Joseph W. Royer
Joseph William Royer (1873-1954) was the architect for The Samuel T. Busey Library and one of the most prolific architects in the history of Urbana. He was born to John D. and Mary M. Royer and was the youngest of three children. Joseph W. Royer received his education locally, attending Urbana High School in the early 1890s and graduating from the University of Illinois Engineering School with a degree in architecture in 1895. At the university, he studied under Nathan Clifford Ricker, a designer of several campus buildings and other local structures.
Following graduation, Royer became an engineer for Urbana, a position he held until 1906. In 1904, he opened his first architecture firm and maintained a fifty-year presence in Urbana, ending his career in the early 1950s with his final offices located in the Knowlton and Bennett building. Royer died on November 21, 1954, at the age of 81, two months after the loss of his wife, Adelaide Royer. Throughout his extensive career in architecture, Joseph W. Royer left an indelible mark on the city of Urbana.
Some of the most famous buildings designed by Royer in Champaign County include the First Presbyterian Church (1902), the Flatiron Building (1906), Urbana High School (1913), The Samuel T. Busey Memorial Library (1917), Urbana-Lincoln Hotel (1922), Eastern Illinois Memorial Sanitarium aka Carle Hospital (1924), Leal School (1934), and Homer Elementary School (1954). Royer’s works include 115 structures, 74 of which are in Champaign County. For more information about these structures and other buildings designed by Royer, please refer to Joseph William Royer: Urbana’s Architect by Brian Adams available at The Urbana Free Library and the City of Urbana’s walking guide ‘The Joseph W. Royer Arts and Architecture District.’