Normal, Illinois facts for kids

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Normal, Illinois
Uptown Normal, looking east on North Street, 2011
Uptown Normal, looking east on North Street, 2011
Country United States
State Illinois
County McLean
Townships Normal, Dry Grove, Towanda
Settled 1854
Founded February 1865
Incorporated February 25, 1867
Area
 • Total 18.41 sq mi (47.7 km2)
 • Land 18.35 sq mi (47.5 km2)
 • Water 0.06 sq mi (0.2 km2)  0.33%
Elevation 869 ft (265 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 52,497
 • Estimate (2013) 54,664
 • Density 2,851.5/sq mi (1,100.99/km2)
Time zone Central Standard Time (USA) (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) Central Daylight Time (UTC−5)
Area code(s) 309
Website www.normal.org

Normal is a town in McLean County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town's population was 52,497. Normal is the smaller of two principal municipalities of the Bloomington–Normal metropolitan area, and Illinois' seventh most populous community outside of the Chicago metropolitan area. Normal's mayor is Chris Koos.

The main campus of Illinois' oldest public university, Illinois State University, a fully accredited four-year institution, is in Normal, as is Heartland Community College, a fully accredited two-year institution. There is also a satellite campus of Lincoln College, which offers associate degrees as well as four-year programs.

A large percentage of residents of Normal are employed by Illinois State University, State Farm Insurance (Corporate Headquarters in Bloomington), Country Financial (Corporate Headquarters in Bloomington), and Unit 5 schools.

History

JesseFell
Jesse W. Fell, founding citizen

The town was laid out with the name North Bloomington on June 7, 1854 by Joseph Parkinson. From its founding, it was generally recognized that Jesse W. Fell was the force behind the creation of the town. He had arranged for the new railroad, which would soon become the Chicago and Alton Railroad, to pass west of Bloomington then curving to cross the Illinois Central Railroad at a point where he owned or controlled land. Most of the original town lies south of these tracks, with Beaufort Street as its northern limit, and some blocks west of the Illinois Central and north of the tracks. Fell, his brothers, and associates quickly laid out many additions to the original town.

The town was renamed Normal in February 1865 and officially incorporated on February 25, 1867. The name was taken from Illinois State Normal University, a normal school (teacher-training institution) located there. The school has since been renamed Illinois State University after becoming a general four-year university. Normal is adjacent to Bloomington, Illinois, and when mentioned together they are known as the "Twin Cities", "Bloomington-Normal", "BN", or "BloNo".

In 2007, the town council voted to name the downtown area "Uptown Normal", and, as of 2011, Uptown Normal is home to the Children's Discovery Museum, Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, restaurants, and a variety of stores. The district is also home to the historic and non-profit Normal Theater, a restored Art Deco theater owned by the Town of Normal that runs classic and independent films.

Awards

  • November 19, 2014: Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community Award, League of American Bicyclists
  • 2014: First in State for Most Minutes Read, 2014 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, Scholastic Corp. - Received by Glenn Elementary
  • 2014: Chamber of the Year, Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) - Received by the McLean County Chamber of Commerce
  • 2013: Honorable Mention - Mayor's Climate Protection Awards, United States Conference of Mayors - Received by Mayor Chris Koos
  • 2013: Tree Cities USA Community Award, Arbor Day Foundation
  • 2011: National Award for Smart Growth Achievement - Civic Places, United States Environmental Protection Agency

Geography

Normal is located near 40°30′44″N 88°59′19″W / 40.512189°N 88.988701°W / 40.512189; -88.988701 (40.512189, -88.988701). According to the 2010 census, Normal has a total area of 18.412 square miles (47.69 km2), of which 18.35 square miles (47.53 km2) (or 99.66%) is land and 0.062 square miles (0.16 km2) (or 0.34%) is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 847
1870 1,116 31.8%
1880 2,470 121.3%
1890 3,459 40.0%
1900 3,796 9.7%
1910 4,024 6.0%
1920 5,143 27.8%
1930 6,768 31.6%
1940 6,983 3.2%
1950 9,772 39.9%
1960 13,357 36.7%
1970 26,396 97.6%
1980 35,672 35.1%
1990 40,023 12.2%
2000 45,386 13.4%
2010 52,497 15.7%
Est. 2015 54,373 3.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
2013 Estimate

As of the 2000 census, there were 45,386 people, 15,157 households, and 8,184 families residing in the town. The population density was 3,332.6 people per square mile (1,286.6/km²). There were 15,683 housing units at an average density of 1,151.6/sq mi (444.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 87.57% White, 7.71% African American, 0.15% Native American, 2.21% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.93% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.56% of the population.

