1940s - 1990s

1940s-1960s: A Multipurpose Institution and the Development of Normal

The Town of Normal continued to grow in the 1940s. During the World War II era, Normal contributed to the war effort by going off to serve or conducting Liberty Loan drives and sponsoring Red Cross work. In 1950, Normal’s population was just 225 short of 10,000 people. The two decades after WWII brought about tremendous growth to Illinois State Normal University. The new campus area west of Main Street was created, as were high-rise dormitories. By 1964, the university had officially changed its name to Illinois State University, and by 1973, ISU was no longer just a teachers’ training school, but rather a multipurpose institution. Along with ISU’s growth, Normal also developed. Between 1960 and 1970, Normal nearly doubled in population, with a growth rate of 97.6%.

1970s-1980s: Growth & Mitsubishi Motors

In 1970, a big push for the unification of the City of Bloomington and the Town of Normal failed. There was a great deal of media coverage in the two cities, which sparked heated debate that lasted throughout the year. The Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children's School was officially closed in 1979 by the State after several attempts to keep it open.

The Town continued growing as years passed. Between 1970 and 1980, Normal experienced a tremendous growth rate of 35%. By 1983, Normal’s population had reached 37,000.

In 1988, the Town of Normal, in cooperation with the State of Illinois, became home to Diamond Star Motors, now called Mitsubishi Motors North America. The manufacturing plant, which is located in the enterprise zone on the northwest side of Normal, manufactures several models of Mitsubishi cars.

Next: 1990s - 2000s