URBANA, ILL., ASS'N
URBANA . . . THE CITY
OF FRIENDLY PEOPLE
L I E) R.AFLY
THE CITY OF FRIENDLY PEOPLE
TO THE PAST • • • The hardy folk whose
courage tamed the provi-
dent land . . .
TO THE PRESENT • • • You . . . your home . . .
your neighbor . . .
TO THE FUTURE • • • Your child— and the
fulfillment of his
dreams . . .
• • • THIS BOOKLET
Here are tales out of the past — part truth, part fiction
. . . part faulty memory blurred by the misty eyes of
Here are the facts about today — all truth, no fiction . . .
gathered to show you what your home town offers you
... in your pursuit of job . . . happiness . . . well-being.
Here are plans for tomorrow — all hopes, all part of
Urbana's "Pattern for Progress" . . . planned for the
children of Today ... to give them a "Future
THE ASSOCIATION OF
WELCOME . . .
^ Visitor ■ • ; ^L^ n\easu« ^Toppottu"'*'" eciawn a""*
bknd W.'"*V«'i]'/o you*- ,, 10 develop *^
for «hv* ^'ighboriS ^ ^.,,_Urbav>a.
Vou-U !md *em -^W
, «eTe glad you are
Mayor o! t^^ban^
From The Past .
Our Heritage . .
Urbana's heritage is strong in character . . . rich in humor. It is punc-
tuated with pathos . . . leavened with love of land and deter-
mined depths of courage. From the little and the mighty . . .
much has been received — to be passed on.
Many tales about Urbana's past have been told of people who
laughed . . . and lived . . . and loved — long before any of us were
here. From those tales, a few have been selected to show how
the colorful and kindly people who went before us . . . left an
imprint of themselves to make Urbana better. These stories
are merely fragments ripped from time. Not important in
themselves . . . but to be cherished for the insight they give
into the lives and times now gone.
A HOSPITABLE MAN...
June 20, 1833, found three commissioners in the area now known as
Urbana . . . sent here by the State Legislature to set up a city
to be called Urbana. This city was to be the county seat of a
new county — Champaign. The new county, by act of the Legis-
lature on February 20, 1833, was to be formed from the west
end of Vermilion Conuty.
In those days, the people lived in settlements in the native timber along
the streams. The largest settlement was in the Big Grove in
the central part of the county. Settlements were also to be
found on the Sangamon to the west, on the Kaskaskia and
the Embarrass to the south, on the Salt Fork to the east. It
was evident from the locations of the settlements that the
county seat should be located near the Big Grove in the center
of the county. A contest had started, therefore, between the
settlers on the north of the Big Grove and the settlers on the
south of the Big Grove ... a contest for the location of the
After careful inspection, the commissioners selected the farm of Phillip
Stanford as the site for Urbana. The Stanford farm was located
in Section 27 of Somers Township, about half a mile east of the
Birely farm which adjoins Route 45.
A group of local citizens and the three commissioners went out to drive
the stake which would mark the founding of Urbana. One per-
suasive gentleman went along. He was a hospitable man — and
f/7, 7J^^ rv H!3l
When the stake was about to be driven into the
land ... he interrupted the proceed-
ings . . . suggested that the ceremony be
postponed until the next day . . . because
dusk was rapidly approaching. He even
invited the commissioners to his home
. . . for hospitality . . . and rest. The three
commissioners accepted. They went to
his home — then a cabin built on a site
directly behind the present Courier
Strangely enough . . . (details are not quite
complete) . . . early the next morning —
in the dusk before dawn — the commis-
sioners and their host went out to drive
the Urbana stake. But . . . they drove it
on the spot where the courthouse now
stands — several miles west and south of
the previously determined site. Several
miles closer to the hospitable gentleman's
Urbana had been founded.
The hospitable man? The eminent Isaac Busey.
A BEWILDERED BOY...
A child's trusting smile ended a life-time search
for Dr. James K. Morrison — an early day
As a boy of seven . . . clad only in trousers and
shirt . . . barefoot . . . wearing a little
straw hat ... he wandered away from
home and onto a lake boat at Cleveland.
