The great sleet storm of January 13, 1871, caused the telegraph lines immense expense. Their lines through McLean County were almost entirely ruined, and it was several months before full service was resumed. To give an idea of the destruction, it may be mentioned that the entire line on Washington Street in Bloomington for one mile lost every pole. The accumulated sleet made the wires one inch in diameter, and their great weight broke down poles and wires. In some cases the breaking of one pole threw such a strain on the next that it would break and fall, and this would be repeated for a long distance until an unusually stout pole would stop the destruction.
Source: Ezra M. Prince and John H. Burnham (eds.), Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McLean County—Volume II, Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company, 1908, p.764.