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Carl Bontemps (kneeling on stand) addresses some of the 171 boys who registered for swimming instruction on the first day of lessons at the Crystal Lake Park pool. This was the original round pool; it has been remodeled twice since this photo was taken.
Come into the cool Archives this summer and dive into our vast photo collection!Read more about Boys Only
Archives staff and the staff and volunteers at the former Chanute Air Museum spent months evaluating and packing items that would become the Chanute Collection at The Urbana Free Library. Finally, on May 19th the collection officially made its way from Rantoul to Urbana.
Above, left, the collection packed and ready for travel. Right, our efficient moving crew.Read more about Chanute Collection Move Day
The Champaign County Historical Archives has recently processed the papers of Jean F. Burkholder, a former Urbana School Board president, active community member, and social rights activist.
Storage boxes housing the Jean F. Burkholder papersRead more about Recently Processed: Jean F. Burkholder Papers
Anyone seen an alligator? Back in 1898, L.A. Wahl's 6 foot pet alligator went on a walkabout. (And you thought urban chickens were a neighborhood nuisance).
Champaign Daily News, June 10, 1898Read more about Anyone seen an Alligator?
“In Front of Atlanta Ga. July 31st./64”
“It is with pleasure I take my pen in hand to pen you a fiew lines to let you know that I am still in the land of the living an able to eat my rations and fight the rebels terrable hard when we have it to do.” From the “Civil War letters of Pvt. Jacob Haynes Rhoads” by Jacob Haynes Rhoads
Call Number: A B RHOADS WAH
Read more about Illinois and the Civil War
Later this week is Commencement at both Parkland College and the University of Illinois. To celebrate this great archievement, we want to share a picture from our Parkland College Photographs Collection.
Parkland Graduates at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Commencement May 23, 1985Read more about Congratulations Grads!
Concept art for the 1995 expansion of the Anita Purves Nature Center by Isaksen/Glerum PC Architects, 1993.
As a longtime resident of Champaign County, I have visited the Anita Purves Nature Center (APNC) at the north end of Crystal Lake Park in Urbana many times. My kids love to explore the collections of native flora and fauna and learn about the center’s animal ambassadors—Quasi the one-eyed owl is our favorite. We explore the trails in Busey Woods and sometimes we just relax in the Wildlife Observation Room and try to identify the bird calls streaming in from the bird feeding station. I have always enjoyed the facility, but did not know the story behind the Anita Purves Nature Center, nor the story of its namesake. While processing the Champaign County Conservation and Design Foundation special collection last month, I learned of this beloved facility’s origins and became fascinated in the story behind the APNC.Read more about Anita Purves and the Nature Center
Dear blog readers, need plans for this Friday and Saturday? The Public History Research Cluster at the University of Illinois is hosting a 2-day symposium that is free and open to the public.Read more about Community Event: Mapping Places | Telling Stories: Hidden Stories of Campus and Community
It’s corn planting time in beautiful east central Illinois! It’s also National Poetry month! Visit the Champaign County Historical Archives and ask to see this little gem, Corn Silk, (A 811 CUR), a poetry book that is also a family history.
Read more about Corn Silk
In the Archives special collections storage there is an area devoted to the preservation of early governmental records. Originally, the records were handwritten and kept in large red bound books nearly half the size of an adult person. Walking down the long rows of shelves, you can see the spines say Naturalization records, Marriage License Applications and Will records in bright gold block lettering. Towards the very end of the aisle, past dark red and gold bindings is a smaller book amongst the giants with the curious title of “Entry Book Mothers Pensions”. All by itself, this reddish-brown book is a relic from an entire movement in U.S. history.
Read more about The Story Behind the Mothers Pension Book