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  • Historical Timeline
  • The Hoopes Family

The library opens to the public in a single room of a building on Center St. It was opened by the Ladies' Library Association, formed in 1856, and supported by book donations and membership fees handled by the Ladies' Library Association.


A charter is obtained from the legislature and the Association is incorporated under the name Bloomington Library Association.


The library relocates to a hall located at 105 West North Street (now West Monroe Street).


The library closes due to lack of funds. It reopens thanks to citizens who raise the needed $1,100.


Mrs. Sarah B. Withers donates land at the corner of East and Washington streets for a library. A two-story building is erected and christened Withers Library. It is dedicated with speeches and a grand banquet.


Withers Library opens to the public in January.


The building and its possessions are turned over to the city. The library becomes a tax-supported institution, establishing a free public library.


Library on Wheels is created. The service brings books and magazines to patients at local hospitals.


Withers Public Library Bookwagon begins to deliver books to Bloomington neighborhoods and local schools.


The Lake Bloomington branch of the library, the Nellie E. Parham Branch, opens. This branch provides services for East Bay campers and residents of the lake area. The branch closes in 1974.


The library purchases a used Bookmobile from Moline Public Library that has the capacity to hold more than 1,500 books. Driven by college students, the Bookmobile increases the number of stops to neighborhoods within the city.


The Library purchases its third version of the Bookmobile.
(In 1976, this Bookmobile is reconditioned and repainted to reflect the changing of the Library's name from Withers Public Library to Bloomington Public Library).


Citizens for a New Public Library call a meeting to organize a Friends of the Library group. The group campaigns for voter approval of bonds for a new public library and succeeds.


A new library is built at 205 E. Olive St. It is named Bloomington Public Library.


The Extension Services (now Outreach) department is created to manage all services offered outside the library (Bookmobile, books-by-mail, etc.).

The Library's fourth version of the Bookmobile arrives.
(In 1990, this Bookmobile is reconditioned and repainted. Also in 1990, this Bookmobile becomes the first to service the areas covered by the Golden Prairie Public Library District)


Bloomington Public Library receives an Illinois State Library's Project Plus Grant, making it possible to send the Bookmobile on stops to surrounding townships to demonstrate library service. As a result, a referendum is held and these townships — Arrowsmith, Bloomington, Dale, Dawson and Old Town — form the Golden Prairie Public Library District which is served by the Bloomington Public Library.


Kenneth Smith bequests $298,083.26 to the library.


The Bloomington Public Library Foundation is established with funds bequeathed by Smith.


The first computer network, funded through the Foundation, is launched. This brings Bloomington Public Library up to speed in the booming technological age.


Sandra L. Beye bequests $50,000 to the library. This bequest is used to expand the computer network.


The Library rolls out the fifth version of the Bookmobile. This Bookmobile carries 6,000 items and is the first Bookmobile to be equipped with computers.


A grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation allows public computer expansion.


The library receives an Illinois First Grant for the construction of the library's Computer Lab and expansion of the Information Technology Services department.


The library undergoes a major renovation to help improve accessibility and customer service. There are now lendable materials on both levels of the library.


The library adds self-checkout stations and a returned-materials sorter to its Circulation Department. Combine with RFID technology already in use, the new technology streamlines the circulation process. In the past, it would take overtaxed staff up to 12 days to remove returned items from a patron's account. Using the sorter and RFID technology, materials are now removed from a patron's account immediately.


The Library rolls out its sixth version of the Bookmobile. This Bookmobile weighs 33,000 pounds, is 32.5 feet long, carries 3,500 items and makes 48 stops every three weeks.

The Hoopes Family

The Hoopes Family's presence in Bloomington, Illinois, dates back to 1855 when Benjamin Franklin (B.F.) Hoopes came to Bloomington from Chester County, Pennsylvania. Members of the family have held varied and well-respected positions in the community: retail grocer, merchant, banker, city librarian, surgeon, attorney.

Benjamin Franklin (B.F.) Hoopes
August 28, 1825 - December 7, 1904

Benjamin Franklin Hoopes was born August 28, 1825, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. His parents were Garrett and Martha (Smith) Hoopes. He came to Bloomington in 1855 to clerk in a local grocery store on the west side of the square. The store was run by Peter Whitmer and George, John and Samuel Parke. B.F. bought an interest in the store in 1857. Shortly thereafter, Peter Whitmer sold his interest in the store. The store became known as Parke & Hoopes.

B.F. eventually sold out to Parke & Ollis.

He went to Springfield, Illinois, at the outbreak of the Civil War, and he remained there for 3 to 4 years. He married Freedom Augusta Harwood of Holly, New York, October 12, 1862. They had three children: Albert Harwood, Estella, and Henry Dwight.

Albert Harwood was born December 14, 1864, in Springfield. Estella and Henry Dwight died in infancy and are buried in Evergreen Cemetery. Returning to Bloomington in 1965, B.F. ran a commission and wholesale business which he started in 1867. During his time in Bloomington, B.F. Hoopes became a well-respected businessman who had a reputation of always dealing fairly with patrons.

