Local History and Genealogy Blog

Did someone say goat…

Some days you just need a picture of a baby goat. If this is one of those days for you than please enjoy this picture from the Archives. 

Military cook bottle feeding baby goat

Sharpest Pencils in the Cup

Design still works after 100 years


100 years ago on this day (July 12), the above ad ran in the Courier. It caught my eye initially because of the spelling error (editor missed the "t"  in Knowlton), but it also reminded me that some designs truly have endured. The bottom photo is the sharpener in the Archives, probably quite similar to the one described in the ad. After many attempts with an electric sharpener, the department went back to an old, reliable manual model a couple years ago. (Thanks, Becky B.!)

#TBT Moving Day

House being moved

Photograph of a Greek Revival Cottage being moved down University Avenue. Taken May 19, 1977, part of the Greek Revival Collection. 

The Neighborhood Drugstore


Interior of A.P. Cunningham and Sons Drugstore, Champaign circa 1890

Farmers' Market Season in Champaign County

Outdoor market, Champaign, Illinois, 1910

Back of photograph reads: "Outdoor market -- Champaign around 1910." From the "Farmers market--Champaign" photograph envelope.


Summer time is farmers' market season in Central Illinois and it has been for at least the last century. Check out the above photograph of an early 1900s outdoor market in Champaign! 

How To: Preserve Your Digital Photographs

The Champaign County Historical Archives has over one million photographs of local people and locations, dating from the mid-19th century to the present. Here is great example from our collection.

Cool turn-of-the-20th-century photograph that we know nothing about because no one recorded any metadata for it.
Know what would make this photograph better? Metadata!

Boys Only

Boys Swimming Lessons at Crystal Lake Park Pool, 1944

Carl Bontemps (kneeling on stand) addresses some of the 171 boys who registered for swimming instruction on the first day of lessons at the Crystal Lake Park pool. This was the original round pool; it has been remodeled twice since this photo was taken.

Come into the cool Archives this summer and dive into our vast photo collection!

Chanute Collection Move Day

Archives staff and the staff and volunteers at the former Chanute Air Museum spent months evaluating and packing items that would become the Chanute Collection at The Urbana Free Library. Finally, on May 19th the collection officially made its way from Rantoul to Urbana.  

Move DayMove Day

Above, left, the collection packed and ready for travel. Right, our efficient moving crew.

Recently Processed: Jean F. Burkholder Papers

The Champaign County Historical Archives has recently processed the papers of Jean F. Burkholder, a former Urbana School Board president, active community member, and social rights activist.

Storage boxes containing Jean F. Burkholder papers

Storage boxes housing the Jean F. Burkholder papers

Anyone seen an Alligator?

Anyone seen an alligator? Back in 1898, L.A. Wahl's 6 foot pet alligator went on a walkabout. (And you thought urban chickens were a neighborhood nuisance).

'Lost alligator' published in Champaign Daily News, June 10, 1898

Champaign Daily News, June 10, 1898