March 2019
Save the Date, Saturday, April 6, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
We will be celebrating the legacy of Chanute Air Force Base and Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum. Please join us for an exciting day filled with fun and food as we honor the millions of men and women who trained and worked at the base in Rantoul. We will be exhibiting records from the old base, as well as providing a space for former Chanuters to share stories about their experiences. For the little Chanuters, we are providing coloring pages inspired by base records, and our first ever paper airplane creation station! 
Joseph F. Braun, 1920s
Bertha Braun, 1920s
Braun boys in Europe, 1944
Joseph F. Braun and Bertha Hill moved to Rantoul, IL in the early 1920s. Joseph started his career in 1917 in the Eighth Balloon Company and was discharged in 1919. He re-enlisted two years later and moved to Chanute Field, where he remained stationed with Bertha until 1938. During their tenure at the base, Joseph and Bertha built an impressive family. From 1923 to 1940, they had seven boys, five of which were born at Chanute.

James E. Braun (1923), Frank J. Braun (1925), Charles A.J. Braun (1926), Harry R. Braun (1928), and Joseph F. Braun Jr. (1932) were all birthed at the Chanute Station Hospital. Their other two sons, Donald L. Braun (1934) and Richard Braun (1940) were also born on military bases. All seven sons enlisted in the Air Force, with a combined service record of 144 years, 140 of which were at Chanute.

During World War II, Joseph was joined by his three sons James, Frank, and Charles and they all survived their tours. In March of 1951, Charles was interviewed about his family’s dedication to the military. According to Charles, “My dad taught all his sons to respect the American Flag and the traditions of the Service while we were very young. We have been a military family from birth and have never considered a career other than the Air Force.”
The Archives is open every Wednesday night until 9:00 pm. On the second Wednesday of each month, a Champaign County Genealogy Society member is available in the Archives from 7:00-8:30 pm to provide additional assistance to any researcher.
The Archives houses thousands of employment cards from the Illinois Central Railroad Company. The cards contain information such as employee names, dates of service, birth places, and employment information. 
Books, Journals, & Special Collections
A traveler entering Urbana in the 1920s might well have been entering a city justifiably named "Royerville." By that time, much of the architectural character of downtown Urbana and much of the residential ring around the city had been determined by Urbana-born architect Joseph William Royer. 
Joseph William Royer graduated from Urbana High School, and attended the University of Illinois between 1890 and 1895, where he majored in architecture. The firm of Royer and Brown was formed about 1905, and over the years was known as Royer and Smith, Royer, Danely, and Smith, and Royer and Davis. Royer was active for about 50 years, between 1897 and the early 1950s. During this period, he designed buildings not only in Champaign and Urbana, but throughout Illinois and into Iowa and Indiana. To date, there are approximately 100 projects that can be attributed to Royer and his various firms.
Adams' book documents Joseph Royer's prolific career and provides a few insights into the architect's life. The book contains over 150 photographs relating to Royer and his work.  Joseph William Royer: Urbana's Architec t is available for browsing in the Archives and is also on sale for $20.00. 
The Izaak Walton League of America (IWL) was founded in 1922 as an environmental conservation group focused on the preservation of fish and game. The Champaign County chapter was founded in 1924. Some notable accomplishments of the group include: leading a campaign that resulted in the creation of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District in 1948, wildlife habitat restoration, and the construction of their cabin in Lake-of-the-Woods Park, where meetings were regularly held.
From the Blog
Like YA? Meet Anna May Lindley. She was born circa 1870 on a farm six miles south of Urbana and her diary is in the Archives. Will 14 year old Anna accept Millard’s proposal to elope or will she go to college?
Try our trivia quiz
Q. When was the first day of weather observation for the Urbana weather station?
Events at the Archives & Beyond
  • Trees & Their Value to All, the cultural impact of trees on Native Americans and early European Americans, Sunday, March 10, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm | Museum of the Grand Prairie

  • Research Night with Champaign County Genealogical Society, Wednesday, March 13, 7:00 pm -8:30 pm | The Jean Evans Archives Room (Second Floor), The Urbana Free Library

We Want To Hear From You!
Put our Archivists to the test. Ask us your questions about local history and genealogy.
Champaign County Historical Archives | 217-367-4025 | E-mail | Website