Looking Back: Fourth of July, 1865


The Fourth of July 1865 was for Urbana and Champaign County an opportunity to celebrate the end of the Civil War.

The first photo is of the Urbana Public Square during that celebration. Note people observing the festivities from windows of Public Square buildings including the building at 1 Monument Square which was featured in a recent Then-Now. The following is a description from the July 12, 1865, Urbana Union newspaper of the parade and other activities: “The procession was formed at 10 o’clock, and consisted of the veterans, who bore aloft the battle stained and tattered flags of the 20th and 66th regiments, followed by the Young-American Fire Company in full uniform with Shyrigh’s band; next by carriages containing the veteran President of the day (Capt. J.C. Brand), and veteran orator (Ich. Corwin, Esq. Jr.: Hon. L. H. Long, citizens’ President of the day, Col. E. F. Noyes, Orator, Col. Guthrie, Hon. F. M. Wright and W. A. Humes, Esq.; with citizens’ carriages in the rear.”

“In the evening a splendid display of fireworks, under the supervision of W. S. Holding, was had near the Broad Gauge Transfer Depot.” The Broad Gauge Railroad, which became the Erie Railroad, shared a passenger depot with the railroad that carried President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train which stopped here a few months earlier.


The Champaign County Historical Museum is a not-for-profit organization that depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum located at 809 E. Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Info from Champaign County Historical Society (CCHS).

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