There were 15,157 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.0% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the town, the age distribution of the population shows 17.5% under the age of 18, 38.1% from 18 to 24, 23.1% from 25 to 44, 13.7% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23 years. For every 100 females there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $40,379, and the median income for a family was $60,644. Males had a median income of $41,323 versus $27,486 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,775. About 5.6% of families and 19.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.4% of those under age 18 and 3.9% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

Normal is served by I-39, I-55, Interstate 74, one railroad line, the Central Illinois Regional Airport (BMI) in neighboring Bloomington, and Connect Transit provides public bus service in the area.

Highways

Interstate 55 wraps around the north and northwest edge of the town. Interstate 74 shares the I-55 roadway on the western edge of Normal before splitting off toward the northwest. Normal is the southern terminus of Interstate 39.

Airport

The Central Illinois Regional Airport is on Route 9 in Bloomington, approximately five miles east southeast from Uptown Normal. The airport is served by four airlines, five rental car agencies, and has direct daily flights to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Detroit, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. A record 559,481 passengers flew to or from CIRA in 2010.

Mass transit

Transportation Center (Bloomington-Normal, IL) 2
The Bloomington-Normal Transportation Center

Connect Transit has 11 color-coded fixed routes in the area; a lift-assisted paratransit service called NiteRide, which operates when Illinois State University is in session; and a campus shuttle for ISU called Redbird Express.

Rail

The Bloomington-Normal Amtrak station is in Normal at 100 E. Parkinson St. The station serves five trains in each direction between St. Louis and Chicago each day. The station also serves connecting bus service to Peoria and Amtrak stations in Galesburg and Champaign/Urbana. It is Illinois' second busiest Amtrak station after Chicago, servicing nearly a quarter million passengers in fiscal year 2011. Traveling to Bloomington-Normal by Amtrak is a two and a half hour ride from St. Louis and Chicago.

Attractions

Recreation and entertainment

CDM1
Children's Discovery Museum, 2008
  • The Children's Discovery Museum in uptown Normal provides hands-on exhibits, classes and programs for children. The museum has three floors of exhibits including a two-story mesh climber for children to climb to the third floor and a 2,000-square-foot (190 m2) agriculture exhibit called AgMazing. The museum also offers education programs and houses the Discover More! Store. In 2010, the Children's Discovery Museum was deemed the best creative children's experience in Illinois by Media World USA's "Best of" Series. The Children's Discovery Museum was subsequently featured on a Best of Illinois television program on CBS 2 WBBM Chicago and on the Travel Channel.
  • The Illinois State University Planetarium offers a variety of science and astronomy programs for children from preschool to high-school. The planetarium is located in Felmley Hall of Science on ISU's campus. Public programs are usually offered on weekends and during special events.
  • The Challenger Learning Center relocated to Heartland Community College in 2010. The Challenger Learning Center promotes leadership, communication, problem-solving and critical thinking skills while offering an interactive, simulated space and science experience through scheduled team missions for students, public and corporate groups.

