Local History and Genealogy Blog

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.

Chanute's Golden Anniversary


This May marks the 100th anniversary of the former Chanute Air Force Base. The Champaign County Historical Archives is celebrating Chanute's history by hosting an exhibit and a Town & Gown event.

In 1967, Chanute observed another anniversary. Chanute’s 50th Anniversary kicked-off a summer of celebrations at the base. The festivities included: