Looking Back: The Urbana Broom Company


By Ward Lutz



The Urbana Broom Company was located at the intersection of West Court Street and what is now Washington Street.


Photo courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Society

This is a circa 1910 photo of the Urbana Broom Company factory building located at the intersection of Mill Street (later called North Dewey Avenue and now Washington Street) and West Court Street near the Big Four railroad depot (#A2119-7 in the Champaign County Historical Society collection). The company was established in 1898 in a three-story 40×155-foot brick building that was the former location of the Washington Hotel. A railroad spur was established from the Big Four Railroad and water main was brought into the factory from West Court Street.

Sometime prior to 1911 the factory was remodeled and enlarged and equipped with the latest machinery. The facility then had a capacity of 175 dozen brooms per day. The manufacturer established trade in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan. Mr. W.R. Wilson, mayor of Urbana in 1911, was manager of the Urbana Broom Co. and L.C. Shyrigh, father of Billy Clifford, was in charge of the manufacturing department. In 1926 the facility was purchased by the Big Four Railroad and razed to accommodate the elevation of its track bed through Urbana.

Urbana and Champaign County Illustrated supplement to The Urbana Daily Citizen, October 10, 1911.

The Urbana Broom Company was located at the intersection of West Court Street and what is now Washington Street.
http://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2017/12/web1_Web-2.jpgThe Urbana Broom Company was located at the intersection of West Court Street and what is now Washington Street. Photo courtesy of the Champaign County Historical Society

By Ward Lutz

Ward Lutz is a member of the Champaign County Historical Society.

Ward Lutz is a member of the Champaign County Historical Society.

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