Local history

Local history

Another Installment of "Newspapers, Get Your Newspapers Here!"

Sidney Times newspaper, August 28,1908, front pageIn our last newspaper post, we presented you with some exciting and off-beat campus area newspapers from the 1970s and 1980s. There are more of those to examine, and we'll get to those in upcoming blog posts but for now, let's look at some of the early small-town papers, starting with the August 28, 1908, Sidney Times. This edition of the Sidney Times is ten pages long and has a LOT of information packed into those ten pages. The front page starts right off with advertising, perhaps not much different than newspapers of today. The remainder of the front page provides commentary on weddings, social club events, funerals, stories about the Sidney Horse Show and Corn Carnival, and the Illinois State Fair. This publication came out in the morning and cost a reasonable 5 cents. There is a pleasant announcement right on the title banner that you should get one of your own if you are reading a borrowed copy of this paper, no word on whether the good citizens of Sidney heeded this demand. Read more about Another Installment of "Newspapers, Get Your Newspapers Here!"

In Memoriam: Robert K. McCandless (1928-2020) and Raymond Bial (1948-2021)

Champaign County lost two prominent community photographers over the holiday season, Robert K. McCandless and Raymond Bial.

Robert McCandless with former Archives Director Anke Voss, 2013Robert (Bob) K. McCandless was the owner and photographer of McCandless Photography, a studio in Urbana and Champaign, Illinois, specializing in portraits. Born in Hershey, Pennsylvania, McCandless worked at the Evening Standard in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and in the Air Force from 1951-1953 (in Korea from 1952-1953) as a public information officer. In April 1956, he joined the Urbana Courier as a photographer. In 1965, McCandless left the Courier and opened his own photography studio at Washington and Race Streets in Urbana. He moved the studio to 113 W. University Avenue in Champaign in 1974 - 1975 and moved to Lincoln Square Mall in 1983. He closed the studio in 2011. Read more about In Memoriam: Robert K. McCandless (1928-2020) and Raymond Bial (1948-2021)

The Battle of Seattle and Founding of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center

 WTO protests in Seattle, November 30, 1999 Pepper spray is applied to the crowd.On the morning of November 30, 1999, an estimated 10,000 protesters gathered around the Paramount Theatre and Convention Center in Seattle, Washington.[1] They were protesting the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Ministerial Conference. They were a small part of approximately 40,000-60,000 protesters gathered in Seattle, along with another 400,000 online, from November 28 to December 3. The 10,000 protesters at the Paramount Theatre were engaging in peaceful protest, which ultimately resulted in the cancellation of WTO events. Seattle police responded with tear gas and other riot gear, while a larger crowd of 25,000 marched toward the Convention Center from the Memorial Stadium, creating a massive conflict. The Seattle Protests of 1999, also known as the Battle of Seattle, concluded after the WTO decided to end the conference early in lieu of the backlash. 

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First commercial airline delivery of clothes

In 1919, Isaac Kuhn took a risky decision and became the first retailer to receive a shipment of clothing via commercial airplane. In 1919, passenger planes had only been invented eleven years earlier, and commercial airlines were just beginning to establish themselves. These planes flew without air routes, ground navigation, or regulated licensing.

People assembled after the plane landed, Isaac Kuhn is fifth from the right, 1919. Read more about First commercial airline delivery of clothes

Soldiers Monument in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Sidney, IL

Soldiers Monument in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Sidney, IL. (abt. 1902)

The Soldiers Monument in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Sidney, Illinois, is just one of many memorials erected by city, township, county, and state governments or organizations in the latter part of the 1890s and early 1900s. The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) and the Woman's Relief Corps (W.R.C.) were behind many of the efforts to raise money and erect the monuments that served as memorials to the men who fought for the Union during the Civil War. Read more about Soldiers Monument in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Sidney, IL

Changing the Code on Campus Affairs

The body of the letter sent by Diana Lenik, Chair of the CCWPC, in support of a new University of Illinois nondiscrimination policy. Champaign County Women’s Political Caucus Collection 276, Box 1, Folder 3.

The body of the letter sent by Diana Lenik, Chair of the CCWPC, in support of a new University of Illinois nondiscrimination policy. Champaign County Women’s Political Caucus Collection 276, Box 1, Folder 3.

Those who have conducted archival research before know that it can be a winding, circuitous process. It is all too easy to get diverted by the information that catches your eye but is unrelated to your true research goal. However, these research rabbit holes may ultimately lead to a brand new perspective  - or a blog post! One such sidetrack happened to me as I investigated the Champaign County Women’s Political Caucus for the CCHA’s’ new exhibit, “From Homemaking to Municipal Housekeeping: 20th Century Women’s Clubs in Champaign County.Read more about Changing the Code on Campus Affairs

Newspapers! Get Your Newspapers Here!

When you think of the Champaign County Historical Archives (and we hope you do!), do you think of newspapers? Some folks might, if they are doing specific research or if they are interested in genealogy. But I want to let everyone know about the rich trove of newspapers we have here in the Archives, newspapers that you might remember and ones that are not so memorable. Over the next few months, I will be here to talk about our newspaper collection and how you can access the photos and stories that make up the rich history of Champaign County. Read more about Newspapers! Get Your Newspapers Here!

New Exhibit: “From Homemaking to Municipal Housekeeping: 20th Century Women’s Clubs in Champaign County”

The Champaign County Historical Archives invites you to explore our new online exhibit, “From Homemaking to Municipal Housekeeping: 20th Century Women’s Clubs in Champaign County,” now online on Local History & Genealogy Digital Exhibits.

A picture of the women of the Fortnightly Club, one of a number of clubs for women in 20th century Champaign County

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Uncovered Gravestones in Leal Park

Leal Park, 303 W University Ave, Urbana, IL

During recent park improvements, undertaken in 2020, portions of ten gravestones from the Old Urbana Burying Ground were unearthed in Leal Park. Work ceased on the project to add additional parking spaces and an accessible path to the administration building, while the Public Service Archaeology & Architecture Program from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign assisted the Urbana Park District in complying with the State of Illinois laws regarding the protection of cemeteries. Work on the park improvements resumed, and the Public Service Archaeology & Architecture Program provided the Archives with information and digitally enhanced photographs from the project. Read more about Uncovered Gravestones in Leal Park

Recently Processed: Orphan Train Collection

Ilinois Central Train, 1856In the second half of the 19th century, welfare organizations on the East Coast were looking for ways to find homes for orphaned and homeless children. Their solution, beginning in 1854, was to send children to rural areas across the country, primarily the Midwest. Organizations such as the Children’s Aid Society and the New York Juvenile Asylum sent children by train to these areas, where they were placed in homes to work, often on farms, and to receive an education. These trains have since been labeled “Orphan Trains,” and many traveled to Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities. Read more about Recently Processed: Orphan Train Collection