Local History and Genealogy Blog

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.

Read more about Finding Photographs

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 Read more about Recently Processed Women's Groups (Part 3)

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

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. Read more about Greetings from Chanute!: Unidentified Flying Objects and Chanute Air Force Base

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. Read more about Recently Processed Women's Groups (Part 2)

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.’ Read more about Heart of Urbana Gremlin

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. Read more about Famous People from C-U: The Time Has Come

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. Read more about Interesting Ordinances from Urbana, 1916

Fred Turner Woodblock Prints

Cattle Bank Building, Champaign, IL 1973

Every Christmas from 1946-1974, friends of Fred and Betty Turner received an original woodblock-printed card. Soon after Christmas, planning for the next year, the couple would choose a historical Illinois building or structure, take a photograph, then design, carve and print the image by hand. Their theme was “Illinois History through Woodblock Prints.”

Read more about Fred Turner Woodblock Prints