Local History and Genealogy Blog

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: 

This May marks 100 years for the former Chanute Air Force Base, 1917 - 1993

Postcard from Chanute Air Force Base, 1945

This year the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois celebrates its 100th anniversary. The base was established May 1917, following the United States’ entry into WWI and trained over 2 million servicemen and women during its 76 years of operation.

RKO Virginia Blueprint

As Ebertfest 2017 wraps up, it seems an appropriate time to share this schematic of the Virginia Theater projection booth from 1967.