Animal Stories of Champaign County: Summer

Animal Stories of Champaign County: Summer by Chuck Fanakos, cover

Among the many books in the Archives collection are some that were written or compiled by local residents. Animal Stories of Champaign County: Summer is a delightful book of selections from Champaign County newspaper articles that mention animals. It was compiled and donated by Chuck Fanakos of Tolono, Illinois.

Here are some excerpts that you might enjoy:

June 26, 1890: A wren made a nest in a clothes-pin bag on a porch at George J. Whiton’s residence on the Springfield Road, recently. The bag was removed, and then the bird sought the inside of the house and built its nest in a pocket of Mr. Whiteon’s pants, which are hanging in a closet. The nest now contains 3 eggs, and will remain undisturbed.

July 1, 1903: Two catfish were placed in the Johnston fountain at West Side Park today. The children are delighted.

July 4, 1990: Roofers working on the Assembly Hall dome reported seeing a fairly large wood chuck scampering about. It is not known exactly how the animal reached such heights. Two possibilities are that a large bird lifted it up as food but dropped it on the roof or that it may have worked its way through sewage lines.


July 7, 1929: At A.W. Slater’s residence, 201 W Church St, the pet kitty, that’s what we’ll call her, because the Slater’s have never named her, is the proud mother of 3 6-week-old kittens. The family has been making its abode under the coal bin in the basement. When the Slater’s looked into their basement Saturday morning detecting the knee deep water (from heavy rain) they lost all hopes of hearing sounds from the feline family. But there, on a board floating in the water was the mother cat and the 3 kittens…high and dry.

July 10, 1872: Cat conventions are now in order. They are usually held at night.

July 10, 1872: The farmer’s dogs are having plenty of fun and exercise chasing life insurance agents off the farm.


July 10, 1910: Guy Carter had a peculiar experience on an auto trip near Tuscola. A flock of sheep appeared in the road ahead of him. He attempted to scare them out of the road by honking his horn, but the musical horn had the opposite effect, and in a minute the machine was completely surrounded by sheep, all of which seemed to want to bestow affection on the machine and crowded as close as they could get.


July 17, 1929: Saint Joseph: A cash register with a mouse squeal was the peculiar phenomena which developed this week in the J.M. Lang store. Each time the cash register was used a mouse was heard squealing. Not much attention was paid until it happened several times, after which an investigation was started. This revealed that the mouse had caught its tail in the cogs of a wheel which throws out cash tickets and each time the register was used, the mouse was drawn somewhat closer to the wheel. When rescued the mouse was covered with indelible ink.

These stories were compiled from archived Champaign County newspapers. All images in this blog post were scanned from Animal Stories of Champaign County: Summer.

Other Books by Chuck Fanakos in the Archives:

Champaign County Chronicle, 1800-2012 : Day by Day
Champaign County Chronicle 2000
Champaign County Chronicle 2001-2003
A Chronicle of Champaign County Childrens Stories
A Chronicle of Champaign County, Illinois : the Year 1900
Halloween : Pumpkins, Parties, Pranks and Things That Go Bump in the Boneyard Creek 
Nostalgic Times.
Rantoul, Illinois : a Book of Days
Tolono Times : Short Stories from Compiled Newspapers on the Life and Times of Tolono, Illinois

-Erica S.
Archives Assistant