This is what 1 East Main Street of Champaign looked like in 1865: men in top hats, a corner drugstore, and horse-and-buggies. That building on the corner was one of the first brick structures in the city of Champaign.
Here’s it looks like 158 years later in 2023:
I stumbled upon the first photo on the 1 East Main Street article on ChampaignHistory.com. That website is an incredible resource written by T.J. Blakeman full of historical photos and stories of Champaign, and in my opinion, every single blog post is worth a read.
I won’t share all of the cool photos, but check out this wild pavilion built smack dab in the middle of Neil Street. This is where Park Street meets Neil, and that Walgreen’s on the left is where Hamilton Walker’s is now.
Just look at those benches. No cars were driving down this part of Neil Street while this structure was there from 1976 to 1986.
If you want more local nostalgia, here is the link to the Champaign History website. My favorite read on the site was the one about C-U’s malls (Country Fair, Lincoln Square, and Marketplace), complete with photos of the ads from the openings.