Local History and Genealogy Blog

Fourth of July Celebrations

#TBT Fourth of July celebrations in Champaign-Urbana

Children's Parade, July 4, 1969, Champaign, IL

The kids in southwest Champaign were not to be outdone on the Fourth. They decorated bikes, wagons, tricycles, and themselves and had their own parade near James and Charles streets. July 4, 1969. 

The Circus is Coming to Town!

Scenes from the Circus Parade in downtown Champaign from 1909! #TBT!

 Circus Parade, Champaign, IL, 1909  Circus Parade, Champaign, IL, 1909

Circus Parade, Champaign, IL, 1909


Photographs courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives Circus photograph envelope. 

Lara, Archives Assistant 


Love Family History, Love Reading Fiction? Here are Titles that Combine Both!

Just in time for the Urbana Free Library’s Summer Reading Program, the Archives has created a list of twenty fiction titles with themes of family history and genealogy. All of these books are available at the Urbana Free Library and include books for both adults and kids. Of course if you’re interested in non-fiction books, the Champaign County Historical Archives has a wide array of genealogical titles too.  Happy Summer Reading! 

The Famous DAR Murder Mystery The Monsters of Templeton

When I was Young

Rising Sun School

In honor of the upcoming summer solstice (June 21st) we present you with an interior picture of Rising Sun School for this installation of #TBT.

Rising Sun School, Condit Township, Champaign County, Illinois

Rising Sun School was a one-room school house in Condit Township. Teacher Hattie McBrian oversees lessons in this photo dated circa 1938. 

Summer Time, Travel Time

How do you plan to travel to your vacation spot this summer? We have some suggestions. 

Romani in St. Joseph, Illinois, 1910

Fan of the slow movement. Horse and wagon should be just your speed. 

Your Pedigree on Paper


15-Generation pedigree chart.

With the overwhelming availability of online genealogical websites and family tree software, folks interested in their roots may have been overlooking a traditional method of recording their ancestors: the 15-Generation (paper) pedigree chart.

‘Gamblers’ Row’ aka Champaign’s North Market Street

During the spring of 1937, one intrepid Courier reporter took the citizens of Champaign-Urbana on a 6 part series tour of Champaign’s gambling dens.  For this week’s #TBT we bring you pictures from North Market Street aka ‘Gamblers’ Row.’ 

N Market Street (Champaign, IL), Courier 10 May 1937

“It’s a dull job Patrolman Charles Cole of the Champaign police force has been assigned to by Chief Roy Argo. His beat is confirmed to “Gamblers’ Row,” North Market Street. When this picture was taken it appears that Patrolman Cole was watching the entrances to 103 and 105 North Market street out of the corner of his eye.”