A traveler entering Urbana in the year 1925 might well have been entering a city justifiably named “Royerville”. By that time, much of the architectural character of downtown Urbana and much of the residential ring around the city had been determined by Urbana-born architect Joseph William Royer.
Joseph William Royer graduated from Urbana High School, and attended the University of Illinois between 1890 and 1895, where he majored in architecture. The firm of Royer and Brown was formed about 1905, and over the years was known as Royer and Smith, Royer, Danely, and Smith, and Royer and Davis. Royer was active for about 50 years, between 1897 and the early 1950s. During this period, he designed buildings not only in Champaign and Urbana, but throughout Illinois and into Iowa and Indiana. To date, there are approximately 100 projects that can be attributed to Royer and his various firms.
Brian Adams’ work documents Royer’s prolific career, plus he reveals what he could unearth about the architect’s personal side. The book is illustrated with more than 150 photos, mainly of the Royer-designed buildings, but also of Royer and his family. An eight-page full-color section demonstrates the lasting impact of the work of Joseph William Royer.