The circa 1905 “Then” photo (#A2118) of the southeast corner of Monument Square, Urbana, shows bicycles and bicyclists in front of Harmstead & Holding, purveyor of harnesses, buggies and bicycles. Some of the bicycles may be motorized. Presumably, this is a biking event, probably sponsored by Harmstead & Holding. The Home Bakery next to Harmstead & Holding is now the location of Cafe Paradiso.
The 2020 “Now” photo is of the same location. Businesses shown are Cafe Paradiso and Oxner’s General Store.
This is a circa 1910 photo (#1834) of the Douglas Hotel looking west from Monument Square down Miami Street in Urbana. About 1815 on the present-day site of the Douglas Hotel, John Reynolds built a frame house. The Reynolds family lived on the second floor and operated a general store on the first floor. It also served as Urbana’s first post office.
In 1819, John C. Pearson purchased the property and in 1825 erected a two-story brick building, which he established as a hotel. This brick building ultimately became the nucleus of the Douglas Hotel.
Sometime prior to 1844 Henry Weaver acquired the property and built two additional floors to the hotel, which was then referred to as the Weaver House. In 1877 the Weaver family sold the hotel and C. L. Stough became the proprietor. Around 1900 the hotel began to be referred to as the Douglas Inn/Hotel.
Source: A Brief Early History of the Douglas Hotel by Barbara E. Sour (#8689)
The Champaign County Historical Society, an all-volunteer, not-for profit organization that preserves, protects, archives and displays the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The society depends upon donations and dues to provide a free public museum, which is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays.
Then – This is a circa 1905 photo (#0135) of the southeast corner of Monument Square, Urbana. A drug store is at the Scioto Street corner with “Alabastine” in the window. Painted on the roof of this building was “DRUGS-PAINTS-OILS.” Note the public drinking fountain in front of the drug store. A dentist’s office is above the drug store. Next door is a bakery. In the corner is a harness shop. Later Harmstead & Holding store was located here. On the south side is a photographer’s studio. Note the slanted skylight window providing the best light for taking photos. This building burned about 1960 and was replaced by a one-story building that became the location of the AAA office. At the South Main Street corner is the Hitt & Fuller Dry Goods Store.
Now – This 2018 photo is of the same location. Businesses shown are Café Paradiso, Oxner’s General Store, Downtown Diva’s, Vape on the Square, and Thompson, Dunlap & Heydinger, LTD, Attorneys at Law. Just west of the attorneys’ office was the Hitt & Fuller Dry Goods store and later Main News. Now it is Legacy Park (not shown).
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.