Local History and Genealogy Blog

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).

Start Your Engines

Louis Brown in race car, circa 1930’s

Louis Brown circa 1930

Urbana had its own Memorial Day dirt track races at the Crystal Lake Park dirt track, also known as the Champaign County Fair Grounds. Louis Brown, of Speedway Garage, Champaign, was one of the Memorial Day racers in 1930. According to articles found in the Daily Illini, Brown raced at various state fairs and other events all over the county. It was reported that his car had a top speed of around 110 miles per hour.