CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – There’s a mystery around a house that has somehow found itself encircled by tall city buildings on all four sides. This home is situated at 509 ½ Green Street in Champaign, Illinois.
The house is in Campustown, serving as a lasting reminder of what remains of a once-residential neighborhood. In 2013, when businesses at the corner of Sixth and Green streets were demolished to make way for a new high-rise apartment complex, a hidden standalone house was revealed.
The removal of these commercial structures was part of the preparations for the forthcoming apartment complex. The house served as an apartment building for decades. However, in 2013, the Champaign Fire Department declared the house unsafe due to its confinement between four high-rise buildings and its sole access point being a narrow alleyway.
A view from Google Earth shows the house’s peculiar placement and the potential fire safety concerns it raises.
An image of the house started circulating on Reddit over the weekend. Some commenters say that the home resembles a plot point in the Pixar movie Up. The main character eventually uses balloons to fly the home to a fantasy land.
Historical records from Champaign County indicate that the house was constructed around 1909. It is one of six houses on that side of the block, as depicted on a Sanborn fire insurance map dating back to 1909.
The house was eventually relocated from its original position to accommodate the construction of commercial buildings. Although the exact date of the house’s relocation is still unknown, a News-Gazette article provides background information on this Campustown house.
The house is still standing as of 2023, with four buildings on either side. But its occupancy status hasn’t been proven yet, leaving Champaign with a mystery.