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  • Writer's pictureTJ Blakeman

29 East Main Street

Updated: Apr 4, 2018

You may have passed by 29 Main Street and never gave it a second glance. Aside from the amazing drum shop, Skins N' Tin's, which occupies the ground floor, there is nothing overly remarkable about this small two story structure that sits on the northeast corner of Walnut and Main Streets.  However, this small building stands as one of the oldest buildings in Downtown and dates back to the origin of the City of Champaign itself.  Today it sits nearly the same as it did when its first brick was laid in the early 1860s. While Downtown has drastically changed around it, 29 Main Street continues to anchor this important block of Main Street.  Its only change over time have been the removal of its front cornice.    

The original plat for West Urbana (above) shows the site of 29 Main Street being platted as part of the railroad property that included the round house.

The 1858 Alexander Bowman map shows that a railroad siding swung through the site (Northeast corner of Walnut and Main Street). Below is the first image we have of 29 Main Street. This shot shows the entire northern side of Main Street from Walnut Street (foreground) to the Doane House (eastern end at IC Railroad tracks).

For reference, this version overlays some of today's landmarks such as Jos. Kuhn & Co.

By 1869, the building shows up on the birdseye image (below).

By 1884, the majority of the block had been rebuilt into the brick and stone Trevett and Green Block. However, 29 Main Street remained.

29 Main Street sits to the left side of the image below followed by the Champaign Times Building and the expansive The Trevett and Green Building. That building would eventually be destroyed by fire. Dodson and Hodges Harware still occupies the building.

29 Main Street as seen on May 27, 1931.  Sam Weingarten closed this store the following year and Kroger opened a small grocer.

29 Main Street seen here as a Kroger on September 26, 1934.

The building was eventually purchased by the Kuhn family and incorporated into the store.  The second floor was home to the Advertising Department. This photo was taken in 1984.

29 Main Street as it appears today.  The ground floor houses Skins N' Tins Drum Shop and a small barber shop.  The upper floor is vacant.  However, the building exists today as it has since the first brick was laid.

Photo Credits: Champaign County Historical Archives at the Urbana Free Library, University of Illinois Archives, Dr. William Youngerman, Sholem Family, and T.J. Blakeman

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