Local History and Genealogy Blog

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. 

A Mother's Obituary


Irmgard Haken and her youngest son, Rudolf, 1982

I have been indexing obituaries for the past 5 years from the News-Gazette into Local History Online, the online catalog for the holdings of the Champaign County Historical Archives.

Photographs from Chanute’s Annual Open House

Chanute Air Force Base held Open Houses for the citizens of Champaign County from 1926 until the base closed in 1993. Thousands of people attended the Open House celebrations to watch air shows, see airplane exhibits, and meet the Air Force soldiers.

Chanute AFB Open House Program, August 1945

Sometimes April Showers bring April Flowers…

photo of plant, Wild Geranium

It is spring wildflower season in east central Illinois. Time to take yourself to the woods to see Jack-in-the-pulpit, dutchman’s breeches, toothwort, trillium, dog tooth violet, blue-eye Mary, and Virginia bluebells.

Researchers at Burnham City Hospital, 1942

I came across this photograph recently while compiling images for our Flickr page. It is of Dr. Max Appel and Elizabeth Chase, Ph.D., at Burnham City Hospital. The photograph was used in a News-Gazette feature photograph about the hospital’s new cancer control center (“Cancer Control Clinic,” 23 August 1942, p. 8).

Chanute Air Force Base Celebrates Women

My name is Liz Wittrig and I joined the Champaign County Historical Archives as an intern in February. I am a graduate student at the University of Illinois’ School of Library and Information Science and will be working in the Archives to process the Chanute Collection.