Explaining Monument Square’s early roots


By Hayla Parker



Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles about the 150th anniversary of the “Man on the Monument” statue in Urbana.

In the fall of 1865, a few soldiers met at the request of T.D. Jones, the artist, and discussed the question of building a Soldiers’ Monument in Champaign County. Subsequent meetings were held, each one larger than the previous one, until a full county meeting was held on January 13, 1866.

S. G. Brecount was the chairman of this meeting, and A.C. Deuel was secretary. A complete organization was formed and the following officers were elected:

President, Joseph C. Brand

Vice President, F.M Adams

Secretary, Thomas McConnell

Corresponding Secretary, A.C. Deuel

Treasurer, J. B. Armstrong

Subsequently, Major McConnell was employed as solicitor and collector for the Association, and W. A Humes was elected Secretary.

At the meeting on January 18, 1872, the following resolution was adopted: that the monument be a county monument located at the county seat, and that a minimum of $10,000 be raised.

Subscriptions were made rapidly “for building a monument in the Public Square.”

Before the year had expired, the county had been thoroughly canvassed. However, this resolution was never carried out since the amount listed above was never raised.

In 1867, The Association contracted with a Columbus firm to build the granite work of the Monument at a cost of $2,500, and in 1869, the limestone foundation was laid four feet underneath the surface of the public square, and in the fall of 1870, the base and granite pedestal were erected.

The pedestal stood waiting for the monument for a year and a half, and the town square became known as Monument Square.

(Excerpted from the Urbana Citizen & Gazette, Dec. 14, 1871)

By Hayla Parker

Information from monument committee.

Information from monument committee.