The 1920 view of the North Main Street Pennsylvania and Erie railroad crossing, Urbana, shows multiple sets of tracks, where Boyce Street branches northeast from Main. The first block of Boyce was once called “Columbus Avenue” before turning into Boyce. This may have been the site of a tragic accident back in 1897 where A. C. Duel, beloved long time school superintendent, lost his life getting caught and run over by a passing train. Neither the train engineer or his fireman were aware of the tragic event until they arrived at their next stop.

Notice the lack of any crossing guard units across the switching tracks and the large barn like building on the left side of the tracks where some will remember the Barnhart Oil, Gasoline Station, and Firestone Tires along with Crabill’s Hamburger Shop was built shortly after the old photo, but now gone.

The 2016 “Now” photo shows the Simon Kenton bike path and the Shriners’ Aluminum can collection depository trailer parked along Laurel Oak Street.

The houses along Laurel Oak are hidden from view in the 1920 photo by the large building that has Ropp and Huston Grinding Company painted on one side faintly visible.

This set of photos numbered 0311 was assembled by Ward Lutz for the Then and Now series belonging to Champaign County Historical Society, located at 809 East Lawn Avenue, Urbana, open to the public free of charge Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for groups by appointment.

North Main Street crossing, 1920 Main Street crossing, 1920

North Main Street crossing, 2016 Main Street crossing, 2016

By Sheryl Virts

Champaign County Historical Society

Submitted by the Champaign County Historical Society.