Local History and Genealogy Blog

Pride Fest 2020: The Archives Looks Back at the LGBTQIA+ community in C-U

The Gay/Lesbian Prairie Press Letterhead, vol. 1 no. 2, pg. 1, Nov. 1990

The LGBTQIA+ community in Champaign-Urbana has a long and vibrant history. In honor of Pride Fest 2020, the Champaign County Historical Archives takes a look at a few of the many newsletters published by queer groups in C-U. These newsletters, many of which are from the 1980s and 1990s, show the strength of a community that has never been afraid to wear its pride and activism on its sleeve. Read more about Pride Fest 2020: The Archives Looks Back at the LGBTQIA+ community in C-U

Rantoul's Minuteman Missile Saved at the Last Minute

3345 Technical School Class PhotographIn the summer of 1776, the Second Continental Congress of the thirteen colonies met in Philadelphia and drafted a document that declared independence from British rule to the world. Following this Declaration of Independence, the new nation quickly prepared for war and named George Washington as commander of the continental army. Still, even before Washington's appointment, local militias formed to protect their communities from British attacks. Within these local militias, small groups were developed to answer the call to arms in emergencies. These minutemen, who were named as such because they were ready in a minute's notice, were a protective force that eased the concerns of continental towns and cities and became symbolic of American protection from aggressive forces. Read more about Rantoul's Minuteman Missile Saved at the Last Minute

Superstitions of Early Illinois Settlers

Zodiac graphic linking the zodiac symbols to different body partsThe early settlers in Illinois had many superstitions and home remedies that seem odd today, including several superstitions based on the zodiac signs. While most people are familiar with the zodiac, we use today, what sets the settlers’ use of it apart is their application of it to the body. It was common for early settlers to assign zodiac signs to different parts of the body. Read more about Superstitions of Early Illinois Settlers

From Mansion to Medicine

Harris Mansion, 1947

In the early 1900s, the Burnham-Harris Mansion at the corner of Prospect and Church in Champaign was one of the best addresses in town. Located at 809 W. Church Street, it was the hub of social life in Champaign, and an invitation to an event there was always a coveted ticket.  Read more about From Mansion to Medicine

Chanute Spotlight: The Trade Winds Service Club

Pool Hall at Trade Winds, 1966

Chanute Air Force Base offered considerable entertainment for base personnel. Previous blog posts referenced the Chandelle Club and the YMCA/USO on base, but those were only two of the many options young men and women at the base and in Champaign County could choose to enjoy. Another option was Trade Winds, a service club that opened in 1956 and was renovated in 1965. Trade Winds was open seven days a week and entertained an average of 360,000 persons annually. The building itself had 33,574 square feet of floor space. It included a 4,472 square foot dance hall, four record rooms with a library of over 1,000 records, loanable music instruments, a game room with eight pool tables and three ping-pong tables, two TV rooms, one card playing room, a writing room, and an airmen's' lounge. There was also a family lounge and a combo room used for weddings and events. 

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Summer of Baseball, 1895 edition

In 1895, Kuhn & Son organized a baseball team called the Clippers. Playing sixteen games, they won eleven, including a nine-game streak. Their first game was a doubleheader against Danville on the Fourth of July. Despite the luck they would have towards the end of their season, they lost both the doubleheader games.

Photograph of Kuhn’s Clippers in 1895 with the Jos Kuhn & Co. slogan on their jerseys

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Greetings from Chanute!: Donald O. Weckhorst and Non-Verbal Communication

Donald Weckhorst's instruction booklet. Cover reads "Non-Verbal Communication" and is surrounded by several images of signs, facial expresions, sign lanuage, and traffic signs. Anybody who regularly reads my blog posts is aware that I am a huge fan of former base historian Chief Master Sergeant Donald O. Weckhorst. Weckhorst arrived at Chanute in 1952 and dedicated nearly his entire life to the base, including researching and authoring the 75-year pictorial history of Chanute Air Force Base, helping found the Chanute Heritage Foundation, and founding the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum. One of Weckhorst’s pet projects at the base during his final years of active duty was the creation of the non-verbal communication program. According to Weckhorst, “nonverbal communication is sometimes called ‘body language, but that is not entirely accurate---there is more than the body involved.” He described nonverbal communication as the study of body language, also known as kinesics, which Mirriam-Webster’s defined as “a systematic study of the relationship between nonlinguistic body motions (as blushes, shrugs, or eye movement) and communication. Read more about Greetings from Chanute!: Donald O. Weckhorst and Non-Verbal Communication

Intern Reflection: Working with the Chanute Collection

Greetings from Chanute postcard image with an airplane in clack and white

Greetings from Chanute Field postcard

Hi, I'm Rosemary Froeliger 2019-2020 Archives intern, and I have been asked by the Director of the Champaign County Historical Archive (CCHA) to reflect on my time working on the Chanute Collection. I have enjoyed reviewing all the work that my fellow intern Kevin and I have accomplished in what feels like a very short school year.

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