Blair Park is named after J.C. Blair and located in Urbana just south of Urbana High School. There are tennis courts with lighting, baseball diamonds, a soccer goal and pavilion with restrooms. The historical marker at the corner of Vine St. and Florida Ave. reads:

Blair Park from Florida Ave."J.C. Blair

In recognition of the efforts of Joseph Cullen Blair (1871-1960) to preserve and beautify the State of Illinois through the establishment of Fort Massac State Park and the Illinois State Park System.

J.C. Blair is credited as the "Father of the Illinois State Park System" for his role in establishing Illinois' first state park at Fort Massac. After a trip on horseback through Southern Illinois in the summer of 1896, Blair returned to Urbana, Illinois to begin his first semester as a professor of horticulture at the University of Illinois. He had been struck by the beauty and historical importance of Fort Massac, and the photographs he took became part of lectures to students, civic and community groups about preserving the Forst Massac site as a state park. Members of the Bloomington Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution were impressed by his ideas and took it upon themselves to help Blair create the first state park in Illinois. In 1903, DAR members Julia Scott and Letitia Green Stevenson promoted a bill drafted by Blair to members of the Illinois Legislature. It passed unanimously, and in 1908, Fort Massac State Park was dedicated.

Blair Park at duskBlair went on to become a proponent of parks and green spaces both statewide and in his own community. He was a driving force in establishing the Urbana Park District in 1907 and served as a commissioner for more than 40 years. He helped beautify Urbana and the University of Illinois by planting more than 6,000 trees. He was the first president of the Illinois Association of Park Districts in 1928, and he served as dean of the College of Agriculture in 1938-39."

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