Nature and wildlife

  • Normal offers many parks and facilities. As of February 2011, there are 24 parks, facilities and trails operated by the Town of Normal: Carden Park, Children and Elders Forest, Children's Discovery Museum, Connie Link Amphitheater, Constitution Trail, David S. Anderson Park, East Detention Basin, Fairview Park, Fell Park, Fransen Park, Hidden Creek Nature Sanctuary, Ironwood Golf Course, Ironwood Park, Kelly Detention Basin, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Maxwell Park, Normal Theater, Oak Street Ball Diamond, One Normal Plaza & Community Activity Center, Rosa Park Commons, Savannah Park, Shepard Park, Underwood Park, and the West Detention Basin. Fairview and David S. Anderson parks include swimming pools; Fairview Park includes a skate park for in-line skating and skateboarding; Carden Park includes "Safety Town", a place for pre-school aged children to "drive" tricycles complete with traffic signs; and Maxwell Park has a fenced-in dog park and Champion Fields.
  • The Bloomington-Normal Constitution Trail is a 24-mile (39 km) jogging, walking, cycling, and rollerblading trail has become a hit with the community. The north-south segment of the trail follows the abandoned Illinois Central Gulf (ICG) railroad from Kerrick Road in Normal to Bell Street in Bloomington. The east-west segment intersects the north segment at Normal City Hall Annex and continues east to Towanda-Barnes Road. The Liberty Branch begins at Commerce Drive and ends at Old Farm Lakes Subdivision. The Freedom Branch begins at Lincoln Street and ends at Route 9 West. Parking is available at adjoining lots throughout the area. The trail is open to walkers, runners, in-line skaters, skateboarders, cyclists, wheelchair users, and other non-motorized forms of transportation. During winter months, it is not cleared of snow, and is available to skiers; weather permitting.
  • The Ecology Action Center is a walk-in information and environmental education center for individuals, classes, workshops, and meetings. Opened in 1995, it provides the community with practical workshops on recycling, composting and energy saving, nature walks and educational field trips for schools and groups. Various publications and materials are available.

Golfing

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.

  • Ironwood Golf Course: 6,960 yards, Par 72, 18 holes. Ironwood Golf Course, owned and operated by the Town of Normal Parks and Recreation Department, is a championship course that includes four water hazards and four sets of tees that range from 5,580 to 6,960 yards. Ironwood's attributes, which include a grass tee driving range, large practice putting greens, a practice bunker, banquet room, pro shop, carts and individual or group lessons, offer a challenging test to players of all abilities. The 18-hole course, which opened in 1990, has hosted high school regional, sectional and conference championship tournaments and numerous collegiate tournaments; as well as state amateur qualification tournaments. Ironwood also hosts the COUNTRY Youth Classic each summer.
  • Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University: 6,730 yards, Par 71, 18 holes. Weibring Golf Club, formerly known as University Golf Course, is located near the northwest corner of the Illinois State University campus. The course was designed by golf course architect Robert Bruce Harris and opened for play in 1964. Re-designed in 2000, the course features bent grass greens, tees and fairways, continuous cart paths from tee to green, strategically placed bunkers and a variety of tees for every skill level. Weibring Golf Course has hosted IHSA Regional, Sectional and State Championships, NCAA Regional Championships and Intercollegiate Tournaments as well as annually hosting the COUNTRY Youth Classic.
  • Golf Learning Center: Located at All Seasons, the Golf Learning Center is a synthetic turf facility, named one of the top 100 American golf ranges by Golf Range Magazine.

Arts and theatre

Facilities

  • Braden Auditorium, located inside Illinois State University's Bone Student Center, serves as the hub of student life at ISU and a landmark resource to the Bloomington-Normal community. The Auditorium seats 3,457. Eight to ten annual shows feature a variety of Broadway musicals, pop and country stars, touring variety shows, comedians and big name performers.
  • The Town of Normal Parks and Recreation Department's "Normal Summer Music Theatre" program celebrated its 40th season in 2011. This program invites students in grades 8-12 to perform in two different productions each summer at the Connie Link Amphitheater.
  • Heartland Theatre Company performs a number of plays every season. Heartland's Annual 10-Minute Play Festival attracts playwrights from all over the country and their "New Plays from the Heartland" Midwest One-Act Play Competition allows winning playwrights from eight Midwest states to share their original works with audiences.
  • The Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts provides the ISU campus and greater Central Illinois community with a wide variety of cultural activities. More than 20,000 people attend annual performances produced by the Illinois State University Schools of Music and Theatre in the center and all performances are open to the public.
  • The Prairie Fire Theatre is a not-for-profit organization, incorporated in 1998. All events are performed and directed by local talent, drawing from a largely untapped but highly skilled pool of professional artists.

