Sunday, December 23, 2012

30 East Main Street

The first building constructed on this parcel was a small wood frame commercial building that is depicted in the 1858 Urbana-West Urbana map by Alexander Bowman and the 1869 birds eye map.  

Alexander Bowan's 1858 Map of Urbana and West Urbana

1869 Birdseye map of Champaign, Illinois

This photo is believed to be that building, the "People's Store", along with the rest of the south side of Main Street (looking west/southwest).

This photo is believed to be the south side of Main Street looking west from
Walnut Street.  That would place 30 Main Street to the far left of the image
(People's Store).

Joseph McCorkle owns both lots on the southwest corner of Walnut and
Main Street which correlates to the name above the hardware sign in the
photo above.

While this photo's location isn't verified it seems to fit with the birds eye image and the hardware store (second building) displays the name Jos. McCorkle above the sign which correlates to the owner of the land on the plat map. 

This building remained until it was razed to make way for the new First National Bank in 1872.

First National Bank Building (1st Building)
Constructed 1872
Architect: Unknown
Builder: Unknown
Construction Method: Wood, brick, stone

The First National Bank was established in 1865 by local cattle baron and land owner Benjamin Franklin (B.F.) Harris.  This bank was first "national" bank following the passage of the National Banking Act.  The banks charter was secured January 30, 1865 and was signed by a personal friend of B.F. Harris', Abraham Lincoln.  The bank was originally located near 45 Main Street but quickly outgrew its home.  In 1872, Mr. Harris constructed his building dedicated to his bank.

Benjamin Franklin Harris, founder and president of the
First National Bank.
Courtesy of Melissa Chambers

A view of the original First National Bank Building located on the southwest
of Walnut and Main Streets.
Courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives

First National Bank Building (2nd Building)
Constructed: 1909-1910
Owner: B.F. Harris
Architect: Mundie and Jensen
Builder: Unknown
Construction Method: Steel, brick, stone

Constructed in 1909-10 the First National Bank Building represents one of the fist steel-constructed buildings in Champaign.  The Chicago firm Mundie and Jensen designed the second renaissance revival structure and was described as representing the strength of B.F. Harris' mighty financial empire.  


A view of the early excavation for the new First National Bank.
Courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives

Another view of the excavation showing 29 Main Street sitting on the
opposite corner along with a streetcar heading to a drop off location on
North Walnut Street.
Courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives

A rendering of the new First National Bank building
at 30 East Main Street.

Another view of the building circa 1920s
Courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Museum

Courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives


Interior view of the main lobby.  Most of the ornamentation was lost in
subsequent remodels but the marble table in the center of this
photo still exists and can be seen temporarily at Spritz Jewelers on Neil Street.
The table was a recent donation to the Champaign Co. Historical Museum.


This view of the bank circa late 50s/early 60s shows its placement on the corner
with its neighbors (Imperial Building on Walnut and 28 Main Street).
Courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives

A detail of the limestone facade facing Main Street.
Courtesy of Terry J. Blakeman





1 comment:

  1. Great blog--Keep it up. I'd be particularly interested in some posts on buildings that were in use during the 1920s since I wrote a novel (The Bootlegger's Nephew) set then in Champaign county. It's fiction, but I enjoy using real buildings and learning what they looked like and how they were used. Got any photos of the interior of the Inman Hotel during that time period?

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