Local History and Genealogy Blog

"I wish you were here if only for a short time."

Yesterday marked the 150th anniversary of the surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi to the Union armies commanded by Ulysses S. Grant during the American Civil War. It was a seminal moment: the Confederacy was now split in two and commerce could once again flow from the farms of the Midwest down the Mississippi River virtually unimpeded. Read more about "I wish you were here if only for a short time."

Alien Visitors ... to Urbana?

A sharped eyed staff member spied this image from our collections: 

"UFO" over the home of Don Manning, Urbana, IL, February, 1969

Apparently, sightings of unexplained phenomena and Unidentified Flying Objects are not uncommon here, as this June 6, 1969 article from the front page of the Urbana Courier relates. Read more about Alien Visitors ... to Urbana?

Riding the Rails to a New Life: The Orphan Trains

By the middle of the nineteenth century, New York City was teaming with new immigrants, with more coming every day. These new families often found themselves in dire circumstances, surrounded by poverty and disease. As a result, many children ended up without parents, orphaned and left wandering the streets. The plight of these children did not go unnoticed, and soon several orphanages and aid societies developed to assist them. Read more about Riding the Rails to a New Life: The Orphan Trains