Thursday, October 14, 2010

Louie the Alligator

Many Urbana residents know that the unofficial mascot of the town is Louie the Alligator. What they might not know how our reptilian representative came into being.

For the answer to this, we must revisit the summer of 1898. Louis A. Wahl, an Urbana tavern owner, lived comfortably in his newly built (1890) home at 510 West Main Street. Apparently, he also had a penchant for keeping exotic pets.

And so, let us turn to the "Urbana Matters" column of the June 10, 1898 edition of the Champaign Daily Gazette:

As we read down the column, we find this entry:

After certainly grabbing the attention of the local populace, five days latter we find a happy resolution to the crisis:

A legend was born.

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