Normal, Illinois

Normal, Illinois

Uptown Normal, looking east on North Street, 2011
Normal, Illinois

Location within the state of Illinois

Coordinates: 40°30′44″N 88°59′19″W / 40.51222°N 88.98861°W / 40.51222; -88.98861Coordinates: 40°30′44″N 88°59′19″W / 40.51222°N 88.98861°W / 40.51222; -88.98861
Country United States
State Illinois
County McLean
Townships Normal, Dry Grove, Towanda
Settled 1854
Founded February 1865
Incorporated February 25, 1867
  Mayor Chris Koos
  City Manager Mark R. Peterson
  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)[1]
  Total 52,497
  Estimate (2013)[2] 54,664
  Density 2,900/sq mi (1,100/km2)
Time zone Central Standard Time (USA) (UTC−6)
  Summer (DST) Central Daylight Time (UTC−5)
Area code(s) 309

Normal is a town in McLean County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town's population was 52,497.[3] 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.


Jesse W. Fell, founding citizen

The town was laid out with the name North Bloomington on June 7, 1854 by Joseph Parkinson.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6][7] 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",[8] 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.[9] 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.



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).[17] 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.[18]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201554,373[19]3.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[20]
2013 Estimate[2]

As of the 2000 census,[21] 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.


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.


Interstate Highways
Interstate 39
Interstate 55
Interstate 74

US Highways
US 51
US 150

Illinois Highways
Route 9

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.


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.[22] A record 559,481 passengers flew to or from CIRA in 2010.[23]

Mass transit

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.


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.[24] Traveling to Bloomington-Normal by Amtrak is a two and a half hour ride from St. Louis and Chicago.


Recreation and entertainment

Children's Discovery Museum, 2008

Nature and wildlife


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.[35]

Arts and theatre


Annual events

Historic sites

The WPA mural, "Development of the State Normal School" by Albert Pels, is on display in the Normal Post Office
Normal Theater, 2006

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

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.[50]


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.[51]

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.[52]




Club League Venue Established Championships
Normal CornBelters FL Baseball The Corn Crib 2009  


Normal Mayor Chris Koos and Rep. Debbie Halvorson, 2011

Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

The Town of Normal is in the McLean County Unit District No. 5.[60]

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

Private schools

Colleges and universities

Normal is also home to three centers of higher learning.

Watterson Towers, 2004

Trade schools

Weekend education

Bloomington/Normal Japanese Saturday School (ブルーミントン・ノーマル補習授業校 Burūminton Nōmaru Hoshū Jugyō Kō), a Japanese weekend school, was established in 1986 and held at the Thomas Metcalf School.[66] It has a separate office in Normal[67]


The Normal Police Department currently consists of approximately 81 sworn officers and 26 civilian staff. The current Chief of Police is Rick Bleichner. The department is also nationally accredited by the Commission for Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The department provides 24-hour town wide coverage. In addition to deploying officers in patrol cars, the department also deploys officers on bike patrols and has been doing so since the 1980s. The department also has a full-time Criminal Investigation Division and two full service canines.



FM radio

AM radio

In the media

"I got high with a Sufjan Stevens fan in Normal, Illinois
And this song goes out to all you beautiful
American girls and boys"[68]


Notable people

Sister cities


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