The “Then” circa 1910 photo (#2163) shows the White-Valentine Co. at the northwest corner of Gwynne and North Russell streets. The photo was taken from across Gwynne Street in a north-easterly direction. The company consisted of a complex of buildings, including the large three-story building in this photo.
This building was used for cleaning, sorting and sizing brooms. The third story was for labeling and packing brooms in preparation for shipping. The building closed in 1925.
During the last quarter of the 19th century, Urbana was reported to be the largest manufacturer of brooms in the United States, employing over 200 people. Source: Urbana Ohio, Broom Capital of the Nation by Barbara Stickley Sour 1999.
The “Now” 2019 photo of the same location shows the building complex previously occupied by the Grimes Manufacturing Co. Warren Grimes had this building constructed early in WWII to accommodate his government contract to manufacture lights used on virtually all American aircraft. Grimes, now Honeywell, still produces aircraft lights and other products in its newer facility on state Route 55.
Submitted by the Champaign County Historical Museum, a not-for-profit organization that depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum located at 809 East Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.
Looking Back at Champaign County
The Champaign County Historical Society strives to highlight historical people, places and events throughout Champaign County. If you have photos of historical significance that you believe would be of interest to Champaign Countians, please Contact Us.