Champaign, Illinois

Champaign, Illinois is the 11th most populous city in the state of Illinois. It was called West Urbana owing to its origin to the gap between the railroad connection and the city of Urbana. As time progressed, the city of Champaign became a bigger and economically stronger urban center rivaling the infrastructure of the city of Urbana.

The city is 2.5 hours from Chicago and is dominated by the Illinois University and many tech related startups and big Fortune 500 companies. The city retains its old world charm even as areas like Downtown are being specifically planned to cater to the commercial needs of the citizens of the city. The emphasis on education and technology has helped the city establish a modern facade based on firm traditional foundations.

The city boasts of many art and culture related landmarks including a center for performing arts more than 90 years old which is that is still in use today. The presence of a large student community has contributed to the economic growth of the city with campus town providing a good economic opportunity for developers to boost city infrastructure.

Champaign has a lot to offer those who enjoy city life as well as the outdoors. It has something to appeal to everyone's senses. People of any age or any profession will surely find the city exciting and vivacious to their own liking.

Champaign History

Many cities begin as small towns only to see a spurt in growth when railroad connectivity is established. Champaign was an exception to this rule. The city of Urbana was a bustling urban center when it was connected to the rest of the country by the Illinois Central Railroad. However, the railroad passed downtown Urbana by 2 miles and the citizens preferred not to move the city into the swampy region around the railroad.

This led to the growth of a small urban center known a West Urbana in 1855. Proximity to the rail road and highly fertile land in and around the region led to rapid development. The city renamed itself in 1861 as Champaign and proceeded to grow at a very rapid pace.

The open space between the two cities was used to set up the Illinois Industrial University in 1868. This would go on to become the Illinois University and would become the common bond between the sister cities of Champaign and Urbana.

Competition for higher growth and development between the two cities continued even as efforts were made to bring about a merger. The citizens of the two cities voted against a merger in 1953 and 1980. Both cities continued to attract manufacturing and agricultural industries.

Over the years, Champaign grew bigger in physical and economic size and became the largest urban center in the county. However, Urbana continues to retain its status as the county seat. The city of Urbana too got its own railroad connection rectifying the anomaly that led to the creation and growth of the city of Champaign.

The growth of the University of Illinois led to further development of infrastructure in and around the city. Champaign reaped benefits of the university - industry partnership as numerous high technology industries set up their units or branches in and around the city.

The city enjoyed benefits of its close proximity to Chicago as the technology hub was classified as the Silicon Prairie. The phrase is a reference to the prairies on which the city was built and the emphasis of tech industries, which rely on Silicon as a raw material. The county of Champaign enjoyed benefits of this growth but continues to remain primarily an agriculture based society owing to the high fertility of lands in and around the region. In 2005 the city was also chosen as location for the National Science Olympiad.

About Champaign, Illinois

Champaign, Illinois is a co-host of the University of Illinois along with the city of Urbana. The two cities are known as sister cities and share a boundary as well as a common history. The latter city came up when the rail road connecting Urbana to the rest of the country terminated around 2 miles from downtown Urbana.

The academic importance of the city is enhanced by the presence of the University and Parkland College. Combined with close proximity of the city to Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis (distance under 180 miles), this city is a bustling center of academic pursuits.

Adequate infrastructure, an academic atmosphere and access to talents from all over the country has led to the city and region becoming a tech and software industry hub. The University of Illinois mentors numerous activities that go on to become startups providing innovative solutions in the tech industry. Yahoo!, Tekion, IBM, AMD, Intel, Wolfram Research and many other tech or energy based firms have their offices and branches in the city. South Champaign has a Research Park that serves as the hub for such firms and operates with the support of the University.

The city has numerous landmarks and cultural attractions. The Champaign City Building resembles the city seal and serves as the city hall. It has housed numerous government and public offices including the HQ of the fire department and the local police force. Downtown Champaign is a huge area currently being redeveloped into a commercial area.

The city has invested in cultural and performing arts attractions. The Historic Virginia Theatre is a 1525 seater movie hall constructed in the 1920s. It hosts multiple events in a month and is the host of the Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival.

The city has a well-developed urban transportation infrastructure. Smooth functioning of numerous companies and academic institutions in the city has ensured by the detailed and organized bus transportation system. The bus network has been ranked as the best in the country on more than one occasions. The bus network covers local as well as the inter city services. Illinois Central Railroad line served as the root cause behind the establishment of the city. It is now a part of the Canadian National system. The modern inter-modal transportation network, also named the Illinois Terminal, serves as the hub for bus and train networks operating within the city.

About Champaign County, Illinois

Champaign County was incorporated in 1833 and the township form of governance was adopted in 1859. The name of the county means "level lands" in French and is a reference to the large and flat plateau on which the city of Urbana and Champaign are built. The county was created out of Vermilion County. The topography meant that the area had no natural drainage and consisted of marshy wetlands. This inhibited the growth of the county despite presence of adequate natural resources.

Urbana was the first major city in the county and continues to remain the seat of the county. The largest city is Champaign, which was set up to exploit the advantage of close proximity to the Illinois Central railroad. It has the 10th largest population in the country and is part of the Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Statistical Area. The establishment of the Illinois University led to further growth and development. The county sits on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers divide. For this reason, rivers flow out of this County in three different directions - East, West, and South.

Apart from the reputed University of Illinois and Parkland College, the county is home to many other industrial and medical institutions. Carle Foundation Hospital and Provena Covenant Hospital are two major regional medical institutions set up in the county.

The county lands have been equitably apportioned for industry and agriculture. Bulk of the 1008 square miles acreage of the county is assigned for agriculture. It magnifies the overall rural setup of the county. Other major industries include health care, tech industries and government institutions.

The city of Champaign is the largest urban center while the second largest is constituted by the City of Urbana. The county enjoys good growth in all economic conditions due to its close proximity to major cities like Chicago and Indianapolis. Further, the presence of the Mass Transit District in the county ensures adequate transportation infrastructure for local and inter county travel.