Founding the City of Champaign

Champaign was founded in 1855, when the Illinois Central Railroad laid its rail track two miles west of downtown Urbana. Originally called “West Urbana,” it was renamed Champaign when it acquired a city charter in 1860. Both the city and county name were derived from Champaign County, Ohio.

History of Champaign City Buildings

After a little longer than a decade of meeting in private or semi-private locations, the Council decided upon a more formal setting for its deliberations; sometime between the spring and fall of 1869, the Council leased “Council Rooms” from RM. Eppstein. Rent was $16.67 per month.

Champaign’s Historic Preservation Page

If you’re interested in Champaign’s history, perhaps you would enjoy following this link to the activities of Champaign’s Historic Preservation Commission.

Illinois Pioneers Videos

WILL-TV, in conjunction with Illinois Public Media, made a series of videos about local history to help Champaign celebrate its 150th anniversary. They’ve been airing on Champaign Government Television but there’s no reason for you to have to wait for our schedule, just click on a photo link below to view the video of your choice.

Railroad History Video

Department Stores Video

Champaign Theaters Video

Media History Video

Champaign Schools Video

Streetcars and the Inter-Urban Video

Vice and Bootlegging Video