Delectible

POPCORN WAGON

1919 Creator Popcorn Wagon

The museum's historic popcorn wagon has delighted children and adults in the Champaign-Urbana community for more than 100 years.  

 

The popcorn popping part of this vehicle was believed to have been purchased in 1919 by Henry Sansone, then in Bloomington, Illinois. Henry was born on February 23, 1900.  The wagon was originally horse-drawn; however, around 1921, Mr. Sansone had mounted the wagon on a Model T Ford chassis. In 1940, the Model T engine and chassis gave out, and the popcorn wagon was mounted on the chassis of a 1940 Chevrolet, which is what you see today.  Mr. Sansone continued popping corn and selling ice cream and sodas at various locations in Champaign, such as at movie theaters or on Neil Street in front of Kresge’s 5 and 10 Cent Store for more than 40 years with his wife Lucille (Boots) until 1974. He passed away in June 1976.   Shortly before his death, the wagon was sold to Joan Macomberin in 1974, who popped corn on campus, especially Sixth Street and outside Memorial Stadium on U of I football weekends.  

 

In 1977, the truck was purchased by the Champaign County Historical Museum, where it remains in operation at various community events.

 

Since its original purchase, the truck has undergone a series of restorations. In 1982, the unsafe steam popper was replaced with an electric one made by the original Cretor Company. After replacing the popper, the Champaign -Urbana Mass Transit District maintenance workers gave the truck a 1967 Chevrolet engine, transmission, and rear axle. They also gave it new power steering and brakes.

 

Photo History of the Sansone Popcorn Wagon
Henry Sansone
Henry Sansone

Photograph of the Sansone popcorn wagon prior to conversion. Photo courtesy of Toni Lemmon.

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Henry Sansone
Henry Sansone

Photo Courtesy of Toni Lemmon

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Henry Sansone
Henry Sansone

Photo courtesy of Toni Lemmon.

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Rosemary and Henry Sansone Jr.
Rosemary and Henry Sansone Jr.

Sansones with Dizzy Dean. July 17, 1943. Photo courtesy of Toni Lemmon.

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City Battles Sansone Wagon
City Battles Sansone Wagon

Newspaper description of legal challanged between Henry Sansone and the City of Champaign in 1954. Photo courtesy of Toni Lemmon.

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Henry Sansone Popcorn Wagon
Henry Sansone Popcorn Wagon

Photo Courtesy of Toni Lemmon

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Henry Sansone
Henry Sansone

Photo Courtesy of Toni Lemmon

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Henry Sansone
Henry Sansone

Photo Courtesy of Toni Lemmon

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Sansone Popcorn Wagon
Sansone Popcorn Wagon

Corner of Park Street and Neil Street in Downtown Champaign.

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Henry and Rosemary Sansone
Henry and Rosemary Sansone

Photo Courtesy of Toni Lemmon

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Sansone Popcorn Wagon
Sansone Popcorn Wagon

Popcorn Wagon at Church and Neil Streets in Downtown Champaign.

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Henry and Rosemary Sansone
Henry and Rosemary Sansone

Photo Courtesy of Toni Lemmon

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Henry and Rosemary Sansone
Henry and Rosemary Sansone

Photo Courtesy of Toni Lemmon

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Henry Sansone
Henry Sansone

Neil Street in Downtown Champaign.

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Sansone Popcorn Wagon
Sansone Popcorn Wagon

Photo Courtesy of Toni Lemmon

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CCHM Popcorn Wagon
CCHM Popcorn Wagon
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CCHM Popcorn Wagon
CCHM Popcorn Wagon

Photo Courtesy of Toni Lemmon

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