Arch101: Champaign Architecture

Architecture plays a central role in society, reflecting the culture of the times and providing the infrastructure in which citizens live. Buildings encompass functional, environmental, and aesthetic elements, and are often considered works of art in their own right.

Champaign, Illinois was founded in 1855, and adopted a city charter five years later in 1860. The architecture of the city has evolved over the years since it's inception, as a number of devastating fires erased many of its oldest buildings.

Today, Champaign's Historic Preservation Commission identifies historically significant structures and acts to protect a designated landmark's visual appearance. The Georgian apartment buildings and the Francis and Abbie Solon House are examples of local landmarks that one can learn more about in this tour.

In the fall of 2013, undergraduate students in an Architecture 101 survey course at the University of Illinois worked in groups to develop information about the locations within this tour.

Burnham Antheneum

ARCHITECT: Julius A. Schweinfurth LOCATION: Champaign, IL COMPLETION:1896 BUILDING TYPE: Library BUILDING HISTORY Burnham Athenaeum was originally built to be the public library for Champaign, but it has been changed since 1896. The Champaign…

Cattle Bank & Champaign County Historical Museum

Architect: Unknown Location: Champaign, Illinois Original Completion: 1858 Restoration Completion: 1983 Building Type: Financial, Commercial BUILDING HISTORY The Cattle Bank building is the oldest commercial building in Champaign-Urbana. In…

Champaign Public Library

BUILDING HISTORY The first Champaign Public Library was opened in 1876 and there have been six facilities up until the current location. The need for a new library came from budget cutbacks during construction of the most recent library in 1978.…

Christie Clinic Building

BUILDING HISTORY Presently known as the Christie Clinic Building, this building was previously recognized as the Twin City and Loan Building and the Family Welfare Society of C-U in 1929. During this time, retail stores, offices, and businesses,…

Dr. Howard Elementary School

BUILDING HISTORY Starting as a four classroom school in 1910, Dr. Howard Elementary was built in response to increased district enrollment. In 1910, the school was only a four room, two story school with a basement and was completed at a price of…

Francis and Abbie Solon House

BUILDING HISTORY The Francis and Abbie Solon house boasts much historical significance. Over 140 years old, this home was built in the economic boom following the civil war. The home was built by wealthy developer and farmer, William Barrett, with…

The Georgian

The Georgian was built in a time in when the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was enduring a substantial enrollment increase. The purpose of The Georgian was to create a place where students could live close to campus, but not under campus…

Old Inman Hotel

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…

Traction Building

BUILDING HISTORY The Illinois Traction Station, also known as the Illinois Traction Building, was originally the headquarters of the rail system. The construction was proposed in November 1911 by the Illinois Traction System; however it did not…