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Centennial Park has changed quite a bit over the years

A large expanse of land with newly planted trees and a couple of brick buildings in the distance.
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Today the City of Champaign shared the above photo of Centennial Park in 1961, two years after its opening in 1959. It’s an interesting exercise to stare at it and try to mentally add the components that would now fill that large expanse.

I looked up a couple of other dates to try to deduce what I’m seeing in the distance here. This was pre-Centennial High School, which opened in 1966. Jefferson Middle School opened in 1960, so that must be the longer building. Sholem was dedicated in 1961, so I think that is what the small building and fencing and lights might be? Of course I am open to correction if I’m wrong here!

Seth detailed the current features of Centennial Park in his Year of the Park series from a couple of years ago. As noted in the city’s post, it’s the largest park in the Champaign Park District, and it’s sort of amazing to think of all that it encompasses. It’s come a long way since 1959, as has the entire west side of Champaign.

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