City’s downtown put on National Register of Historic Places

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The National Park Service announced Urbana’s downtown Historic District is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The area is bordered by Illinois, Walnut, Water, Goose Alley and Cedar Streets.

Known for architectural, governmental and commercial history, the area was recommended by the Illinois HIstoric Sites Advisory Council to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The IDNR State Historic Preservation Office administers the National Register program in the state on behalf of the National Park Service.

Since the establishment of Champaign County in 1833, Urbana has had five county courthouses anchoring its downtown, the most recent of which was built in 1901. Two former post office buildings and the public library continue to have a presence in the downtown, as well.

A variety of commerce developed as an offshoot of Urbana serving as a county seat, with everything from opera houses and hotels, banks to bakeries, and millinery shops to saloons lining the streets of the downtown.

The historic district is also significant for architecture representing excellent examples of a variety of 19th and 20th century styles and types. Architecturally, the buildings follow a stylistic timeline coinciding with the mid- to late-19th century Italianate and Romanesque Revival styles, then to Classical Revival and Tudor Revival as second and third generation construction reflected a growing downtown economy.

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