monroe ST. Built in 1872 for US Supreme Court Judge David Davis and his wife Sarah. The home is considered a fine example of mid-Victorian residential architecture. Such features as indoor plumbing, a central heating system, and a cast-iron cooking stove were considered luxuries. Original furnishings and other period pieces are enhanced by handsome woodwork, stencils and hand-painted ceilings. Allow 1 hour, 30 minutes minimum to tour. The mansion is closed major holidays. Phone 309.828.1084. Template:OMG728