135 W. Main Street

This commercial building was built in 1927, Urbana, IL by Joseph W. Royer.

BUILDING HISTORY
Royer completed this commercial building with Danely and Smith in 1926. Located on the southeast corner of Main and Race Streets in Urbana, this building was originally the Knowlton and Bennett drug store. Everett M. Knowlton moved to Urbana in 1877 and he started his business in 1883 after purchasing the E.H. Cushman and Company drug store. Everett originally owned the business with physician W.H. Knowlton, but after Knowlton returned to Massachusetts, he soon partnered with his future brother-in-law, George M. Bennett. Bennett had studied pharmacy at the National Institute of Pharmacy, Chicago. The store was renamed Knowlton and Bennett in 1877. After Everett died of kidney disease on April 4th, 1920, Bennett took over the business.

The building was originally planned to remodel an older building. It was later decided that the structure was going to be demolished and they would build anew. The plans to commence construction of the new building were delayed in 1916 due to World War I. After the war, the construction was once again delayed after the death of Everett Knowlton in 1925. Construction finally began in 1925. The building was completed in 1927.

Today the building is used as a women’s clothing store called the Wooden Hanger. The second floor is now offices and a law firm.

BUILDING DESIGN INTENTIONS
This building was built in Gothic Revival style of vitreous gray buff bricks and stone with terra cotta decorative elements and polychrome shield decorations. In addition to drugs and books, the store carried an extensive inventory of paints, wallpaper, stationary, glass, cosmetics and athletic equipment.

This commercial building was built in two stages. The southern part was built first, followed by the northern part. The business moved into the southern part while the northern wing was under construction. The structure was originally meant to consist of two stories, with three additional stories to be added in the future. Heating, lighting, gas, water, and air pipes were installed with the capability of three stories, but the additional floors were never added.

BUILDING TYPE + PROGRAM
This two story commercial structure was built to be used as a drugstore. Today the first floor of the building is used as a women’s clothing store called the Wooden Hanger. The second floor is now offices and a law firm.

FILM PHILOSOPHY/HISTORY
Urbana-born Joseph W. Royer not only attended the University of Illinois for architecture, but also graduated from Urbana High School, making him a dedicated “townie.” Royer initially co-founded a firm called Royer and Brown in 1905, but over the years his firm went through several changes in partners. Royer’s architectural work can be observed in almost 100 buildings throughout Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana, and a large amount of them can be found specifically in the Urbana-Champaign area.

COMPLETED PROJECTS
• Urbana High School, 1002 S. Race Street
• Champaign County Courthouse, 101 E. Main Street
• Urbana Free Library
• Lincoln Lodge Motel, 403 W. University
• Cohen Building, 136 W. Main Street

Images

Architectural detail

Architectural detail

Image courtesy army.arch@flickr.com. All rights reserved View File Details Page

Interior of 135 W. Main (The Wooden Hanger)

Interior of 135 W. Main (The Wooden Hanger)

Image courtesy Arch 101: Fall 2013 students View File Details Page

Race St. facade

Race St. facade

Image courtesy army.arch@flickr.com, all rights reserved. View File Details Page

Main St. facade

Main St. facade

Image courtesy army.arch@flickr.com, all rights reserved. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Adam Bengtson, Manying Wang, and Abby Valek, “135 W. Main Street,” ExploreCU, accessed May 27, 2017, http://explorecu.org/items/show/310.

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