The Livingston department store, on the south side of the square, was arguably the first downtown store in the 1960s. A close second, perhaps the first in the minds of women, was the Roland women’s store in the north side of the square.
Founded in March 1866 by Sam and Aaron Livingston, the business was originally known as the McLean County Dry Goods Store. It was in the middle of the 100 block of West Washington Street, (the south side of Courthouse Square), and it remained there for 113 years.
Livingston’s had 42,350 square feet of floor space, making it one of the largest department stores in northern Illinois. Today, for comparison, some Wal-Mart Supercentres cover 223,000 square feet. In 1946 Livingston added another floor by digging a full basement to accommodate his department of appliances and a safe for furs.
In the 1970s, downtown Bloomington was in decline. Sears and JC Penney’s had left downtown for Eastland Mall in…
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