Champaign County history

Champaign County history

Collection Highlight: Oral Histories

Transcripts of The Urbana Free Library Local History Roundtable discussions

While spending time with your family over the holidays, chances are you heard stories about the “good old days” from your grandparents, aunts or uncles, or parents. Perhaps you can’t get enough of these reminiscences. If that’s the case, check out the Champaign County Historical Archives collection of over 250 oral histories.

Riding the Rails to a New Life: The Orphan Trains

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.

The Blue Norther of 1836

Springfield Avenue looking east, January 24, 1979

 

We were struck by the recent change in the weather brought the wind and snow storm of last week. Compared to other events in Champaign County's past, this one was pretty mild. Consider: the Blue Norther of 1836.