Then – This is a circa 1930 photo (#0183) of the Bunnell Monument Works at 113 E. Church St., reported to be oldest continuous business in Urbana. It was founded in 1868 by D.M. Bunnell. The building was built the same year. The business was acquired by John Enright in the late 1940s. At that time the name of the business was changed to Urbana Monument Company.
Now – This is a 2019 photo of the Urbana Monument Co. at 113 E. Church St.
Photos courtesy of 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, 809 East Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
The “Then” photo, circa 1930 (#0408), shows the Urbana Furniture Company complex located at the corner of South Oakland and Beach streets. It formerly was the Barlow & Kent Company, furniture manufacturer. Barlow & Kent Co. was established at Plain City in 1881 and moved to Urbana in 1889. The complex consisted of two factory buildings, an office building and an oil house, with a total area in excess of 30,000 square feet.
Barlow & Kent Co. produced wardrobes, desks, tables and cupboards. E.W. Barlow, owner, was from Kent, Arkansas. In 1910 the company had a lumber company in Kent and 1,200 acres of hardwood timberland in the area. Barlow & Kent Co. ran into financial difficulty in 1915 and was re-organized under new management as the Urbana Furniture Company, which manufactured Happi-Tymes nursery furniture.
Source: Champaign Democrat Centennial Edition June 15, 1905, page 21.
The 2019 “Now” photo shows one of the buildings in the former Barlow & Kent Co. complex at the corner of South Oakland and Beach streets, which was later used by the Urbana Furniture Company. The Barlow & Kent name was not removed when Urbana Furniture Co. started using the building.
The circa 1937 “Then” photo (#A1964) is of the United Paperboard Co. Note the 1937 Ford automobile in the foreground. The Ohio Strawboard Co. was established in 1895 (Urbana and Champaign County Illustrated – Supplement to the Urbana Daily Citizen, Oct. 10, 1911). The facility was apparently heavily damaged by a tornado circa 1900 (#A2069). At that time straw was a primary ingredient in the finished product – boxboard.
Based upon Sanborn Fire Insurance maps in 1910, the plant was listed as the United Boxboard Company and by 1911 it had approximately 50 employees. It became known as the United Paperboard Co. in September 1924. Straw was no longer a component, although older workers continued to refer to the plant as “The Strawboard.”
Sometime later it became one of three American companies operating under the name United Board & Carton Co. The product was primarily “kraft,“ which was manufactured in a variety of sizes and colors. A specialty item was “cakebox,” which was coated with white Alabama clay. Employees worked “swing shifts” alternating weekly from days (7 a.m.-3 p.m.) to 2nd (3-11 p.m.) to “graveyard” (11 p.m.-7 a.m.). Workers were given little notice when the plant shut down around 1972.
The 2019 “Now” photo below is of Orbis Manufacturing, currently doing business in the same location, 200 Elm St.
In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, the Champaign County Historical Society is noting the history of previous offices of the Chamber.
These circa 1937 photos (#0130, #0131) of the Four Gables Building located at the NW corner of Church and Main streets document before and after the sides of the building were covered with an imitation brick veneer.
Note in Photo 1 the start of the covering on the wall at the left and the presence of scaffolding on the front of the building. At the time of this photo the Interurban tracks had been removed from the middle of Main Street.
Photo 2 is after completion of the cladding. Note in both photos the gasoline pumps and the tank cart for dispensing motor oil. Canned motor oil probably was not generally available then. Note the air hose at the extreme left of the photos and the buckets for radiator water at the base of the pole upon which a thermometer has been mounted. The Chamber of Commerce offices were in this building in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, the Champaign County Historical Society is noting the history of some previous locations of its offices.
The “Then” circa 1935 photo (#0138, above) is of the building at 113 Miami St., Urbana. Note that Miami Street was bricked. The Urbana Banking Co., Urbana’s first private bank, was established at this location in 1814, probably in a log structure. The current two-story building is thought to have been erected circa 1820 by Dr. Adam Mosgrove. The bank closed in 1842. By 1892 it was used as the medical office and residence of Dr. and Mrs. William A. Mosgrove. In 1939 Dr. Vogt Wolf had his medical office on the street level. Dr. Steven Radar maintained his general practitioner’s office here from 1963 until 1990. Information source: Then and Now in Downtown Urbana, Ohio from 1805 by Barbara Stickley Sour. Note: if you can identify the bartender and/or beer vendors in this photo, please call the museum, 937-653-6721.
