Monday, February 11, 2013

102 North Neil Street - Champaign City Building

Original Champaign City Building
Constructed:  1889
Architect: Sealy Brown
Razed: 1935-36 (Razed)


Photo Courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives

Before the construction of Champaign's first city hall, Council meetings were held wherever possible.  The council would rotate from place to place but eventually the new building consolidated all city services under one roof (Administration, Police, Fire, and Library).  The building was constructed on land owned by David Bailey who in turn sold the land for $1.00 for the purpose of constructing a city building for an amount, not less than $5,000.

The original City Building sat on the site of the current building at 102 N. Neil Street.
The building makes use of the left over land from split of University Avenue and Chester
Street.
Photo Courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives

The fire department was located in the eastern most portion of the building.
Seen here, two fire apparatus emerging from the stables.
Photo Courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives

Another view of the original City Building on the northeast corner of University
Avenue and Neil Street.
Photo Courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives

Upgrades were made to the Fire and Police portions of the building as
motorized apparatus and patrol cars were purchased.
Photo Courtesy of the City of Champaign Fire Department

By the 1930s the building had began to fall into a state of disrepair.
The News-Gazette wrote "Too long have we put up with a building that is a
disgrace to the community"
Photo Courtesy of the City of Champaign
By 1935, the building was being razed to make way for a new art deco building
which was approved by voters by a four to one margin.
Photo Courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives

On February 20, 1936, the cornerstone to the original building was removed.
The stone is currently on display inside the Neil Street entrance of the
current city building.  A time capsule was located behind the cornerstone
and the contents have recently been stabilized and preserved.
Photo Courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives

Champaign City Building
Constructed:  1935-1937
Architect: George Ramey

The new City Building was designed by local architect George Ramey and
designed with strong art deco influence.  The Building was building cost
$210,000 ($3.1 million adjusted to 2012 dollars) and was completed October 1937.
Photo Courtesy of the City of Champaign
The team of designers and builders pose for one final photo before the opening
of the new City Building.  (L-R) First Row: Commissioner James Smith, PWA
Engineer Chester Oline, Mayor James D. Flynn, Commissioner Walter Swearingen,
Supervising Architect George Ramey, and Commissioner T.E. Bassett. Back Row:
Police Chief Roy Argo, General Contractor W.E.C. Kuhne, Commissioner Virgil
Burgess, and Electrical Contractor George A. Zirhut.
Photo Courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Archives 

The plaque located inside the Neil Street entrance of the
City Building.
Photo Courtesy of the City of Champaign

The completed City Building showing the tower for administration and the
eastern wing for the fire department.
Photo Courtesy of the City of Champaign

The original space utilization of the newly completed City Building.
Photo Courtesy of the City of Champaign

A view of the University Avenue exits for the fire bays.  Trucks would enter on
Chester Street and pull through to exit on University Avenue.
Photo Courtesy of the City of Champaign Fire Department

When the new Fire Station 1 was constructed on Randolph Street, the
Champaign Police Department took control of the east wing.  The bay doors
were closed in with the exception of one bay for unloading prisoners.
Note, the engraved keystone above the eastern most entrance was
re-engraved to enclose the "CFD" to "CPD".
Photo Courtesy of the City of Champaign

By the mid-1980s, the City was quickly running out of space.  A new police
station was constructed at 1st Street and University Avenue leaving
the eastern wing ready for a major overhaul.  A third floor was added to
accommodate city administration offices and the Council chambers
were moved from the second floor to the ground floor.
Photo Courtesy of the City of Champaign


A view of the steel superstructure was was added to the
eastern wing to support the new third floor.
Photo Courtesy of the City of Champaign

The City Building renovation was designed by local architect Neil Strack.
Photo Courtesy of the City of Champaign

The newly renovated City Building was officially dedicated
on September 11, 1988.
Photo Courtesy of the City of Champaign

The City Building as seen during the City's 150th Celebration.
Photo Courtesy of Brandon Haist

The City Building remains one of Champaign's most
recognizable and iconic structures.
Photo Courtesy of T.J. Blakeman

3 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I am just loving this blog, discovered it after the mayor posted about it on fb, thank you for sharing all your knowledge about Champaign history!

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  3. I LOVE that aerial photo of the old City Building. I could study it for hours. Aerial photos just fascinate me.
    It looks like the photo of the current City Building addition was taken from The Inman.

    ReplyDelete