301 North Randolph Street - United States Post Office
Updated: Jan 24, 2019
The site chosen for the new United States Post Office was the northwest corner of Randolph and Church Street.
202 and 204 West Church Street, seen above and below were acquired and razed for construction of the new post office.
The office of Supervising Architect James Knox Taylor, Supervising Architect of U.S. Treasury Department (1897-1912) designed the Beaux-Arts. building.
Originally, the building measured 95 feet by 55 feet. The post office was completed in late 1905.
The building featured a grand curvilinear staircase that rises to the main entrance in the center of the Randoph Street facade.
The lobby was one of the most ornate in the community with revolving doors on the east and south entrances. These are believed to be the only revolving doors in use at this time in the community.
A final view of the newly completed post office. Note, Champaign High School to the north of the building.
Church Street is seen below looking to the west toward West Side Park and the residential neighborhoods. The streetcar can be seen coming into focus as it moves west along the street. The post office is to the far right of the image.
In 1929, a small addition was added to the western side of the building (seen below). The addition featured a small car port that entered off Church Street. Also, two cast iron globe lights (five globe fixtures) were added to flank the main entrance.
In 1936, a major addition was commenced that doubled the size of the post office. The 1929 addition was removed to make way for this expansion. The house at 206 West Church was also acquired and razed to make way for the project.
The view below reveals the backside of the ornate lobby walls. Then entire interior was exposed during the expansion.
The modern wing added much needed capacity for the growing community. New loading docks and sorting space was created.
A view of the addition looking southeast toward the building.
The nearly completed post office. Great care was taken to match the limestone details on the north and south facades of the building.
Another view of the southern facade demonstrates the care taken to match the detailing. It is hard to notice where the original post office ended and the new post addition began.
In 1966 the US Post Office related and the building became the new Springer Federal Building, named for Congressman William Springer.
In 1991, the Federal Government moved out of the building and the deed was transferred to the Champaign Park District. Today the Springer Cultural Center is a community center that hosts Park District classes and programming. The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Photo Credits: Champaign County Historical Archives at the Urbana Free Library, Champaign County History Museum, University of Illinois Archives, and City of Champaign.