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McHistory: Eleanor Roosevelt's Visit To McLean County

 Eleanor Roosevelt
McLean County Museum of History
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Eleanor Roosevelt at the Illinois Hotel on Nov. 9, 1937.

A community can get a lot of insight by seeing itself reflected in the eyes of an outsider. Eleanor Roosevelt (yes, THAT Eleanor Roosevelt) was one such an outsider for Bloomington-Normal in 1937.

This was her second visit to the Twin Cities, the first being a “whistle stop” tour with her husband, then-presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt, but it would be her first overnight visit.

During her stay she toured the state-run Illinois Sailors' and Soldiers' Children's School in north Normal and became really enamored by that Norman-style cottages for the children.

The First Lady would then go on to have tea and homemade bread (a recipe that is in the archives of the McLean County Museum of History) with Carl and Julia Scott Vrooman, before going on to give a Depression-themed lecture at the Scottish Rite Temple in Downtown Bloomington, now known as the Bloomington Center for Performing Arts.

Ariele Jones is currently the host of Morning Edition; Center Stage, a show focusing on the music of Broadway and Hollywood; and Highway 309.