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 main…

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 stage…

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…

This magnificent tree has smooth, light gray bark and dense, glossy foliage. There are so many beautiful cultivars (this is the purple-leaved variety) that it is easy to find at least one to blend into any Urbana landscape. Due to the deep shade it…

The Sawtooth is one of the fastest-growing oaks and has a relatively dense habit. The leaves open as brilliant yellow-green in spring, changing to a lustrous green foliage in summer and then a pale brown in fall. These leaves hold on during the…

Even though this tree is native to the western and southwestern United States, it is one of the best firs for this area. The Concolor Fir is able to withstand heat, drought and cold equally well. It also has a pleasant appearance with soft,…

The Zelkova has been planted in many areas as a replacement for the American Elm because it has a similar vase shape and is resistant to many diseases and pests, most notably Dutch Elm disease. This native of Japan makes a beautiful landscape tree…

This tree and the next two on the trail, were planted by Michael Dirr, a renowned horticulturist who lived in Urbana in the 1970s. The White Pine is one of the fastest-growing ornamental pines, able to reach 75 feet in just 30 to 40 years. Although…

This tree and the next two on the trail are located in Carle Park, the second oldest park in Urbana, which features a two-story stone pavillion. This elm, which is characterized by the white stippling in its leaves, may be a variety of the European…

This native of the southern states is unusual for the Illinois climate, normally preferring warmer temperatures. Although it can grow to 60 feet in the South, it does not grow taller than 10 to 20 feet in this area. Also called Swamp Magnolia, it…

Relatively slow-growing, the Swamp White Oak performs well as a street or shade tree. The technical name “bicolor” refers to the two contrasting colors in the leaf—dark green above the pale and silvery white below. Its somewhat large acorns attract…

This attractive tree is excellent in all seasons. In mid-April, 2- to 4-inch long, white fragrant flowers appear. The small fruit, which ripens in June changing from green to red and finally to purple, attracts many area birds. In the fall, the…

The leaves of the Ohio Buckeye go through many color changes. They begin as bright green turning dark green in summer and then yellow and at times orange-red in the fall. Perfectly shaped greenish-yellow flowers bloom around mid-May. This Buckeye’s…

Known for its flowers, fruit and large, heart-shaped leaves, the Northern Catalpa is native along rivers in the south-central United States. The 2-inch-long flower blooms in early June and is followed shortly thereafter with the long, slender,…

This versatile tree is native to North America. Early pioneers collected its seeds and roasted them as a substitute for coffee, hence the name. Recently, a fruitless variety named 'Espresso’ has been introduced. Native Americans also used the nickel…

The Japanese Pagoda has foliage similar to a Honeylocust. Yellowish-green flowers in 12- to 14- inch clusters appear in late summer lasting about a month, and its small branches remain green throughout the winter. The leaves are pinnately compound,…

Although its origins lie in Asia, the Horse Chestnut was introduced to America from Europe in the 18th century. Today, it is widely used as a shade tree both here and abroad. Perfect for open areas, the Horse Chestnut has found homes in such famous…

The name of this unusual species is derived from the long, loose clusters of yellow flowers that appear in early summer. These flowers are then followed by papery fruit capsules, which resemble Japanese lanterns. It is at its most beautiful in early…