The “Then” photo, circa 1930 (#0408), shows the Urbana Furniture Company complex located at the corner of South Oakland and Beach streets. It formerly was the Barlow & Kent Company, furniture manufacturer. Barlow & Kent Co. was established at Plain City in 1881 and moved to Urbana in 1889. The complex consisted of two factory buildings, an office building and an oil house, with a total area in excess of 30,000 square feet.
Barlow & Kent Co. produced wardrobes, desks, tables and cupboards. E.W. Barlow, owner, was from Kent, Arkansas. In 1910 the company had a lumber company in Kent and 1,200 acres of hardwood timberland in the area. Barlow & Kent Co. ran into financial difficulty in 1915 and was re-organized under new management as the Urbana Furniture Company, which manufactured Happi-Tymes nursery furniture.
Source: Champaign Democrat Centennial Edition June 15, 1905, page 21.
The 2019 “Now” photo shows one of the buildings in the former Barlow & Kent Co. complex, which was later used by the Urbana Furniture Company. The Barlow & Kent name was not removed when Urbana Furniture Co. started using the building.
Submitted by the Champaign County Historical Society.