Looking Back: Fair grandstand


Construction of the current Champaign County Fair grandstand began on Aug. 18, 1948.

In the spring of 1949, construction was suspended due to financial difficulties. This issue was resolved, and the grandstand was completed in time for the 1949 fair (1949 grandstand photo).

The fair was first held at its current location in 1889. In July of 1911, the old grandstand was used during a Chautauqua held on the fairgrounds (1911 grandstand photo). The 1911 grandstand is likely the first grandstand at the new location. This is based on a comparison of the 1911 grandstand photo to a photo taken in 1891 of the fair racetrack and judges’ stand (1891 judges’ stand photo). Note that the judges’ stands in both photos are the same thus it is likely that the 1911 grandstand was also present in 1891.


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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