The 2015 “Now” photo also is of 113 Miami St. The Chamber of Commerce was in this building in 2001. Note that the location of the A & P Food Stores next door is now the location of Fusion 40-83 Restaurant.
The Champaign County Historical Museum is 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-Friday; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturdays.
Then – This is a circa 1910 photo (#1845) of Willow Drive (now Patrick Avenue/state Route 54) looking south. As related by Emmett Sweetman, engineer for the city of Urbana, in a Springfield Sun article of March 13, 1958, Willow Drive, currently Patrick Avenue, with its overhanging willow trees, drew beauty lovers from afar to view its shady splendor.
In 1923 the famous old trees so overhung the road to the Oak Dale Cemetery that they created a problem. In the spring of 1923 as Mr. Sweetman’s wife’s grandfather was being buried in Oak Dale Cemetery, one of the willow trees came down, blocking the funeral procession halfway along Willow Drive. All of the willows were cut down in the summer of that year and replaced with locust trees. The willow wood was used to fabricate artificial legs.
The locust trees were replaced by elm trees in 1958. Unfortunately, the elm trees succumbed to Dutch Elm disease. The sidewalk on the cemetery side of the road was added in the 1890s.
Now- This is a 2019 photo looking south on Patrick Avenue. Note Oak Dale Cemetery on the left.
The circa 1915 photo (#A1547) of Chowning’s Art Studio shows the address as 121 N. Main St., Urbana. Likely the address number has changed as the Boston Store, which was in the building next door toward the square, was listed as 121 N. Main St. in 1920. The studio was located on the 2nd floor. As indicated on the awning, the Champaign Clothing Co. was on the first floor. When the Boston Store was at 121 N. Main St. the Scherer Clothing Store was located on the first floor of the building in which Chowning Art Studio was located in 1915.
Note the women with hats looking at photos at the bottom of the stairway leading to the studio. How about the motorcycle at the curb! Most likely it is an early Harley-Davidson, perhaps 1905 or 1910.
This 2019 photo is of the same location as the circa 1915 photo.
Info from the Champaign County Historical Museum, an all-volunteer, 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 to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays.
Then – This is a 1939 photo (#0187) of the Boston Store, 121 N. Main St., Urbana. Standing in front of boxes of Ball Band footwear are, left to right, Francis Collins, Harry Bernstein, Malcolm Reich and Martin Reich. Upstairs was the Springfield Loan Co. Next door was the Scherer Clothing Store, above which was the office of Dr. E. E. Meyer, dentist. Related photos in the Champaign County Historical Society archives are 0188, 0221, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The Boston Store was first located at 121 N. Main St. in 1917. What was the original location of the Boston Store? Answer and photos in a later installment of Then-Now.
Now – This is a 2019 photo of the same location, now occupied by The Boston, a collectibles store. 1984 was the last year The Boston Store was located at 121 N. Main St. 1991 Shield’s Bootery was located here.
The Champaign County Historical Museum is an all-volunteer, 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 to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays.
This is a circa 1900 postcard photo of Billy Clifford’s private railroad car next to the Washington Hotel. Billy Clifford, who grew up in Urbana, was an internationally renowned entertainer. This photo was taken looking southeast across the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis Railroad (Big Four RR) toward Miami Street. In the background is the A.T. Woodcock grain elevator. Across the tracks from Clifford’s car is the Big Four RR freight and passenger depot.
These structures were located near where West Court Street currently joins Washington Street. Note next to the depot is a horse and cart loaded with items. In the right foreground is a pneumatic-tired bicycle; these bicycles were first produced about 1890. The Washington Hotel was remodeled for later use as the Urbana Broom Co. factory; most likely, this photo was taken during this transition.
In 1926 the depot and broom factory were razed when the Big Four RR tracks were elevated. Related photos in CCHS archives are: A2072-1, A2119-7, A1873.
The Champaign County Historical Museum is an all-volunteer, not-for profit organization that preserves, protects, archives and displays the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The organization depends upon donations and dues to provide a free public museum located at 809 East Lawn Ave., which is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Then – This is a circa 1929 photo (0198) of the Strapp Furniture Store at 106 Miami St., Urbana. Carpet, stoves and draperies were also sold. Note that head-in parking was used then on Miami Street.
Now – This a 2019 photo of the same location, now Brackens Pub. The basic façade of the building is unchanged. In 1951 Andrews & Son Paint and Cowan & Craig household appliances were at this location.
The Champaign County Historical Museum is an all-volunteer, not-for profit organization that preserves, protects, archives and displays the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. Donations and dues help to provide a free public museum, which is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays.
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.