Annual events

  • The Sugar Creek Arts Festival is held each July in Uptown Normal. The combination of high-quality art, live music and food has kept the streets of Normal full of color and activity for over 22 years. The festival has a unique trait- only original pieces of artwork are shown; not copies of prints or items purchased overseas. The Sugar Creek Arts Festival, hosted by the McLean Country Arts Center, is one of the largest art festivals in Central Illinois and continues to grow.
  • The Sweet Corn Blues Festival is held each August in Uptown Normal and features over 50,000 ears of fresh sweet corn, sidewalk sales, arts, crafts and flea market vendors. The festival also serves as a welcome back for students at Illinois State University.
  • Beginning in 1978 with twenty-one performances on the tennis courts of Ewing Manor, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival has grown to become an internationally recognized company; now putting on thirty-six performances each season in a state-of-the-art, Elizabethan-style theater. In 2009, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival was named one of the ten best theatre festivals anywhere by author Susan Magsamen in her book, "The 10 Best of Everything Families: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers", published by National Geographic.

Historic sites

Normal, IL Post Office mural, "Development of the State Normal School" by Albert Pele
The WPA mural, "Development of the State Normal School" by Albert Pels, is on display in the Normal Post Office
Normal theater
Normal Theater, 2006
  • the Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School, operated from 1865 until 1979, when it was officially closed. The reasons for closure included a rising high per capita cost of care, the deterioration of many campus buildings, and dwindling numbers of children referred by state agencies. Though several of the original structures have been abandoned and left derelict, others have been converted for a number of uses. These include a seniors community, a commercial pool providing swim lessons, and a community football field.

These three locations are listed in the National Register of Historic Places:

  • Camelback Bridge
  • John W. Cook Hall
  • Normal Theater opened in 1937 and was the first theater in Bloomington-Normal built specifically for sound films. The strong art-deco design was, at the time, very avant-garde for a small Illinois town. The Normal Theater has been completely restored to its original condition. In addition to showing classic movies and independent films, the theater is used for a variety of activities including group outings, meetings and other events where assembly seating is required.

In December 2010, a Route 66 Wayside Exhibit was installed at the historic Sprague's Super Service building in Normal. The exhibit tells the story of Route 66's great significance and impact on the community. Visitors are welcome anytime during daylight hours.

Retail

The town's major retail center is on Veterans Parkway on the east side of town. It includes The Shoppes at College Hills, an outdoor mall on the site of the former College Hills Mall. As of April 2011, The Shoppes at College Hills includes Ann Taylor Loft, Bath & Body Works, Chico's, Cold Stone Creamery, Coldwater Creek, Colorific, Dress Barn, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Flat Top Grill, Gordmans, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hobby Lobby, J. Jill, Joe's Stationhouse Pizza Pub, Jos. A. Bank, Lane Bryant, Motherhood Maternity, Portrait Innovations, Starbucks, Target, The Children's Place, Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer/The Digital Store, Vitamin World, Von Maur and Yankee Candle.

The Constitution Trail Center on the corner of N. Main Street and Raab Road contains a variety of stores, restaurants and entertainment venues including Schnucks, Starplex Cinemas, Famous Labels and Dollar Tree.

In the media

  • The chorus of "I Got High" by Clem Snide (The Meat Of Life, 429 Records) includes the lyrics:
"I got high with a Sufjan Stevens fan in Normal, Illinois
And this song goes out to all you beautiful
American girls and boys"
  • "Normal" by Big Country (Restless Natives & Rarities, 1998)
  • Ten Minutes From Normal by Karen Hughes (Viking Press, 2004)
  • Way to Normal by Ben Folds (2008)
  • Discovery Channel's "Birth of a Mitsubishi", which focuses on the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
  • "Nine Kinds of Naked", a 2008 novel written by Austin, Texas-based writer Tony Vigorito, takes place in Normal.
  • 1991 TV show "Eerie, Indiana" references in one episode Normal as the twin city of Eerie.

Sister cities

  • Japan Asahikawa, Japan
  • Russia Vladimir, Russia
  • United Kingdom Canterbury, United Kingdom
  • Israel Upper Nazareth, Israel
  • Israel Nazareth, Israel
  • Palestinian National Authority Ramallah, Palestine
  • Cuba Caibarien, Cuba
  • Cuba Remedios, Cuba

Images for kids


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