Local Interest Gift Ideas
We have a great community and there are quite a few books about the history. These make great gifts for both long-time residents and people new to the area.
The Images of America series chronicles the history of small towns and downtowns across the country. Each title features more than 200 vintage images, capturing often forgotten bygone times and bringing to life the people, places, and events that defined a community.
We carry these five from the series:
Urbana- Ilona Matkovszki, Dennis Roberts
Danville- Vermilion County Museum Society
Perry C. Morris, Joseph Muskin, Audrey Wells
Six hundred people squeezed into a new movie theater in Champaign, Illinois on its opening night November 12, 1913. Living on into the 21st century, the theater still draws hundreds together to watch moving pictures. How has this single screen gem stayed alive so long? Lavishly illustrated and richly detailed, The Art Theater: Playing Movies for 100 Years takes readers on a trip through a century of survival to meet engaging characters, see cultural history in action, and feel the love a community can have for a movie theater.
Cal Acosta, Robeson Family
Ask anyone who shopped at Robeson's Department Store, and they'll tell you that it was a special place, a true relic of the past. Started by a young, ambitious man named Frank Kern ("F. K.") Robeson in 1874 as a small dry goods store, Robeson's became an iconic shopping center in downstate Illinois. A true visionary and innovator who turned his back on larger markets and potentially greater fortunes, Frank Robeson didn't believe in the word "impossible." He saw endless possibilities inherent in the fertile, growing community he lived in, and he never wavered in his quest to bring its residents everything that the big city up north possessed.
Remembering Robeson's is the story of the Robeson family of Champaign, a family committed to a retail philosophy of putting people and service before the bottom line. It's a story of a small store that grew from humble beginnings to a thriving business that regularly employed 250 people. It is a story of family, a dream, and a growing city, all intertwined with the fascinating history of our country.
Joseph William Royer graduated from Urbana High School, and attended the University of Illinois between 1890 and 1895, where he majored in architecture. The firm of Royer and Brown was formed about 1905, and over the years was known as Royer and Smith, Royer, Danely, and Smith, and Royer and Davis. Royer was active for about 50 years, between 1897 and the early 1950s. During this period, he designed buildings not only in Champaign and Urbana, but throughout Illinois and into Iowa and Indiana. To date, there are approximately 100 projects that can be attributed to Royer and his various firms.
Brian Adams' work documents Royer's prolific career, plus he reveals what he could unearth about the architect's personal side. The book is illustrated with more than 150 photos, mainly of the Royer-designed buildings, but also of Royer and his family. An eight-page full-color section demonstrates the lasting impact of the work of Joseph William Royer.
It's Holiday Season Downtown!
Check out these great places to visit and things
to do this holiday season!
Exile on Main St. - You could spend all day in Exile on Main Street looking for that perfect piece of music for someone on your list who still likes to own the real thing. (At Exile that means VINYL!). Find them now in their new location at 100 North Chestnut Street (the old train station).
Dandelion - They have a great collection of vintage and used clothing but you'll also find jewelry, accessories and costumes. A great place for finding one-of-a-kind gifts for young and old. And they now share a space with Exile on Main Street!
Farren's - An Elmore Family favorite, this is a great place to stop for a burger and beer. Their Russell Burger was recently listed as one of the best burgers in Illinois by thrillist.com. Located underground and tucked behind Nitaya Thai, the restaurant may be hard to find at first - just follow the "Burgers & Beer" arrow for signature burgers and an extensive selection of micro-brewed beers. Also popular are the tacos, which can be made with black beans for vegetarians. Whether you're a student, blue-collar, white-collar, or a dry waller, Carolyn invites you to come to relax with your friends, enjoy a burger and have a beer! Gift Certificates are available for purchase.
Trolley Rides/Shop Local Saturdays - The Champaign Center Partnershipis excited to partner with the Champaign Park District to bring trolley rides to Center City! Catch the Park District trolley every Saturday in December before Christmas from 3-5 p.m. and enjoy a free ride through Downtown, Midtown and Campustown. Free hot chocolate and cookies will be given to riders before they board the trolley and local performers will entertain throughout the ride. Trolley pick up and drop off will be in the parking lot in front of the Orpheum Children's Museum. The trolley rides are sponsored by the Champaign Park District.
The Great Holiday Elf Hunt - Shop local this holiday season and join us in the Great Holiday Elf Hunt! 24 businesses in Downtown, Midtown and Campustown have hidden a holiday elf somewhere in their store. Pick up a game card at participating
businesses and begin the hunt! Find 12 elves and you can enter to win a prize box filled with great gifts from local businesses! Find more details and downloadable game cards at www.champaigncenter.com.
I am so excited for the holidays! This year Mommy is getting me a basketball hoop and a play table! Of course I will also have a few books to unwrap. Mommy likes to support local children's authors. M.C. McNellis' Kiwi Simile is one of her favorites. Also available is Ant Adaptation, Anteater Analogy, and Ibex Idiom. These make great gifts and you support a local author!
Also check out local authors Alice McGinty, Patricia Hruby Powell, and Marianne Malone for more great children's titles.
- Order online!
- Search our online inventory
- Request a search of our offline inventory
- Place a special
- Buy gift cards
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HOURS: Monday 10-5:30, Tuesday – Friday 10-7, Saturday 10-5, Sunday 12-5
208 North Neil Street, Champaign, IL 61820