He was a pioneer commission merchant, and he served several terms as alderman from the First Ward (1882-1883 and 1892-1898). He served on a number of city committees. As an alderman, he mostly served on the water board and the finance committee. B.F. was a wholesale and retail grocer and proprietor of Bloomington Steam Coffee, Spice and Hominy Mills which he added to his business. He also ran a butcher shop and cold storage plant business from 1865-1870.

The B.F. Hoopes Wholesale House was located at the corner of Center and North East Streets, and B. F. lived at 707 North East Street.

For a number of years, the second floor of his business housed the Bloomington Library, and B.F. served on the Board of Managers of the Bloomington Library Association (1867). He later served as Treasurer for the Library (1879) while at the same time serving as a Director for Bloomington Furniture Manufactest Company (1879). B.F. was a member of the Second Presbyterian Church and president of the Old People's Association for many years.

Benjamin died December 7, 1904; he is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Freedom Augusta (Harwood) Hoopes
October 25, 1840 - February 27, 1905

Freedom Augusta was born October 25, 1840, in Orleans County, New York. When she was 20 years old, she traveled to Bloomington to visit her brothers, the Harwoods, and met B.F. Hoopes. She returned east but eventually married B.F. on October 12, 1862. She was a member of the Second Presbyterian Church, was involved with the social life of the city, and was a member of the History Club.

She died February 27, 1905 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Mrs. Martha (Smith) Hoopes
April 17, 1802 - November 7, 1900

Mrs. Martha Hoopes was the mother of B.F. Hoopes. She was born April 17, 1802, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Her husband, Garrett, died in 1832 at the age of 28 in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Garrett and Martha had four children: Sarah J. Hoopes, B.F. Hoopes, Mrs. M.G. (Mary G.) Downing, and Mrs. H.R. (Hannah Rebecca) Galliner. Martha moved to Springfield, Illinois, to live with her son in 1862, and when B.F. moved to Bloomington in 1865, his mother came with him. Martha was brought up on a farm, married a farmer, was considered a remarkable woman, and was always a hard worker. Up to the day of her death, she was active in and interested in the events of the day.

Very fond of flowers, she cared for a conservatory that was filled with blooms at all times. When Martha died at the age of 98 on November 7, 1900, she was the oldest resident of McLean County. She is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Albert Harwood (A.H.) Hoopes
December 14, 1864 - October 11, 1918

Albert Harwood Hoopes, also known as "Bert," the son of B.F. and Augusta Hoopes was born in Springfield, Illinois, on December 14, 1864. He came to Bloomington with his parents when he was just an infant. He attended Bloomington High School, graduated from business college, and became associated in business with his father, B.F. Hoopes. When his father died in 1904, Bert assumed control of the business. Bert married Julia Rodenhauser on September 26, 1903. They had three children: Margaret Augusta, Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Harwood. He lived at 707 North East Street.

Bert was a leading commission merchant in Bloomington, was a director for the German-American Bank, was a director of the American State Bank, and he attended Grace Methodist Church. Bert died on October 11, 1918, and he is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Julia Rodenhauser Hoopes
August 30, 1877 - November 13, 1945

Julia Rodenhauser was a native of Germany, the daughter of William J. and Christiana (Leiderman) Rodenhauser, also natives of Germany.

The Rodenhausers were early settlers of Bloomington. Julia died November 13, 1945. She is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Benjamin Franklin Hoopes
January 26, 1911 - August 24, 1993

Benjamin Franklin Hoopes, the son of Albert Harwood and Julia Rodenhauser Hoopes, was born January 26, 1911. He had a brother, Albert H., and a sister, Margaret. He attended Franklin School in Bloomington, graduated from Bloomington High School, and attended Illinois Wesleyan University for one year. He married Frances Kelly onJune 21, 1941. They had two sons and one daughter: Franklin, Jeffrey R. and Ann Hilary Champion.

Benjamin pursued a medical career. He received a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, from Yale University Sheffield School of Science at New Haven, Connecticut, in 1933. He then received his medical degree from Yale University College of Medicine in 1937. In 1941, he received a degree in surgery from the University of Michigan and won a William A. Rogers Scholarship.

Dr. Hoopes held a number of medical positions during his years as a doctor. He served as assistant resident surgeon at New York Hospital, resident and then chief surgical resident at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, and Navy Medical Corps, rank of Lieutenant Commander. Dr. Hoopes practiced in Bloomington from 1946-1980 where he limited his practice to general surgery.

Dr. Hoopes also taught. He was a clinical instructor at Cornell University Medical School and served on the teaching staffs at Brokaw and St. Joseph nursing schools in Bloomington.

Dr. Hoopes was a member of and active in a number of organizations. He was a member of the McLean County Medical Society, past president of Brokaw Hospital medical staff, past vice president of Mennonite Hospital medical staff and Brokaw Foundation Board of Directors. He was a member of the Illinois Surgical Association, Board of Review for American College of Surgeons, International Society of Surgeons, Central Surgical Association of the United States and Canada, American Board of Surgery, International Surgical Society, and American Association of Railway Surgeons. Other affiliations included: former member of McLean County Bank Board of Directors, Yale Club of Chicago, Bloomington Club, Bloomington Country Club, and past member of Bloomington Association of Commerce.

