After being unable to find any information online about the history of the Payne’s Place subdivision online, I visited the McLean County Museum of History, where I was presented with the diary of Clinton Burkholtz, the first resident of 25 Payne Place. This was the only material they had related to the neighborhood.
Within Clinton’s diary, he mentions the planning of the subdivision’s lighting along with other men, referring to them by last name only, primarily Payne and Johnson. I decided to try to figure out who these men were and have since confirmed that Payne was Thomas F. Payne.
Below is a summary of my research, followed by scanned media from the Pantagraph Microfilms.
The diary of Clinton Burkholtz mentions working with men by the name of Payne and Johnson during the planning of the subdivision’s lighting. In an effort to find who these men were, I began researching some of the people whose listings stood out in the 1926 City Directory.
Thomas F. Payne the son of Martin Van Buren Payne & Ursula Catharina (Katherine) Ulmer. He was born 9 Jun 1873 in Illinois and died 26 Jan 1952 in Normal. He married Bessie Rowe Head and had three daughters: Kathryn, Martha Della, and Margaret Lou. His father, Martin Van Buren Payne was born 17 Nov 1843 in Monroe County, Indiana. He married Ursula Catharina Ulmer in 1868 in McLean County and was living in Arrowsmith per the 1870 census. He was admitted in 1899 to a home for disabled volunteer soldiers and in 1900 his wife was listed as a widow.
In 1926, Thomas F. Payne & Ralph R. Thompson ran Payne & Thompson, a general contracting business. Ralph R. Thompson resided at 2 Payne Place, a beautiful bungalow home on a corner lot, more grand and large than any other home of that style in the neighborhood.
Per the 1928 Bloomington City Directory, by 1928 Ralph & his wife Edna had moved to 915 North Street and Payne & Thompson had become Payne & Ferguson (Thos. F. Payne & Jas. C. Thompson). James C. Ferguson was listed as a resident of Pontiac, IL. Thomas F. Payne resided at 21 Payne Place, which is a two story Brick home that at the time sat on 3 lots. It is the largest home in the neighborhood of any style. It currently sits on two lots as the 3rd lot must’ve been sold off long after the other homes in the neighborhood were developed.
I’m not sure what caused the change in business involvement and residence for Ralph R. Thompson but it seems very interesting that Thomas Payne was now partnered with Ferguson, who resided so far away at the time. By 1929 James C. Ferguson of Payne & Ferguson resided in Bloomington at r1220 N. Roosevelt Ave. Looking at Google Maps street view this is an attractive bungalow style home, very similar to those of the Payne Place neighborhood. The listing for Ralph R. Thompson hadn’t changed.
Clinton Burkholtz, full name Clinton Lyle Burkholtz, was the son of August E. Burkholtz and Hattie P. Fischer. He lived from 20 May 1893 – 30 Dec 1975. Him and his wife are buried at Park Hill Cemetery and Mausoleum, Bloomington – Plot K-677-4. (src:http://bit.ly/Vt75bg). Hattie was the daughter of Carl E. Fischer. She was born 12 Mar 1858 in Bloomington and died 9 Nov 1937 in Bloomington, per the Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index.August E. Burkholtz was born 1 May 1852 in Berne, Germany and died 7 Aug 1938 in Bloomington per the Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947. According the 1900 census, August immigrated in 1875, married Hattie in 1881 and was residing in Randolph. By 1910 they had moved to 107 S. Morris Ave, Bloomington. At least until 1930 he still lived at this home. He worked as laborer on the Steam Railroad. Both he and Hattie are buried at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Bloomington – Section C – Lot 218 (src: http://bit.ly/RKc46u)
Who is the Johnson referred to in Clinton’s Diary? I still am unsure.
Harry G. Johnson was listed as married to Frances R, working as a florist at A Washburn & Sons, still residing at 30 Payne’s Place. (p. 139)
The listing for Johnson Bros in 1928 was much more detailed and their services had expanded from just Masonry: Johnson Bros (LaFayette A. and Charles W.) General Contractors, Carpenter, Mason and Building 917 E Walnut, Tel 996-R. (pg. 139) This was also the residential address listed for Charles W. Johnson. Lafayette A. Johnson resided at r919 E. Walnut. Johnson Bros was not listed in the 1929 Bloomington City Directory. LaFayette was listed as a Bricklayer, now also residing at r917 E. Walnut (pg. 115, Bloomington City Directory). There were two Charles Johnsons listed as residing here:
Lafayette Johnson wasn’t listed in the 1930 directory. There were two Charles W. Johnsons listed: