The Burnham Athenaeum

Meyer Capel is headquartered in the historic Burnham Athenaeum. Once threatened with demolition and ravaged by fire, the classic, revival-style building has been painstakingly restored and today it is listed on both the National and Illinois Registers of Historic Places.

The Burnham Athenaeum was completed in 1896 and was home to the Champaign Public Library for more than 80 years. After the library moved to larger quarters in 1978, the building was converted for use by Meyer Capel, which has called the structure home since 1980.

Restoration work had barely begun when the building fell victim to arson in October 1979. Fire destroyed part of the building’s roof and interior. Fortunately most of its wood paneled ceilings, decorative wood molding, columns, and fireplaces were preserved.

Despite the fire, Meyer Capel's shareholders continued on – renovating the portions of the building destroyed by fire and restoring the remainder. Those efforts have preserved the beauty and character of the original structure, while creating an efficient, modern work space.

Throughout the restoration process, work was carried out following stringent State of Illinois and U.S. Department of Interior requirements to qualify for rehabilitation grants. Despite the increased expense and occasional frustration for owners and architects alike, the careful renovation was not without reward.

Meyer Capel has preserved a beautiful, historic landmark which the law firm is proud to occupy. The Burnham Athenaeum speaks volumes to the firm’s ongoing commitment to Champaign County and the firm’s clients.