The 1916 “Then” photo (#A373) of the building on the northwest corner of South Main and West Water streets, Urbana, shows the Mohrlite Co., manufacturer of lighting fixtures. In 1916, the company moved from San Francisco to the upper floors of this building. The first floor was occupied by a Maxwell Service Station, T. C. Englehart proprietor. A Maxwell car with a 1916 Ohio license plate is in front of the building.
In 1880 J. H. E. Dimond & Son opened a carriage factory in this building. The house next door was between this building and the Clifford Theater.
W. M. Dixon, born in Urbana in 1878, was president of the Mohrlite Co. Mohrlite lighting fixtures were recognized with a gold-medal award at the San Francisco International Exposition.
The company built a new building at the northeast corner of Walnut and Market streets and moved there in 1917. Some years later this same building housed the Champaign County Library.
The 2020 “Now” photo is of the Marathon station now on the northwest corner of South Main and West Water streets.
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, 809 East Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.
The “Then” photo (#0291) of Mercy Memorial Hospital, 904 Scioto St., Urbana, was taken on Dec. 6, 1950. A meeting at the Urbana Country Club on Nov. 29, 1944, marked the beginning of the Mercy Memorial Hospital Association. At this meeting local business and civic leaders discussed the need for a hospital. Monsignor R. Marcellus Wagner, superintendent of the Catholic hospitals in the Cincinnati Diocese, also attended.
After a successful fundraising campaign, a 73-acre parcel of land at the east end of Scioto Street was purchased. Wartime shortages of building materials delayed construction. An initial open house was held September 1951. The hospital began with 50 inpatient beds; another 50 inpatient beds were added in 1959.
Related photos in CCHS archives are A338, A1669, A2088 (#9), a 1971 aerial photo. Information source: 2001 Supplement to the Urbana Daily Citizen.
The “Now” photo, taken from the same perspective, highlights the new $800,000 front entrance of Mercy Health – Urbana Hospital. The new entrance was completed December 2019. Mercy also invested $3 million in building renovations and service expansion in 2017.
The “Then” photo, circa 1865, is of the three-story brick building at 127 N. Main St., the southeast corner of North Main and East Court streets in Urbana. The entrance to the building is not recessed; it is next to the sidewalk. The first floor of the building housed Lowry Drug Store. The people in front of the store include men with whiskers in top hats looking like Abraham Lincoln.
The second floor has a sign for Aetna Insurance Co., Charles B. Morgan, agent. Two men are leaning from open windows.
The third floor has a sign for W. L. Albright (photographer?). The print on it is indistinct. Harmony Lodge No. 8 F&AM met on the third floor of this building starting in 1838.
The “Now” photo shows TeaBaggers Restaurant in the same location. The restaurant opened in 1990. Prior to that, Stadler’s Men’s Store occupied the first floor of the building for several years.
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 circa 1910 “Then” photo (#A2284) is of the Egenberger Building at 114-116 S. Main St., Urbana. The Egenberger Bakery & Restaurant was on the first floor. The third floor was the meeting place of Harmony Lodge No. 8 F&AM from 1882 until moving to its current location at 222 N. Main St. in 1916. When the lodge first moved to this building in 1882 it was called the Houston Building.
On June 24, 1898, the Houston Building burned; the lodge rooms and second floor office rooms were gutted. The lodge financed the rebuilding of the second and third floors. At that time Masonic symbols were added above the third-floor windows. There are visible today.
The Champaign County Historical Society gratefully acknowledges information provided by Robert Pollock.
The 2019 “Now” photo is of the same location. Cox Shotokan Karate currently occupies the first floor.
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. Tuesday-Friday; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Then – This is a circa 1910 postcard street scene (#A1030) looking east on Scioto Street from the intersection with Happersett Street. The stone post on the left edge of the photo marks the driveway entrance to the large house that is midway between Scioto and East Court streets. This is likely the same post visible in the Now photo. Note the stone bridge over the ditch that runs on the north side of the street. Horse and buggies are traveling the unpaved street.
Now – This is a 2019 photo of the same location. Automobiles now travel the paved street versus horse and buggies in 1910.
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, 809 East Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.
The circa 1935 “Then” photo (#0468) is of the birthplace of John Quincy Adams Ward, 335 College St., Urbana (southwest corner of South High and College streets). He was the grandson of Col. William Ward, founder of Urbana. John Quincy Adams Ward was regarded as the Dean of American Sculpture. His sculpture the “The Indian Hunter” was the first American sculpture to be displayed on a permanent basis in Central Park, New York City.
This house built in the 1820s was later occupied by the following families: C.H. Marvin, C. 1940-1950; Corwin Barnhart, C .1950-1960; Richard Rademacher C. 1960-1980. Phillip and Sarah Kerns are the current residents. Note that the house has a tile roof and front and side porches.
A circa 1948 photo (#1717) shows that the front porch had been removed.
The 2019 “Now” photo is of the same house. Note that the house has an asphalt shingle roof and neither a front nor side porch.
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.
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.