At the Bloomington Library book sale, I got an interesting little book called "The Making of Illinois" by Irwin F. Mather (copyright 1925). In the chapter "Education in Illinois," there's a section on "The Normal Schools":
"The public school system having been fully determined upon, it became necessary to found a school where teachers might be properly trained. Accordingly, in 1857, the State legislature passed a law establishing a 'State Normal University,' 'to qualify teachers for the common schools of the State.'
The Board of Trustees selected by the legislature chose a site for the new school near Bloomington. Here the buildings were erected, and around them sprang up the beautiful little city of Normal."
Aw shucks, that's nice of you to say.