'The American Football House' – Urbana, Illinois - Atlas Obscura

'The American Football House'

Urbana, Illinois

The house is an iconic pilgrimage site for fans of the Illinois-based emo band. 

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For emo music fans coming of age in the late 1990s, few bands were more beloved—and few album covers more iconic— than the Urbana, Illinois-based band American Football and its self-titled debut album released in 1999. The house on the cover of the album, where members of the band lived at the time, became one of the only visuals associated with the elusive and short-lived but deeply beloved band, which broke up the following year.

The trio, led by guitarist/vocalist Mike Kinsella, reassembled and released a second album in 2016. Its cover art also featured what had affectionately become known as “The American Football House.”

Today, a steady stream of “emo tourists” wander by and take photographs of the house, a potent nostalgic reminder of the heyday of emo music in the late 1990s. Chalk marks on the sidewalk mark places where tourists have been best able to recreate the iconic photograph from the cover of the first album.