Dr. Hoopes was a member of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, serving on its vestry and finance committees. He died August 24, 1993, and he is buried in Evergreen Cemetery. At the compiling of this information, his wife Frances Hoopes is still living.

Albert Harwood Hoopes
March 17, 1915 - September 29, 2004

Albert Harwood Hoopes was born March 17, 1915, in Bloomington. He was the son of Albert H. and Julia Rodenhauser Hoopes. He had a brother, Dr. Benjamin Hoopes, and a sister, Margaret Hoopes Forsyth. He married Marjorie Kirkpatrick on April 12, 1941, at Cleveland, Ohio, and he later married Hannabelle Morgan Duerr on December 18, 1964. Hannabelle died January 11, 2000.

Albert attended Bloomington High School andgraduated from Lake Forest Academy in 1933. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Science in 1937 and from Harvard Law School in 1940. He served in the U.S. Air Force, 1941-1945, attaining the rank of major. He was assistant general counsel for Union Auto Indemnity Insurance Company in Bloomington, 1946-1950, and he practiced law in Bloomington 1950-2002.
Albert held a variety of positions during his professional life: Director on the Board of the State Farm Mutual Funds for 25 years; director of Hoopes Enterprises; former member of the Board of Wesley United Methodist Church, as well as a Trustee; member of Bloomington County Club from 1947 until his death, serving as a Director in the late 1940s.

Other activities included: active in the American Red Cross; GOP Precinct Committeeman 1950-1955; Treasurer of the McLean County Central Committee, 1955-1960; and member of the Unit 5 School Board. Additional affiliations included: member of the Scottish Rite and Peoria Shrine; long-time board member of the Bloomington YMCA; Chairman of the McLean County Cancer Drive; and member of the American Legion Knights of Pythias.

Albert died September 29, 2004; he is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Mrs. H.R. Galliner
December 12, 1829 - October 19, 1897

Mrs. Hannah Rebecca (H.R.) Galliner was born December 12, 1829, a sister to B.F. Hoopes, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She married Joseph Galliner in 1850. No other information is available about her husband; she had no children.

Mrs. Galliner was a resident of Bloomington for 32 years, and served as city librarian for 25 years. She was elected to that position in 1870 when the library was under the private management of the Ladies Library Association. During her tenure as librarian, the library had several homes: Stautz's market; second floor of B.F. Hoopes Wholesale House; Withers library building. Also, during her tenure as librarian a charter was obtained from the legislature, and the name of the library's governing board was changed from the Ladies' Library Association to the Bloomington Library Association. Men were allowed to help manage the library at this. In 1894, the library became a city library.

Elizabeth Abraham, Reference Librarian of Withers Public Library, wrote of Mrs. H.R. Galliner in an historical sketch of the Withers Public Library in Hometown in the Corn Belt "... To no one, in its [Withers Public Library] early history, is the library more indebted than to Mrs. Galliner, who because of her untiring zeal and enthusiasm, helped establish and maintain it through the years of uncertaint...."
Mrs. Galliner died at her brother B.F. Hoopes' home, 707 North East Street, on October 19, 1897, and she is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Resources For Information

  • History of Mclean County Illinois by Jacob L. Hasbrouck, Vol. 2, p. 1055 (Illinois Collection 977.359 HAS v.2)
  • The History of Mclean County, Illinois, 1879, Published by Wm . Le Baron, Jr., & Co., Chicago. p. 372 (Illinois Collection 977.359 HIS)
  • Hometown in the Corn Belt: a Source History of Bloomington, Illinois 1900-1950 in five Volumes, Compiled by Clara Louise Kessler (Locked Case 977.3529 HOM)
  • Volume I: "East Washington Street" by Grace Cheney Wright, p. 110
  • Volume IV: "Withers Public Library Bloomington, Illinois Historical Sketch" by Elizabeth Abraham, pp. 125, 126
  • Illinois McLean County Cemeteries Volume 19 Bloomington Township Evergreen Memorial Cemetery: Part Formerly Known as Bloomington Cemetery, McLean County Genealogical Society, pp. 157, 217 (Illinois Collection 929.5 MCL)
  • The Illustrated History of McLean County, Commentary by Don Munson, edited by Martin A. Wyckoff and Greg Koos, p. 379, Notes 312b (Illinois Collection 977.359 ILL)
  • The Way It Was in Mclean County 1972-1822 by H. Clay Tate (Illinois Collection 977.359 TAT)

  • The Pantagraph (on microfilm), various dates. Check the Pantagraph Index, a card file in the Illinois Collection, to locate dates and pages of various articles on members of the Hoopes family.

Resources at Other Local Libraries

The McLean County Museum of History Library has information on members of the Hoopes family.

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