Drive or catch the bus to downtown Urbana for another local staple. Silvercreek, owned by Courier Café’s Allen Strong, is in their 27th year of business. Located just a short walk away from downtown, the Silvercreek building sits above the winding…

Out on South Neil Street sits The Ribeye, “The Great One Steak Place” as it is known to those who dine there, opened their doors in February 1979. They made their home in the relatively young building (built in 1970) that used to be Ireland's, an…

Walking near the heart of campus puts visitors, students, faculty and staff alike near plenty of great places to eat, hang out, and have a good time. Tucked away on the corner of Oregon and St. Mathews sits Red Herring, a restaurant that has a long…

If you have ever visited downtown Champaign, you probably noticed that most shops are packed tightly together, some with no spaces between them, while others have the smallest of alleyways. Radio Maria sits snugly on the corner of Walnut and Taylor.…

Upon entering this nearly 100-year-old building, you take in the sights and smells of Papa Del’s Pizza Factory. The walls are painted a cheesy-yellow mixed with deep tomato red, creating the perfect mixture of color. The metal fireplace holding…

Jarling’s Custard Cup got its start in 1949 in Danville, Illinois. They began as a small town ice cream parlor, selling the custard recipe that George Potter, the original owner, created. In 1983, Doug and Christy Jarling opened the Champaign…

Downtown Champaign is home to many old buildings, built so long ago their construction history is nearly lost. On the corner of Walnut and Chester, Esquire Lounge stands as one of the oldest bars in town. Old pictures and antique maps of Champaign…

The city of Urbana was incorporated about 200 years ago. From the beginning, Urbana had a thriving, bustling downtown scene, with new buildings added all the time. Now the structures are old, respected and protected. Historical landmarks dot the…

Tucked away in a corner of downtown Urbana, the Courier Café is one of the oldest restaurants in the area, and according to their website it is the oldest building in downtown Urbana. Alvin T. Burrows bought the land on which Courier stands today in…

Situated near the bisection of Walnut and Neil is Café Kopi, nestled near several mainstays of downtown Champaign. It resides in one of the oldest buildings downtown, built around 1908-1910. Café Kopi’s residence has a lengthy history, beginning…

“I have a lot of pride in this place.” – Lindsay Aikman, daughter-in-law to Ruth Aikman, founder of The Bread Company. The Bread Company started in Ruth Aikman's kitchen back when she made bread at home for her family. Originally from…

A train runs by, blaring the horn to let pedestrians know to keep clear of the tracks. Inside Black Dog Smoke & Ale House in Champaign, the atmosphere remains the same. Dozens of diners enjoy barbeque, sip midday cocktails, and have a good time in…

The Russell Building was built in 1905 at 121 - 123 West Church Street. On Tuesday November 12, 1915 Mr. and Mrs. Charles Russell opened the Belvoir Theater. The theater was built for stage shows as well as films with the opening show being…

Designed in 1913 by Chicago architect Lewis E. Russell, the Art stands as Downtown’s longest continuing theater. The owner of the building was B.F. Cooper who choose many of the details based on this tours of leading playhouses in Chicago. Local…

There is perhaps no one department store more synonymous with Downtown Champaign than F.K. Robeson’s. Frank Kurn Robeson started his department store business in 1874 in the building currently known as the Metropolitan Building at 223 North Neil…

The Masonic Temple was dedicated on January 9, 1914 by Henry T. Burnap, Most Worshipful Grand Master. This grand space was described in the following text taken from the dedication program in 1914: “This building is 79 X 109 feet, having the…

In 1850 the First Presbyterian Church Organized in a wood frame structure built at Hill and State, unbeknownst to congregation, they would become the longest organized church in Champaign. Shortly after they began to outgrow their building, the small…

Built in 1906 the present church represents the third Methodist Church to occupy the site at Church and State Streets. The Methodist congregation was organized shortly after the Illinois Central Depot was complete in 1854. After locating in several…

Originally laid out as a public square and potential site for a new County Courthouse, West Side Park, formally known as White Park was named for John P. White who donated the land the park now sits on. At the time of its construction the City of…

For over 80 years the Virginia Theater has served and queen of downstate theaters. This 1,800 seat movie palace, designed by C. Howard Crane and Kenneth Franzheim, opened on December 28, 1921. The building combines Spanish and Italian Renaissance…

Built by John “Wall” Mulliken of Walker and Mulliken Furniture Store, The Walker Opera House was one of Champaign’s first theaters. Unlike most of the Vaudeville houses built before it, the Walker was a theater in the true sense with a large…

Matched only by the F.K. Robeson Company, W. Lewis Department store was a solid anchor of retail in Downtown for over sixty years. Started by Wolf Lewis, who followed his father and immigrated from Poland in 1897, it began as a small dry good store…

Constructed between 1935 and 1937, this Art Deco icon stood as the tallest building in Downtown Champaign when completed. This building replaced the 1889 building designed by Seeley Brown. The building was designed by George Ramey and funded by…

On March 11, 1915 local businessman George Inman opened his grand hotel with a magnificent dinner prepared by a new chef brought straight from Boston. Over $200,000 was invested in its construction and it quickly became the most elegant and plush…

When completed in 1924 this beautiful Beaux-Arts inspired station was promoted as the largest and most complete structure of its kind in any city the size of Champaign. At the time the populationwas 15,873. The station was constructed at the same…

Constructed in 1909 the First National Bank Building represents one of the first steel-constructed buildings in Champaign. The Chicago firm Mundie and Jensen built the Second Renaissance Revival building to represent the strength of the financial…

Godfrey Willis immigrated from England in 1872 by way of Philadelphia, and together with Harry Scott opened G.C. Willis Department Store seen here on the right. Lasting over 84 years the building would eventually lose its historic appearance and…

Unfortunately not much is known about the origin of the Downtown Fountain. What is known is that this landmark shows up in photographs before the turn of the 20th century. The 1887 Sandborn fire insurance maps show a well at this location which leads…

The Flat Iron building was designed and constructed by S.P. Atkinson of the S.P. Atkinson Monument Building at 106 South Neil Street. Many of the features of the flat iron can be seen on the South Neil Street building. The Gazette building was…

Built in the Classical Revival style, this beautiful 800 seat theater was constructed by the famous architects Cornelius and George Rapp of Carbondale, IL. George was a graduate of the University of Illinois School of Architecture. in 1899. Their…