Champaign’s gambling hotspots in 1937

Floor plan for the Turf Club located at 113 ½ & 115½ N. Market St., Champaign In 1937, an unnamed Evening Courier reporter made a survey of the gambling conditions in Champaign. His 9-part series appeared nightly in the Evening Courier beginning April 29, 1937 and ending May 9, 1937. He found that even though gambling houses were hidden behind ambiguously marked doors, steep staircases, and peepholes, they were an open secret available to anyone. 

The Archives newest exhibit pulls the photographs and floor plans published by the reporter and maps them to Champaign’s current downtown scene. Venues such as Klemick’s, 103 Club, Skinny Pitchers, Recreation Club, and Stables Annex provided off-track betting, craps, blackjack and poker along Champaign’s North Market St. aka ‘Gambler’s Row.’

The exhibit is located on the 2nd floor of The Urbana Free Library by the Local History & Genealogy Reading Room doors. If you are unable to make it to the library please check out our digital exhibit on Flickr.

Sherrie, Archives Librarian