Urban Loft Tour

On Saturday November 2, 2019, the Champaign County Preservation Alliance (CCPA)  hosted its annual Urban Loft Tour in downtown Urbana, Ohio. 

Several lofts in downtown Urbana have been completely renovated and others are in varying stages of renovation.  The finished lofts show how livable downtown Urbana can be and the potential for the use of other similar spaces in the lofts above Urbana’s historic city buildings.

This year’s tour featured seven locations, three are finished loft apartments, two are units under renovation, and two are spaces that have been sealed off for years. I did not bother to tour the private residences that did not allow photography.

Proceeds from this tour go to the CCPA residential and commercial Facade Grant Program which promotes historical preservation and restoration of Champaign County’s unique architectural character.


Gloria Theater

216 S. Main St.

This structure has been the center of entertainment for over a century. It was originally built in 1904 by Vaudevill star and Urbana native Billy Single Clifford. It's stage was graced by all of the stars of that era including Lillian Gish. As movies became popular it added a silver screen and was dual purposed.

In 1918 and 1919 the third floor of the Clifford Theater burned and was not rebuilt. The ground floor shops remained open but the theater was closed until 1941 when the current Gloria was built around the remains of the earlier Theater. It operated for man yyears as a dual screen movie house and was closed in 2014.

Members of the Urbana United Methodist Church purchased the building and contents. Since 2014, the GrandWorks Foundation has overseen the fundraising and restorration of the theater and brought performing arts and movies back to Champaign County.


Smith Apartment

116 S. Main St.

This three-story brick building with decorative sandston hood-mouldsintricately detailed brick work and heavily ornamentated bracketed cornice has dominated the streetscape for almost 140 years. It was built as the "Houston Block" and has had many other names through the years. The loft spaces on the second and third floors are rough, but show tons of promise.

Through the 1980s the second floor spaces were residences. These spaces will be combined into a large and open urban loft for the Smith family. The interior retains all of its original late 19th centurey woodwork,, doors, and interior windows.


Shannon Apartment

117-119 Miami St.

This building was erected in 1889 by Dr. James M. Mosgrove, noted Champaign county physician and entrepreneur. It is a wonderful example of the Romanesque Revival style made famous by architect Henry Hobson Richardson in the last quarter of the 19th century. This style features heavy stone arches and massive arched windows. This example features all of these features and more. Not the decorative glass block windows and cast iron pilasters.

At one time this building was home to a drive through garage and a Buick Dealershiop. Other commercial tenants included a Furniture Store, Cussins & Fearn general merchandise, and a radio store. The second floor tenants included the Christian Messengers Mission and a Coffee Roaster.

Today, the first floor is hoe of Mike Major's Art Studio and the Champaign County Arts Council. There are three apartments on the soceond and third floors. The apartment on the third floor is open. Features stunning views from massive arched windows and a bounteous amount of light pouring through the massive south windows.


Decker Building

112 1/2 N. Main St.

Two buildings lay underneath the metal false front: 108 N. Main St., a brick, three story, three-bay commercial building with window openings that are currently blocked and 112 N. Main St., a brick, threestory, tow-bay Italianate structure which had ornate tin cornices over the second and third floor windows.

"Younique Boutique" is the business currently located inside the building. Past tenants include Third National Bank, Champaign National Ban, The Peoples Savings and Locan, in addition to tMcCracken & Sons home furnishings and Hatton and Enright Pharmacy and Radio Shack.

The third-floor was the "castle" of Launcelot Lodge 107 of the Knights of Pythias from 1872-1894. It has been untouched for 125 years.


Colvin Apartment

205 Scioto St. Scioto Inn

This two-story (with basement) building stands in the original 1805 plat of Urbana and has been a business, residence, hospital, apartments and is now a delightful and private Inn - and is considered the best place to stay when visiting Urbana.

For over 30 years it served as the hospital of Dr. John C. Butcher with receiving rooms and surgery on the first floor, and residence, and recovery wards on the second floor. Later it was converted into four large apartments that were known as the Butcher Apartments, Mumford's Apartments, and Ludwick Apartments.

In 2010 the structure was completely updated with new electric, water, HVAC, walls and ceilings. The result is a luxurious and comforting Inn. The owner's apartment was on display during this tour.

(information gathered from the Champaign County Preservation Alliance's program during the tour)

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