Champaign history

Champaign history

Art Club of Champaign's 1884 Exhibit

Art Club Picnic, date unknown
 
During the Civil War, American women coordinated efforts to deliver supplies and uniforms to the front lines and to hospitals, acted as nurses on the battlefield, and worked in industrial and farming jobs vacated by men who had gone to fight. In the years following these same women found themselves without an outlet for the administrative skills the war years had cultivated. Perhaps more importantly they yearned for the camaraderie these activities had provided. Industrial and technological advances alleviated the time-consuming labor of homemaking, creating idle leisure time many women had never before experienced. 

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.

Eisner Food Stores

In 1870, 18-year-old Albert Eisner immigrated to the United States from his home in Hungary. Upon his arrival in New York City, he was robbed of his last $20, and so he began work, first at a tailor’s shop and eventually at a dry goods store. During the next 45 years of his life, he would make his way west, settling finally in Champaign, Illinois, where he would launch the multi-generational business that would become one of the largest food sellers in central Illinois.

Happy Thanksgiving from Local History and Genealogy!

In honor of Thanksgiving, here are some historical facts about to share at your dinner table. We hope you have a wonderful holiday, and we'll see you back at the Archives on Friday. 

  • This mayoral proclamation appeared in the Champaign Gazette and Union on November 18, 1868:

Champaign Gazette and Union, 18 November 1868, p. 1

Green Street Viaduct

Green Street Bridge, Champaign, 1923

One access point to the west portion of campustown is at the intersection of Green and Neil Streets in Champaign. The current railroad bridge and roadway were constructed in 1899 and upgraded in 1923-1924. 

Book Launch Event - A Place in Time: Two Paths to a Television Program

Please join us Wednesday, February 27, from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. as we welcome University of Illinois Assistant Professor Kevin Hamilton for a discussion of his new comic book A Place in Time: Two Paths to a Television Broadcast. The book explores the paths taken to a broadcast of "Public Broadcasting Lab" that took place at the Illini Union in 1968.

But will it play in C-U?

As we wind down another contentious campaign season, it's worth remembering that Champaign and Urbana served as campaign stops for several candidates battling for the White House over the years. Here then are just a few images from Champaign-Urbana's political past.