Local History and Genealogy Blog

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. 

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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. Read more about Your Pedigree on Paper

‘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.”

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Happy and safe Memorial Day everyone.

Dick Stillwell decorating graves of veterans in Mount Hope Cemetery, News-Gazette 30 May 1993

#TBT "Dick Stillwell, 58, of American Legion Post 24 in Champaign, has been helping decorate graves of veterans with American flags since he was a junior in high school helping his father, who was a veteran of World War I and II."

Here he is decorating graves in Mount Hope Cemetery, Champaign, IL for Memorial Day in 1993.  News-Gazette, 30 May 1993 page D-1, photographer Curt Beamer.   

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The Benefits of Fresh Air in Education

The open air school movement was based on the concept that fresh air, good ventilation and exposure to the outside contributed to good health. Originating in Europe, the model was quickly adopted by the United States as a way to provide care and education for children who were anemic, malnourished, or who had been exposed to tuberculosis. The first open air school in the United States was located in Providence, Rhode Island (1908).

While in Europe the schools were usually conducted in forests or rural compounds, the open air schools in the United States were often placed in unused school buildings, ferryboats, roofs, porches, or tents [1]. The first open air school in Chicago was conducted by the Chicago Tuberculosis Institute in cooperation with the school board during the summer of 1909. It was so successful that a year-round school was opened on the roof of the Mary Crane Nursery located in Chicago’s city center [2]. In addition to the benefits of fresh air, hygiene and nutrition were also emphasized. Students were fed a morning snack, a hot dinner, and a glass of milk if possible [3].

Open Air School #1 and #2 - On roof of Mary Crane Nursery, Chicago, IL

Open Air School #1 and #2 - On roof of Mary Crane Nursery, Courtesy of The Library of Congress


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Mothers, Sisters, Aunts, and other Feisty Female Ancestors

Anyone who has conducted genealogical research knows that sometimes finding female ancestors can be a tricky business.


Pictured are (from left): Katie Springer, Ann Springer, Elsie Cora Springer, Georgia Springer


Sometimes women can be found by searching a husband's name. For example, this photograph of the Springer family is located ithe "Springer, William L." Photographs envelope at the Champaign County Historical Archives. 



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