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…

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…

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…

The European Hornbeam has many admirable qualities. The dense foliage is very clean, Showing no evidence of insect or disease damage. The bark on older specimens is a handsome gray and beautifully fluted. Although it can reach a height of 100 feet,…

Native to Japan, this particular species is a cultivar of the Japanese Red Pine. This handsome, two-needled pine has an orangish-red, flaky bark. The Dragon Eye Pine’s uniqueness comes from its needles, which are marked with two yellow lines and…

This deciduous conifer has a slender pyramidal form with horizontal branching. Its feathery needle-like foliage appears soft green in the summer changing to a rusty orange in fall. The fruit consists of a round cone approximately 1 inch across.…

Native to China and Japan, the Amur Corktree gets its name from its bark, which has a ridged and furrowed cork-like pattern. The unique and attractive bark does not appear until old age. Its pinnately compound leaves are lustrous green in summer…

Many film enthusiasts are familiar with the work of award winning director Ang Lee, but many may not know that Lee studied at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the early stages of his career. The Taiwanese born director graduated with a…

“When we began, Ronald Reagan was in office, materialism was rampant, and insect movies were terrible; today, there's a democratic president in Washington, environmental awareness and volunteerism are more fashionable, and insect movies are still…

In the summer of 2011, local artist Bea Nettles began to photograph the last names on headstones that could be used as parts of speech. She went out early in the mornings and spent peaceful hours walking the rows of stones with only the birds for…

BUILDING HISTORY: The origins of this building, formerly known as the First Christian Church in Urbana, date back to 1892 when the original First Christian Church was built and dedicated right across the street. In 1908 however, it became apparent…

BUILDING HISTORY Designed by Spencer and Temple and built by the well-known English Brothers 1915, Champaign-Urbana's Inman Hotel was situated in the heart of downtown Champaign and was located directly next to the Illinois Traction Railway Station.…