Urbana is a city in and the county seat of Champaign County, Illinois, United States. The population is estimated at 42,214 as of July 1, 2019. Urbana is the tenth-most populous city in Illinois outside of the Chicago metropolitan area. It is included in the Champaign–Urbana metropolitan area. Urbana is notable for sharing the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign with its sister city of Champaign. The Urbana area was first settled by Europeans in 1822, when it was called “Big Grove”. When the county of Champaign was organized in 1833, the county seat was located on 40 acres of land, 20 acres donated by William T. Webber and 20 acres by Col. M. W. Busey, considered to be the city’s founder, and the name “Urbana” was adopted after Urbana, Ohio, the hometown of State Senator Joseph Vance. The creation of the new town was celebrated for the first time on July 4, 1833.
Stores began opening beginning in 1834. The first mills were founded in c.1838-50. The town’s first church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the parsonage, was built in 1840 by the Rev. A. Bradshaw, with the Baptist Church following in 1855. The Presbyterian Church was founded in 1856. The city’s first school was built in 1854.Urbana suffered a setback when the Chicago branch of the Illinois Central Railroad, which had been expected to pass through town, was instead laid down two miles west, where the land was flatter.
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