Editor’s note: The Champaign County Historical Society is sharing with readers a collection of “Then and Now” photos of the area.
Artifact A348 is a photo postcard dated 1909 showing a “Bird’s Eye View of Yards from Viaduct,” the railroad yards looking southwest from Dugan Street Bridge, Urbana. That bridge is now known as the Gwynne Street Bridge. (According to maps, Washington Avenue stops at North Main and a 2005 map shows Dugan Street taking off west of North Main to Louden Street where Gwynne Street began. In 2016 street signs indicate Gwynne beginning where Washington Avenue ends at North Main, and Dugan Street is no longer named.)
Note the red Erie railroad freight depot in both the Then and Now photos, on the right side of each photo. Only one set of railroad tracks remains of the many that existed in 1909. In 2016 the Simon Kenton Pathway Bike Trail now occupies some of the old railroad right of way. Both Then and Now water towers are visible in the background on the right of each photo.
Many of the houses in the background on the left side of both photos appear to have survived along Ward, Church and Court. Russell Street is visible in the “Now” photo, but not in the 1909 postcard.
The “Now” photo was taken by Ward Lutz, active member of the Champaign County Historical Society and Museum at 809 East Lawn Avenue, Urbana, Ohio. The Society is always interested in old photos of sites in Champaign County and has an extensive collection of photos on file at the museum and catalogued on line at www.champaigncountyhistoricalmuseum.org.
Admittance to the museum is free to the public on Monday and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment. Currently operated with all volunteers, the museum is always looking for volunteers to help with data entry on the computer and help with new projects and the annual Oktoberfest family event that helps them with operating funds along with membership fees, and donations.
Submitted by the Champaign County Historical Society.