When the crew discovered him, it was too late
to put him ashore . . . until the boat
docked at Chicago. In Chicago . . . the
boat's captain saw to it that the lad was
taken over by a charitable family. Kind
as these people must have been ... all
their efforts to locate his parents were to
Eventually, the bewildered boy . . . who was to
become a formidable medical force in
Urbana's early battle against malaria
. . . was placed in a home in Paxton. Later
when he became a doctor ... he located
Urbana City Ha
As a boy ... he had been unable to locate his family . . . although
his foster parents had tried. As a man ... he longed to know about
his childhood . . . parents . . . his possible brothers and sisters. He
searched for many years ... in vain.
As an old man of 80 ... he was walking on a street in south Chicago.
When . . . within a period of one-half hour . . . the three most im-
portant events in his life-long search took place:
A child ran up to him . . . took his hand . . . called him "Grandpa
Morrison" . . . and asked him to go home with her.
He let the child take him to her home. There he met the child's
real grandfather — his oivn identic twin brother.
Dr. Morrison also met, then, his younger sister. During his life-
time search from his home in Urbana, she lived for 10 years in
SAINTS IN THE SADDLE...
Manly . . . rugged . . . sometimes "different" . . . always men of the Gospel
the early circuit riders rode saintly in the saddle. To spread The
Word among the hardy folk who challenged the new land ... to
put more backbone into the purpose of frontier life . . . circuit
riders came galloping with the Gospel into central Illinois.
One rather eccentric pioneer preacher . . . Reverend Samuel Mapes . . .
rode not a horse but a steer. He rode barefoot and carried a gun
as he moved from settlement to settlement. Colorful of mein . . .
pensive by nature . . . Reverend ]Mapes found more time for re-
flection as he rode his slow steer, with a bell hung from its neck
... to punctuate his thoughts.
Another preacher . . . Reverend William I. Peters of the Salt Fork . . .
preached around the county He would buy "spirits" by the barrel
on the Wabash at '25 cents a gallon . . . and retail it so as to make
30 cents on a gallon. Pioneer folk found no objection to this prac-
tice. Instead . . . they considered it a religious duty to buy from
"Uncle Billy." For, in this way, they made it possible for him to
spread the Gospel.
Each . . . the Reverend Mapes and the Reverend Peters . . . wore "stars
in his crown."
YOUR CITY GOVERNMENT
Urbana has the aldermanic form of government. The mayor is elected on a
party ticket for a four-year term. Fourteen aldermen are elected ... 2
from each of the 7 wards . . . for a term of 4 years.
OUR OFFICIAL FAMILY
Stanley B. Weaver, Mayor
Bess M. Holmes City Clerk
Chancy A. Finfrock City Treasurer
Rex L. Davis Police Magistrate
Richard A. Parks Everett O'Neill Don Harlow
Wallace E. Weber Clarence L. Rogers Nugent Wedding
George G. Bennett D. Earl Barnes John W. Briscoe
Joseph E. Connelly John V. Clements Edward W. Harvey
C. Wesley May field Harry Hall
John H. Barth City Attorney
Bess M. Holmes City Collector
M. H. Kinch Commissioner
of Public Work
Victor C. Wimmer Acting Fire Marshal
Herbert R. Fiscus Acting Chief of Police
Henry F. Wittig Assistant Commissioner
Public Works, Building and Plumbing Inspector
J. Olan Starr City Electrician
Inspector and Working Foreman
Harold Poole Custodian of City Building
Arthur L. Glass Custodian of Community Building
Arthur J. Boley Custodian of City
Dump and Grounds
Nelson E. Light Assistant City Engineer
Civil Service Commission: J. Robert Koehn
A. O. Dawson
Electrical Commission: James W. Potter
Victor C. Wimmer
H. H. Vaughn
Parking Commission: W. T. Henderson
John H. Finfrock
Loy C. Arnold
George G. Bennett
C. Wesley May field
Board of Local Improvements: Stanley B. Weaver
Richard A. Parks
M. H. Kinch
Clarence L. Rogers
Joseph T. Connelly
Zoning Board of Appeals: W. H. Ewing
George G. Bennett
John H. Finfrock
Frank P. Cogdal
President — Robert B. Brown
Vice President — Dr. Kenneth M. Waxier
Secretary — Mrs. L. L. Corrie
Mrs. Wallace Stearns
Mrs. Parker Wheeler
P. L. Windsor
Harry E. Bigler
Enos L. Phillips
John V. Clements
Trustees of Police Pension Fund:
Mark D. Brown
Roland E. Winkelmann
Free Library . . .
