Normal, town (1990 pop. 40,023), McLean co., central Ill.; inc. 1865. It is the center of a productive farming region. Motor vehicles are manufactured in Normal. The town originally grew around Illinois State Univ. (1857; formerly called Illinois State Normal Univ.), which remains a major contributor to its economy.

Normal is an incorporated town in McLean County, Illinois, United States. It had a population of 45,386 as of the 2000 census. The smaller of two principal municipalities of the Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area in area and population, its population had risen to 50,519 by 2005.

Originally known as North Bloomington, the town was founded under the name of Normal in February of 1865 and officially incorporated in 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," or simply "B-N." The current mayor of Normal is Chris Koos.

The main campus of Heartland Community College, a two-year, fully accredited institution, is located in Normal, as is a satellite campus of Lincoln College, which offers associate degrees as well as four-year programs.

Uptown Normal (formerly Downtown Normal) is currently being revitalized to attract new businesses, and it was recently made the home of the new Children's Discovery Museum. 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. In 2007, the town council agreed to rename Downtown Normal to "Uptown Normal."

A large percentage of residents of Normal are employed by Illinois State University, State Farm Insurance (Corporate Headquarters in Bloomington), COUNTRY Insurance & Financial Services (Corporate Headquarters in Bloomington), Unit 5 schools, and the Mitsubishi Motors North America manufacturing facility, which manufactures the Eclipse, Eclipse Spyder, Endeavor, and Galant.


Normal is located near (40.512189, -88.988701).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 13.7 square miles (35.4 km²), 13.6 square miles (35.3 km²) in land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) (0.44%) in water.


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The census of 2000 counted 45,386 people, 15,157 households, and 8,184 families as town residents. The population density was 3,332.6 people per square mile (1,286.6/km²). There were 15,683 housing units, with an average density of 444.6/km² (1,151.6/sq mi). 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, 27.3% of which 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 population was spread out with 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 unusual age and sex distributions are due in large part to the presence of Illinois State University. A significant number of students at Illinois State University reside in Normal, and the institution has large programs in several female-dominated academic fields, such as education and nursing.

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.

However, traditional measures of poverty can be highly misleading when applied to communities with a large proportion of students, such as Normal.


Three Interstate highways pass through Normal. Interstate 55 wraps around the north and northwest edge of the city. 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.

Central Illinois Regional Airport is located on Route 9 in Bloomington, approximately five miles east southeast from Uptown Normal. The airport is served by five airlines and five rental car agencies, and has direct daily flights to Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Orlando and Las Vegas. The Bloomington-Normal Amtrak station is located in Uptown 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 the second busiest Amtrak station in the state of Illinois after Chicago, servicing more than 150,000 passengers each year. Traveling to Bloomington-Normal via Amtrak is a two and a half hour ride from both St. Louis and Chicago, and an inexpensive alternative to driving.

The Bloomington-Normal Public Transit System has 10 color-coded fixed routes in the area for a $1 adult fare or an unlimited monthly pass for $29. The system also provides lift-assisted paratransit service, "NiteRide," which only operates when Illinois State University is in session, and "Redbird Express," a free campus shuttle to serve Illinois State University.


Recreation & Entertainment

  • 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 agriculture exhibit called AgMazing. The museum also offers education programs and houses the Discover More! Store.
  • The Illinois State University Planetarium offers a variety of entertaining and educational programs about science and astronomy coordinated with preschool, elementary, middle, and high-school course work. In addition, the Planetarium offers programs as a popular form of enriching entertainment for clubs and school groups. Two types of programs are available: Mutli-media and live presentations. The planetarium is located in Felmley Hall of Science on the Illinois State University Campus in Normal. Public programs are usually offered on weekends and during special events.
  • The manufacturing division in Normal, Illinois represents Mitsubishi Motors only passenger car assembly plant in North America. Tours of the facility take place Thursdays at 9:00am and 1:00pm, showcasing the manufacturing process of Mitsubishi’s best-selling models. Some black out dates apply, such as near holidays. Reservations are required for these catwalk tours, which are free to the public.
  • Redbird Arena is a 10,200 seat sports arena at Illinois State University. The arena is the home to the Illinois State Redbirds men's & women's basketball and volleyball teams. In addition to sports, the arena also hosts the Gamma Phi Circus, the oldest running collegiate circus, and various other events including concerts, tournaments, conferences, and job fairs.
  • Normal offers many parks and facilities. As of summer 2008 there are 17 parks available for use: David S. Anderson Park, Carden Park, Children & Elders Forest, East Detention Basin, Fairview Park, Fell Park, Fransen Nature Area, Hidden Creek Nature Area, Ironwood Park, Kelly Detention Basin, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Maxwell Park, Oak Street Ballfield, One Normal Plaza & Community Activity Center, Savannah Park, Underwood Park, and West Detention Basin. Of particular interest: Fairview Park and David S. Anderson Park both include aquatic facilities; Fairview Park includes a Skate Park for in-line skating and skateboarding; Carden Park is located adjacent to "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.

