Browse Exhibits (1 total)

The Great Harris Mansion Heist: Opulence to Depression, 1929-1933

Curated by TJ Blakeman and Tara Leininger

Sixteen days after the New York Stock Exchange began to collapse on October 26, 1929, throngs of spectators and national dignitaries gathered in Champaign for the much anticipated Illinois vs. Army football game. Later that evening, the young and wealthy socialite Henry Harris hosted an opulent party at his home at 809 West Church Street. Just before 11:00 PM, four assailants entered the mansion and relieved the guests of over $30,000 in cash, furs, and jewelry. The night ended with one assailant killed, one officer injured, and three bandits on the run. Today that heist would equal nearly $500,000. The brazen heist went down in Champaign County history and marked the local end to the roaring 20s. 

"The Great Harris Mansion: Opulence to Depression, 1929-1933" showcases the historic Illini football game, the disastrous mansion heist, and the ensuing arrests, all amidst the growing economic crisis in Champaign County going into the 1930s, exploring the opulence of the party in contrast with the start of the Great Depression.

All items are depicted in this online exhibits through photographs. Various sections throughout the exhibit include multiple images, which can explored by clicking on the photographs. 

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