Urbana's cultural striving reaches back to her
earliest days. In the August 24, 1854
issue of the Urbana Union — a newspaper
published from 1853 to 1854 — is an
editorial by the editor, Mr. J. O. Cun-
ningham. It seems that Mr. Cunningham
didn't care for the way a literary society
treated the part of the city hall which
they used for a library. What irked Mr.
Cunningham most was ". . . the broken
The records of that literary society seem to be
lost. However, on Thursday evening, Jan-
uary 16, 1873, the Urbana Library As-
sociation was formed. The minutes of the
first meeting include this statement:
"Pursuant to a call of the committee the
subscribers to the stock of the Urbana
Library Association met in Blackshaw's
hall at 7I/2 (sic!) o'clock. The meeting
organized by electing C. D. Webster
chairman and J. W. Porter secretary."
The Association rented space in Mr. Frank
Tiernan's building at a rate of $150 per
year. Thus, the first formally-sponsored
library appeared in Urbana.
Now Urbana has a library which was made
possible through the generosity of several
prominent citizens. Mrs. Mary E. Busey
donated $35,000 in memory of her hus-
band, General Samuel T. Busey, to con-
struct the present building at Race and
Elm Streets. Fred Eubeling, an original
member of the Urbana Library Associa-
tion and the owner of a local shoe store,
willed $10,000 to the library to be in-
vested for the purchase of books and
Another prominent name in the history of Urb-
ana Free Library is Miss Minnie Jaques.
The daughter of Frank Jaques, an origin-
al member of the Urbana Library board,
she served as a member and as treasurer
of the Urbana Free Library board for 50
Urbana Free Library
Many have contributed money to the library. Others have given family-owned
items of historical interest ... so that the relics of Urbana's past
may be preserved for the yet unborn.
The library offers many rare books . . . original papers important in the history
of Urbana ... a selection of books suited to all ages and all interests.
It is open to the public Monday through Saturday.
URBANA POLICE DEPARTMENT
In the original code for the city of Urbana ... it was illegal to "display or lead
a monster through the streets." According to another old law, a car
had to be preceded through the streets by a man ... to warn the
pedestrians. What the original lawmakers meant by "monster" seems
to have faded into time. And . . . the early lawmakers never knew the
"lingo" which includes such words as jaywalker, traffic light, and yield
But . . . nowadays . . . the efficiency of Urbana's Police Department depends
upon the 22 men who operate 3 radio-contact police cars. The Uni-
versity of Illinois police, also with three 2-way radio cars, operate on
the same radio frequency as Urbana. The spirit of cooperation between
these two units of law enforcement indicates the esteem in which the
various parts of this community hold one another.
URBANA FIRE DEPARTMENT
One night in the history of Urbana ... on the same night the Great Fire des-
troyed Chicago — October 9, 1871 — courage and cooperation couldn't
conquer disaster. For ... on that fateful night the business district of
Urbana was ravaged by fire. Because . . . the little city had no adequate
Bucket brigades from the Boneyard . . . the efforts of every able-bodied man
and boy . . . were not enough. A large part of the Urbana business
district was destroyed.
From those ashes arose a new and better Urbana. Now Urbana has adequate fire
protection in her four trucks: 2 pumpers, 1 aerial-ladder, 1 emergency
truck with resuscitator and with emergency lighting to help combat
fire. The trucks carry two-way radios ... for emergency communication.
Tied in with the fire departments of the University of Illinois and the city of
Champaign . . . Urbana's Fire Department offers safety . . . protection
of property , , , and assurance to Urbana's citizens.
Built of rough-hewn logs . . . equipped with a
huge fire-place and greased-paper win-
dows . . . the first school in the county —
1832 — was two miles east of Urbana . . .
out near the old Brumley place.
Asahel Bruer . . . who taught this school for
18 months . . . introduced the custom of
Christmas gifts for the students. On
Christmas Day in 1832. Mr. Bruer went
to school . . . only to find the students
inside and himself locked out. Bruer,
however, was a man of imagination. He
climbed to the roof . . . tore off some
clapboards . . . clapped them over the
chimney . . . and smoked out his student-
After wrestling in the snow with the older stu-
dents . . . Mr. Bruer gave his students
a bushel of apples. And . . . school was
held as usual.
From that rough-hewn log cabin, Urbana's
school system — now District 116 — has
grown to 9 elementary buildings, a junior
high school, and a high school. S^early
5.000 students are now served by a staff
of 200 certified and 98 non-academic per-