This “Looking Forward” segment is from the perspective of George Fithian, who established a tavern in a hewn log house in 1806 at the site that now is the Urbana U.S. Post Office, the southwest corner of South Main and West Market streets. The log house later was converted into a store by Samuel McCord. Around 1816, school was taught there by Hiram M. Curry.
When Champaign County was partitioned from Greene & Franklin counties in 1805, the house of George Fithian in Springfield was designated the temporary seat of justice for Champaign County (which then included Springfield). The county seat of justice was later established in a log structure on East Court Street in Urbana. Fithian was elected the first mayor of Urbana in 1816 and was elected county commissioner in 1818. In 1821 he was elected associate judge of the county.
Some years later George Fithian and his family moved to Danville, Illinois, where he also became active in government. One of his sons founded the town of Fithian, located just west of Danville.
Then – Circa 1900 (#A1326) photo of the Grace Methodist Church located on SW corner of South Main and West Market Streets, Urbana, Ohio. The Urbana Public Library on W. Market Street is visible on the right side of the photo. The church building was dedicated on June 22, 1879, by Bishop Bowman of St. Louis. The bishop said he had dedicated 800 churches and that this was the first one to be free of debt: nor had any other equaled it in beauty, neatness, and convenience for worship. In 1854 it was decided to organize a second church in Urbana as the Methodist Church at the corner of N. Main and Church Streets had grown to a membership of 432 which was regarded as being the limit in size for any one church. Grace Methodist Church served as the Second Methodist Church in Urbana. It was razed in 1931 and U.S. Post was erected on the site in 1932. History of the Urbana Methodist Church from 1804 to 1981, by The History Committee, Carl R. Robinson, Minister, Marvin Humphrey, Margaret Beatty Brandeberry, and Frances Bancroft, Church Historian.
Now – 2017 photo of Urbana Post Office on the same site.
The Champaign County Historical Society is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization that preserves, protects, archives and displays the artifacts that tell Champaign County’s History. The Society operates on donations and dues and has a free public museum of history at East Lawn Avenue in Urbana
Then – 1932 photo of the Urbana Public Library located on the South side of West Market St. in Urbana. Currently this is the site of the U.S. Post Office alley parking lot. Note ‘Clifford Theater’ and old City Building are in the background. Also note the construction site of the post office building east of the library. In 1932 the Urbana Library Association acquired the building across the street at 160 W. Market Street (at the NE corner of W. Market & Walnut Streets) and moved the library there. In 1996 the library moved to a remodeled building at 1060 Scioto Street (its current location). (Historical Facts and Trivia of Champaign County, Ohio by Ed Ridder)
Now - 2017 photo of the same location.
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.