Champaign Preparing to Celebrate History

Champaign 150 LogoThe first of three signature events commemorating Champaign’s 150th Anniversary opens next week for three weeks. A Walk Through Time: An Historical Tribute kicks off on Friday, March 19, at 4:00 PM at CityView in the Illinois Terminal, 45 E. University Ave. The public is invited.

The Champaign 150 Historical committee invites students, community members and visitors alike to visit the fourth floor of CityView and enjoy Champaign’s history. From the founding of Champaign in the 1860’s through today, this exhibit chronicles Champaign’s history in 30-year segments, showcasing never before seen facets of Champaign life through artifacts and photos. The Champaign 150 Historical Committee includes members from the Champaign County Historical Museum, Champaign County Historical Society, Dan McCollum – City of Champaign Historian and former mayor, Early American Museum, Sesquicentennial Neighborhoods, Urbana Free Archives and WILL/University Journalism Department.

Notable artifacts to view include:

  • Original City Council Desk from 1889
  • 1889 Fire Chief’s helmet and fireman’s uniform
  • Large marquee letters from the Rialto Theater
  • Early cash register from Robeson’s Department Store
  • Ball and chain, bulletproof vest and badge collection from Champaign Police Department
  • Early financial ledger from Champaign schools dating from 1861
  • Original horse car registry from first rail line between Champaign and Urbana 1860
  • Multiple artifacts from Joseph Kuhn and Co.
  • Period clothing from each era including a full collection of WWI and WWII uniforms

“Anyone wanting to experience the history of Champaign will enjoy this exhibit. The collection of photos and artifacts has either never or rarely been seen by the public,” said T.J. Blakeman, chairman of the historical committee. The exhibit is open to the public from March 19 – April 7.

Public hours:

  • 4 PM – 8 PM Monday – Friday
  • 10 AM – 5 PM Saturday
  • 1 PM – 5 PM Sunday

Groups of 20 or more are encouraged to arrange a private tour during the hours of 9 AM – 1 PM Mondays through Fridays by calling 217.403.8710 or emailing [email protected]. Local groups and organizations may reserve – at no cost – a ballroom at CityView to hold a monthly meeting and then follow the meeting with a tour of the exhibit.

Check out often for fresh information regarding 150th Anniversary events, sponsorship and volunteer opportunities and to submit personal recollections and historically significant photos of Champaign through the years.