Sports teams

Nature & Wildlife

  • The Bloomington-Normal Constitution Trail is one of Central Illinois’ most notable parks. This 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 Washington 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.
  • The Normal Parks & Recreation Department offers 13 parks encompassing over of land, a golf course, the Historic Normal Theater, a Community Activity Center, 2 outdoor pools, a 10 field softball complex, the Children’s Discovery Museum, and of the Constitution Trail. Parks are open from 6:00am to 11:00pm, alcoholic beverages and smoking are prohibited and pets are allowed in all parks on a leash.

Golf Guide

Bloomington-Normal has been ranked the “Fifth Best American City for Golf” by Golf Digest for two consecutive years.

  • 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: The Golf Learning Center at All Seasons is Central Illinois’ only synthetic turf facility offering full ball flight all year long. The center was recently named one of the top 100 golf ranges in the Nation by Golf Range Magazine. They offer lessons from on-staff PGA and LPGA professional instructors, a pro shop, fully covered hitting decks and virtual sand and water hazards. The Golf Learning Center also offers a putting green, a conference/party room and new restaurant; Swingers Grille. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, adult or child, the Golf Learning Center at All Seasons is the perfect place no matter what month of the year to fulfill all your golf needs.

Arts & Theatre

As the Bloomington-Normal Area continues to blossom, so does the creative arts scene throughout the communities. In fact, according to, Bloomington-Normal is ranked in the top 1% among national creative workforces.

  • 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 about 3,500. Eight to ten annual shows feature a variety of Broadway musicals, pop and country stars, touring variety shows, comedians and big name performers.
  • The streets of Uptown Normal are painted with artists and art lovers alike during the Sugar Creek Arts Festival held each July. 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.

Historic Sites

The three attractions detailed here are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Camelback Bridge
  • John W. Cook Hall
  • The Normal Theater opened in 1937 and was the first theater in Bloomington-Normal built specifically for sound films. The strong art-deco design was then 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.


Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

The Town of Normal is in the McLean County Unit District No. 5.

  • Normal Community High School (NCHS)
  • Normal Community West High School (NCWHS)
  • Kingsley Junior High School (KJHS)
  • Parkside Junior High School (PJHS)
  • Chiddix Junior High School (CJHS)
  • Parkside Elementary
  • Oakdale Elementary
  • Fairview Elementary
  • Grove Elementary
  • Glenn Elementary
  • Colene Hoose Elementary
  • Prairieland Elementary
  • Sugar Creek Elementary
  • Brigham Elementary
  • Fox Creek Elementary
  • Northpoint Elementary
  • Pepper Ridge Elementary
  • Towanda Elementary
  • Carlock Elementary
  • Hudson Elementary

There are also two schools in Normal that are operated by Illinois State University. They are:

Private schools

Epiphany Catholic School, a Roman Catholic primary and middle school, is in Normal.

Colleges and universities

Normal is also home to three centers of higher learning.

  • Heartland Community College has more than 4,800 students, and is the youngest community college in Illinois. Heartland Community College offers training in more than 40 career fields in innovative and technologically progressive leaning facilities. Classrooms and labs combine the latest advances in technology with the type of personal, hands-on instruction students need to reach their academic goals. The HCC Campus features a library, community meeting spaces, a pond, bookstore, café and numerous locations for students to study or work on school projects. Recently, Heartland completed a new Corporate Education Center and founded an athletic program that includes baseball, softball and men’s and women’s soccer teams.

  • Founded in 1857, Illinois State University was the first public university in the state, and is one of the Midwest’s oldest institutions of higher education. It is a co-educational, residential university with an emphasis on the undergraduate program, offering more than 160 fields of undergraduate study. The Graduate School coordinates 38 masters, two specialist and seven doctoral programs. The campus includes over 60 major buildings with state-of-the-art technology, and Watterson Towers is one of the most remarkable structures. Watterson Towers is also the tallest dorm building in the world. From meeting facilities to cultural opportunities through the arts and excitement of numerous sporting events each year, ISU is a vital part of the Bloomington-Normal community.
  • Lincoln College, Illinois, a private residential college, offers academic and vocational programs to nearly 600 students. Accredited by the North Central Association, Lincoln offers Bachelor’s degrees in Business Management, Liberal Arts, Criminal Justice and Tourism, Sports and Hospitality Management, as well as Associate Degrees. The college now offers an accelerated degree program as well. Courses are offered at convenient and flexible times in a small classroom environment with a student/faculty ratio of 14 to 1. A student activity center and fully furnished apartment suite housing is available on campus.

Notable Natives


FM radio

AM radio

Analog television

Digital television (DTV)

  • 28 WYZZ-DT (43.1 - High Definition) "Fox 43", Fox
  • 40 WHOI-DT (19.1 - High Definition), ABC
  • 40 WHOI-DT (19.2 - Standard Definition), The CW Television Network
  • 46 WTVP-DT (47.1 - Standard Definition), PBS
  • 46 WTVP-DT (47.2 - High Definition), PBS HDTV
  • 46 WTVP-DT (47.3 - Standard Definition), Create
  • 56 WEEK-DT (25.1 - High Definition) "News 25", NBC
  • 56 WEEK-DT (25.2 - Standard Definition), NBC Weather Plus



Points of interest


External links

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