Smile Politely

Year of the Park, A to Z: Trevett-Finch Park, Champaign

As Year of the Park continues, we will be documenting every park in Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy, Champaign County Forest Preserves, along with other odds and ends between July 2020 and July 2021. You can see what has been covered thus far by clicking here. If you have suggestions or ideas or feedback, feel free to contact us at


Trevett-Finch Park


901 W. University Ave.  

a wooden sign that states Trevett Finch Park

Photo by Seth Fein. 


I don’t ever want to hear from anyone that the local reporting from the News-Gazette isn’t super important. Especially liberals. After all, we are more comprehensive people than that, are we not? Yes, it is true that until recently, for decades the ownership and editorial board has been a steaming pile of garbage, but that does not diminsh the value and pedigree of the reporters whose bylines appeared in the paper. It does not relegate the copy editors and delivery drivers to a place of irrelevance. It was and it still is important.

I mention this because there’s no reason for me to try to do something more for this particular park than what now-retired Julie Wurth did for it when she reported on it back in October 2019. In this piece you should absolutely read, she talks to the descendants of the family who donated the park, who had returned with a new generation from Paris, France to take pictures and relive some history. It is a great story, and it should be noted. 

The park features the most iconic tree in Champaign County: this Osage orange has branches growing from it the way an octopus has arms. It is truly memorable, and worthy of so many pictures, and time spent climbing it. As a wonderfully unique feature that our Park District has managed and maintained with precision over the past forty years, I suggest you head on down there soon, especially with the limbs bare, as it lends itself to really examining the distorted and gorgeous twists and turns of its appendages. 

Additionally, there are benches to sit and chat, gardens to enjoy, and a plaque with the history of the trio that initially had the land, and the story behind it. 

Photo by Seth Fein.


As I mentioned above, Trevett-Finch Park is small but mighty in its overall impact on our community and park system. It is at the corner of the very busy intersection of Prospect Ave and University Ave and it stands out as a truly tremendous space to spend time, whether alone or with some friends. The property almost runs seamless to two homes on the western and southern sides of the park, the former of which housed the original Trevett family. You can read more about how this park came to be on the sign above, but again, just go there because I think it was erected in 1986, and damn, the sign sure shows it.  While you are there, be considerate! You are officially acting as someone’s next door neighbor for the moment, and I can state with certainty that no one likes a litterbug or someone trying to play music at high volumes for no other reason than to impress themselves. Honestly, just because you like Nine Inch Nails Halo 7 or that live Phish show from 1994 while they tried out new material from Billy Breathes doesn’t mean everyone does.  

This is a park that demands a visit once a season, in my opinion. It is a good way to acknowledge the four seasons here in central Illinois, which is one of the best reasons to celebrate having chosen to live here, for whatever reasons those might be in your own personal life. 

Top Image by Seth Fein. 

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