Prominently sitting at the northern entrance to Downtown Champaign, the Historic Trolley Barn was a pivotal building in the growth of Champaign.
The Trolley Barn was Landmarked August 4, 1998 under Criterion (a) of Section 37-491 of the Ordinance:
(a) The property or structure has significant value as part of the historical, cultural, artistic, social, ethnic, or other heritage of the nation, state or community because the building was originally used as car barns for the inter-urban street railway system (known as the Illinois Traction System). The Illinois Traction System existed from the late 1890s to the 1940s and linked Champaign-Urbana with Danville, Decatur, Bloomington, Peoria, Springfield and St. Louis. The street railway system played an important role in the physical development of Champaign, permitting expansion of the City by opening up new areas for residential development and providing transportation for both people and goods throughout Central Illinois. The inter-urban system allowed Champaign businesses to draw from a regional market, thus contributing towards Champaign’s economic development.
Even though local streetcar service ended in 1936, and the Inter-Urban passenger system stopped in 1956, the buildings that housed the systems remain to remind us about our heritage, albeit used for different purposes since then.
This is a link to the Report to the Historic Preservation Commission. HPC 98-004
The trolley/streetcar system, the traction system, the streetlight system and the first local electric power company were all started by Wm. B. McKinley prior to his time in the Congress and Senate.
William B. McKinley is not related to US President William McKinley.