Local History and Genealogy Blog

Famous People from C-U: The Time Has Come

Portrait of Ludacris

Christopher Brian Bridges, son of Roberta Shields and Wayne Brian Bridges, was born in Champaign, Illinois on September 11th, 1977. Christopher spent his early years in the Champaign-Urbana area. At nine years old, Christopher moved to Chicago with his mother after his parents divorced. In Chicago, he attended Oak Park & River Forest High School. Christopher and his mother then relocated to Atlanta, Georgia where he finished high school and attended Georgia State University studying music management. Read more about Famous People from C-U: The Time Has Come

Interesting Ordinances from Urbana, 1916

Seal of the City of Urbana, Ill.Our first post about Urbana City Codes was from 1954. After seeing some of the interestingly worded codes from that year what will Ordinances of City of Urbana Illinois of 1916 have in store? Read on to find out.

For those ordinances that still exist in some form, the current code will be listed. The current Code of Ordinances City of Urbana, Illinois can be found on Municode. Read more about Interesting Ordinances from Urbana, 1916

Fred Turner Woodblock Prints

Cattle Bank Building, Champaign, IL 1973

Every Christmas from 1946-1974, friends of Fred and Betty Turner received an original woodblock-printed card. Soon after Christmas, planning for the next year, the couple would choose a historical Illinois building or structure, take a photograph, then design, carve and print the image by hand. Their theme was “Illinois History through Woodblock Prints.”

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Every veteran has a story. Make sure yours is heard.

Home to the former Chanute Air Force Base for 76 years, Champaign County has a long history of wartime participation and civilian support. 

World War I soldiers marching by Champaign First National Bank.

This Veterans Day, The Urbana Free Library would like to make its patrons aware of the Illinois Veterans’ History Project. The project in conjunction with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, creates a permanent record of the names and stories of Illinois war veterans and civilians who served during wartime. Read more about Every veteran has a story. Make sure yours is heard.

Vriner’s Confectionary: the flavor of a bygone era

Vriner’s Confectionery interior, ca 1919

Sugary, sweet treats have been a highly traded and well-loved food for over a millennium, and by the 1800s over 380 factories were built in the United States to manufacture candy. Many of the larger manufacturers have withstood the change in time, allowing their names to become synonymous with the fast approaching holiday season, but we often forget about the smaller confectionary shops they started out as. At the turn of the 20th century, we had a few shops that called Champaign County home. The longest running one was Vriner’s Confectionary. Read more about Vriner’s Confectionary: the flavor of a bygone era

Try Out 'Try-It! Illinois!'

Try-It! Illinois 2018 posterTry-It! Illinois is the annual statewide database trial sponsored by Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White and the Illinois State Library. It offers the staff and library users of more than 5,000 ILLINET member libraries the opportunity to survey and evaluate a wide variety of electronic resources. Thanks to the partnerships between the Illinois State Library and the participating electronic resource vendors, there is no charge for accessing these databases during Try-It! Illinois.  Read more about Try Out 'Try-It! Illinois!'

Urbana Money

Urbana Money, bill

There are few occasions in which printing your own money would be an appropriate solution to a financial crisis. However, Urbana did just that during the Great Depression. Read more about Urbana Money

Greetings from Chanute!: The Story of Chanute Field's 29th Commanding Officer, 1940-1944, 1946

Young Raymond E. O'NeillThroughout its history, Chanute Air Force Base (CAFB) had fifty-four commanding officers (CO) from 1917-1993.  Most COs had a brief stint at CAFB, many lasting less than a single year. One of the base’s first COs to hold the position for an extended period was Brigadier General Raymond E. O’Neill. Read more about Greetings from Chanute!: The Story of Chanute Field's 29th Commanding Officer, 1940-1944, 1946