Local History and Genealogy Blog

Greetings from Chanute!: Thank You Donald O. Weckhorst

Donald O. Weckhorst dressed in military uniform in front of tent, 1951On May 30, 1946, fourteen-year-old Donald O. Weckhorst (1932-2015) attended his first Memorial Day celebration in his hometown of Appleton, Minnesota. The little town of Appleton was a proud and patriotic community.

Finding Photographs

Main Street, Champaign, looking east, undated

Our Photographs Collection contains over one million photographs of local people and locations, dating from the mid-19th century to the present. So, how does one go about finding a specific photograph in a collection so vast? Here are some tips.

Recently Processed Women's Groups (Part 3)

Seven collections of women’s groups have recently been processed by Archives staff and are now available for researchers.

Part 3 highlights Fortnightly Club Records and Carley Friendship Club Records.

Part 1 introduced W.I.R.E. Records, Daughters of Union Veterans Records, and the Near O’Kin Bridge Group. Part 2 featured the National Council of Negro Women and the Medra Club.

Fortnightly Friendship Club, "An Original Acrostic" by Fortnightly Club "An Original Acrostic" by Constance L. Broderick, 1960-1961

Greetings from Chanute!: Unidentified Flying Objects and Chanute Air Force Base

"Unidentified Flying Object" over a garage, February, 1967. Caption on the reverse reads, "Fake UFO, Don Manning, 606 S. Cedar, Urbana, Ill."On May 9th, 1971, an Indiana man visited the Vermillion River Observatory operated by the University of Illinois in Danville to view the dish antenna. He arrived a little before 10pm and brought a set of binoculars with him to see a detailed view of the structure. As he investigated the antenna, he noticed an object in the sky that quickly approached from the southwest. He immediately set down the binoculars and grabbed his Polaroid camera, hoping to get a photograph of the approaching object. As he snapped a photo, the object silently moved nearer to the observatory in the quiet night. The craft moved overhead and the quiet eerily transformed into a loud humming noise. The man looked into the sky and saw an object “as black as the Ace of Spades – like burned metal,” with no lights emanating from its surface. The object was larger than the antenna and spun like a top.  The man fumbled his camera in an attempt to take another photograph and the object quickly disappeared into the night, leaving him in shock and disbelief. 

Recently Processed Women's Groups (Part 2)

Seven collections of women’s groups have recently been processed by Archives staff and are now available for researchers.

Part 2 highlights the National Council of Negro Women and the Medra Club.

Part 1 introduced W.I.R.E. Records, Daughters of Union Veterans Records, and the Near O’Kin Bridge Group.

The next and final part will feature Fortnightly Club Records and Carley Friendship Club Records.

Heart of Urbana Gremlin

“Roses are red, violets are blue;
A peek onto Main Street,
Will provide a story for you.”
                                                           - The Heart of Urbana Gremlin

Heart left by Urbana Gremlin published in March 5, 1979, Courier The Morning Courier awoke to that mysterious greeting on their doorstep, February 14, 1979. Looking down the street, Courier reporters discovered that parking meters and store and office doors in the downtown Urbana area were festooned with Valentine’s greetings of red ribbon apparently the work of Urbana’s ‘Gremlin.’

Recently Processed Women's Groups (Part 1)

Seven collections of women’s groups have recently been processed by Archives staff and are now available for researchers.

Part 1 highlights W.I.R.E. Records, Daughters of Union Veterans Records, and the Near O’Kin Bridge Group.

Later blog posts will highlight the National Council of Negro Women, the Medra Club, Fortnightly Club Records, and Carley Friendship Club Records.

August 1984 W.I.R.E. Newsletter

Famous People from C-U: The Time Has Come

Portrait of Ludacris

Christopher Brian Bridges, son of Roberta Shields and Wayne Brian Bridges, was born in Champaign, Illinois on September 11th, 1977. Christopher spent his early years in the Champaign-Urbana area. At nine years old, Christopher moved to Chicago with his mother after his parents divorced. In Chicago, he attended Oak Park & River Forest High School. Christopher and his mother then relocated to Atlanta, Georgia where he finished high school and attended Georgia State University studying music management.

Interesting Ordinances from Urbana, 1916

Seal of the City of Urbana, Ill.Our first post about Urbana City Codes was from 1954. After seeing some of the interestingly worded codes from that year what will Ordinances of City of Urbana Illinois of 1916 have in store? Read on to find out.

For those ordinances that still exist in some form, the current code will be listed. The current Code of Ordinances City of Urbana, Illinois can be found on Municode.