Normal, Il.

Usually likes to research towns with names that are so outlandish that he can’t help but look it up. Rarely is a town name so, well, normal that he has to dig a little deeper. Take, for example, Normal, Illinois.

At first glance, it seems like a “Normal.” With roads and trains out the wazoo, Normal is accessible to everybody and it is right in the middle of the state. Meanwhile, its roughly 50,000 residents are sustained by ridiculously American industries like a Universities and car manufacturing.

As if serving as a symbol of the whole Midwest, the first Stake ‘n Shake was founded in Normal in 1934.

These are all good reasons to be called Normal. What’s the real reason?

The name was taken from Illinois State Normal University, a normal school (teacher-training institution) located there. The school has since been renamed Illinois State University after becoming a general four-year university.

They even have some solid nickname options.

Normal is adjacent to Bloomington, Illinois, and when mentioned together they are known as the “Twin Cities”, “Bloomington-Normal”, “B-N”, or “Blo-No” wonders why you would call it anything else when you can get away with “Blo-No”? has been to Illinois three times (two of which were on purpose!) and on that limited knowledge he thinks Illinois likes their theaters.

The Normal Theater opened in 1937 and was the first theater in Bloomington-Normal built specifically for sound films. The strong art-deco design was then very avant-garde for a small Illinois town.

Up in north Illinois, in Waukegan, they have a downtown that is very theater-centric. In fact, they are trying to revitalize their city around it.

In Europe, they built their towns around churches. It’s probably fitting then that in America we base our towns around movies.

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