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We all learned as school children how our immigrant ancestors came to America through Ellis Island. The real story about where and when immigrants entered the United States is much more complicated than the story we grew up with. Ellis Island was a New York gateway for the arrival of U.S. immigrants from roughly 1892 to 1924. Although it was by far the largest port of entry and millions arrived during that time, it was one of many ways to enter the United States. Read more about Ellis Island, Castle Garden, Customs, and the Old Barge
The "Urbana Schools, Past and Present" photograph set on the Urbana Free Library Digital Collections Flickr account allows patrons to view a visual history of the schools in the city of Urbana. This set can be accessed at the following link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/98945443@N05/sets/72157634670405336/.
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."
Two collections have recently been processed and are now fully accessible at the Champaign County Historical Archives of The Urbana Free Library.
The Champaign Urbana Woman’s Club Read more about Recently Processed Collections
A sharped eyed staff member spied this image from our collections:
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?
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