Then & Now: Grimes Field
The “Then” circa 1944 aerial photo (#A2553) of Grimes Field Airport, Urbana, was taken looking west across North U.S. Route 68. Shown are the original hangar and office/restaurant buildings. Grimes Field opened in November of 1941 as a private airport and became a municipal airport in 1943 when it was gifted to the city of Urbana by Warren G. Grimes. It was dedicated as such on Aug. 8, 1943.
The “Now” photo of Grimes Field was taken looking east toward North U.S. Route 68 during a recent “Fly In” event. The Champaign County Historical Society expressed appreciation to Elton Cultice, airport manager, for sharing this aerial photo.
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” 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 - Urbana Fly-in and Grace Fern Heck
This is a photo (#0100) taken on October 24, 1934 of World War I Aviator Jimmy Mattern and local Urbana civic group. They are next to the airplane Mattern flew into Urbana, Ohio. He was touring under the sponsorship of the Pure Oil Co. At that time, Urbana did not yet have an airport so he landed in a pasture field south of town.
Grace Fern Heck represented county government as she was the prosecuting attorney of Champaign County. She was the first women in the State of Ohio to serve as prosecuting attorney. Also she was Ohio’s first female municipal court judge. On Grace’s right is W. W. Rock, the mayor of Urbana, and on her left is Jimmy Mattern. Also in the photo is Warren Grimes (3rd from the left). Perhaps this event prompted him to consider establishing an airport in Urbana.
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.