Bellflower, Illinois

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Bellflower is a village in McLean County, Illinois, United States. The population was 408 at the 2000 census. It is part of the BloomingtonNormal Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Bellflower is located at 40°20′26″N 88°31′36″W / 40.34056°N 88.52667°W / 40.34056; -88.52667 (40.340504, -88.526741)[1].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.4 square miles (0.9 km²), all of it land.

The Town was named for the Bellflower Apple. Students from Bellflower attend the Blue Ridge School District.


Founding of Bellflower

Bellflower was laid out on 26 August 1871 by George Nelson Black (15 March 1833 – 22 April 1908) and his wife Louisa J. Black (22 December 1840 – 23 December 1909). George was born in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and had come to Springfield, Illinois in 1850 where he became wealthy through manufacturing, mining, and railroads.[2] Bellflower Township had subscribed $30,000 in twenty year bonds toward the construction of what was then called the Gilman, Clinton and Springfield Railroad. A condition of the funding was that the township would have a station on the railroad. Black purchased 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land, laid 40 acres (160,000 m2) out into town lots and then transferred the title to the Railroad. When the railroad became property of the Illinois Central Railroad, town lots in Bellflower were not transferred to that railroad. The name of the town came from the name of the township and was selected by Jesse Richards, who was particularly fond of the Bellflower apple. It is perhaps the only town in Illinois named for an apple. In the 1870s it was often spelled Belle Flower or Belle-Flower.[3]

Original plan and growth of Bellflower

The original plan of the town consisted of two square blocks of land. Most of the western square was divided into sixteen blocks, each usually containing twelve lots, and this part of the town was split diagonally by the 100-foot-wide (30 m) path of the railroad. Unlike many towns found in the 1870s, there was no Depot Ground. The eastern square of land and a strip along the north edge of the western square was divided into out lots, each of which were several times the size the lots in the western square. The combination of in lots and out lots was fairly common in central Illinois and may be found, for example, at Hudson and Chenoa. The small triangle of landcut off by the railroad from the remainder of block ten became thelocation of the town jail. The station was located on the south side of the tracks and the two early elevatorswere on railroad land. By 1895 both in lots and out lots held residences.[4] R. E. Moreland established the first business. Bellflower quickly became a major grain shipping center serving the fertile surrounding land. By 1879 it was shipping over 350,000 bushels of grain a year.[5] In 1900 the population was 356 and it is only slightly larger today.

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