Local History and Genealogy Blog

Janet Anderson: Community Leader

Janet Anderson Archives staff was saddened by the death of Janet Anderson, a community leader and activist, last weekend. Ms. Anderson served the public in numerous capacities: she worked as a nurse at Carle and Burnham Hospitals, participated in numerous groups promoting public health initiatives, and served on various boards, including the Champaign County Board, from 2000-2012. Her work with community groups like the League of Women Voters and Champaign County Health Care Consumers earned her numerous awards lauding her leadership and social action.

The Circus Comes to Town!

The circus was a favorite summer pastime for residents of Champaign County in the early 20th-century. The Hagenbeck Trained Animal Show visited Champaign County on two occasions in 1905 and 1906.  Residents came from all over to see shows and parades featuring exotic animals such as bears and elephants. 

Chanute through the Decades

The Chanute Collection contains 8 folders and one oversized box of aerial photographs. The photographs were taken of the base throughout its entire operation from 1917-1993. Viewing photographs from the following decades show how Chanute transformed over the years: 


Chanute Air Force Base, 1920s
Chanute Air Force Base in the early 1920s
View of the field with the village of Rantoul behind it, looking northwest.

Virginia Lovingfoss, 1914-2017, Volunteer Extraordinaire

Virginia Lovingfoss on her 100th birthday

The Archives is sad to announce that longtime volunteer Virginia Lovingfoss passed away July 19, 2017 just a month shy of her 103rd birthday. She began volunteering at the Archives in 1986 and only ‘retired’ from her volunteer activities after she turned 100.

League of Women Voters and Housing in Champaign-Urbana

The League of Women Voters of Champaign County is a nonpartisan grassroots organization. Nationally, the group was formed in 1920, months before the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.

"The City Beyond"

"The City Beyond" AdvertisementIn the summer of 1923, Chanute Air Force Base was turned into a movie production site. The News-Gazette spent that summer producing “The City Beyond,” a film that showcased the twin cities.

Happy Fourth of July!

Take a look back at previous Fourth of July celebrations with photographs from the Champaign County Historical Archives!

FamilySearch Microfilm Loans Will Stop September 2017

FamilySearch logoFamilySearch, a genealogy organization operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has recently announced that its microfilm distribution services which provided convenient access to billions of birth, marriage, death, census, land, and court records from over 130 countries will

Recently Processed: Champaign County Extension Services Collection

Last weekend was the University of Illinois Extension’s Garden Walk, an event which showcases local private and public gardening spaces. Cooperative Extension Services have a rich history, dating back nearly 100 years in Champaign County. I recently finished processing the records of the Champaign County Homemakers’ Extension Association, known at various times as Champaign County Home Bureau (1924-1945), Champaign County Home Economics Extension Services (1946-1989), and Champaign County Homemakers’ Extension Association (1991-1994).