Robeson Building

Built in the Classical Revival style, the Robeson building was constructed in 1915.

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 Street. However, that building quickly grew inadequate for the department store and this new structure was built. The building was designed by George Ramey who also designed the current City Building. English Brothers of Champaign completed the building in 1915.

The new department store was touted when complete as the largest mercantile building in this part of the state. Its five floors housed men’s and women’s clothing, home furnishings, jewelry and perfumes. The store would remain a fixture in Downtown until 1990 when it finally closed its doors.

Other highlights of this building included is four story lighted marquee that adorned church street for over 40 years. Also a roof top garden was the social place to be throughout the 1940’s.

Today the building has been divided into office space for some of Champaign’s largest companies, including the national headquarters for Pavlov Media.

Images

Robeson's Department Store Building, Champaign

Robeson's Department Store Building, Champaign

View: Facing southeast at the intersection of Church St. and Randolph St. | Source: Champaign County Historical Archives at The Urbana Free Library, Urbana, Illinois | Creator: Michael Chobanian View File Details Page

125 W. Church St.

125 W. Church St.

View: Facing southeast at the intersection of Church St. and Randolph St. | Source: Sam Logan Photography | Creator: Sam Logan Photography View File Details Page

Church Street, February 5th 1936

Church Street, February 5th 1936

Source: The Sholem Family View File Details Page

Church Street

Church Street

Source: Champaign County Archives View File Details Page

Two men pose in front of the Robeson Building, January 1971

Two men pose in front of the Robeson Building, January 1971

Source: Robeson Family View File Details Page

Robeson Store Skyway

Robeson Store Skyway

Source: Robeson Family View File Details Page

The construction of Robeson Department Store, 1917

The construction of Robeson Department Store, 1917

Source: Robeson Family View File Details Page

Street Address:

125 West Church Street [map]

Cite this Page:

T.J. Blakeman, “Robeson Building,” ExploreCU, accessed June 27, 2017, http://explorecu.org/items/show/370.

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