Looking Back

Looking Back: July 24, 2013

1961 fire at Murphy’s, at the corner of Second Street and Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.
1961 fire at Murphy’s, at the corner of Second Street and Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.


July 25, 1888

The total eclipse of the moon on Sunday night began at 10 o’clock, and when it was total the moon looked like a brass ball and shed a weird, faint yellow light that made a strange effect.

Young James Murry was at work in the pea field for the canning factory when the officers came to arrest him for stealing from railroad cars. When the officers appeared, he was on the run for the cornfield. Hiram Ostrander gave chase, his horse doing its prettiest, and the young fellow was bagged just at the edge of the field. Those who saw the race say the boy couldn’t be seen for dust while Ostrander and his rig looked like one continuous dark streak.

The Masonic and Odd Fellows societies have appointed committees on the subject of the two orders uniting to erect a handsome brick block on their property opposite the court house. The brick block would have the first floor and basement for stores or offices to rent, the second floor for the Odd Fellows’ hall and in the third story, the Masonic halls.

The Republican club were marching without a flag last Thursday, but when passing Mr. H.A. Ward’s residence, Mrs. Ward sent out to them a handsome banner which floated the stars and stripes upon the breeze amidst cheers.

Somebody in Kingston is making a success in thinning out the dogs; there have been quite a number of burials of late. We would advise them, after they get through, to try their art upon the cats.

On Saturday an employee of the Ellwood barbed wire factory went on a drunken spree and was found the next morning near the fairgrounds, lying face down in a small ditch with a bullet hole back of his ear and his skull crushed. Foul play is suspected.

The county jail had been empty. It now has one inmate.

In Pierce Township, they have organized a large cavalry company.


July 23, 1913

Freeport is paving one block with concrete as an experiment. The cost is $1.10 per yard, 45 cents cheaper than brick and 50 cents more than macadam.

The drinking fountain that has been running on the courthouse corner the last few years has proven so popular, Sycamore will erect two more.

Judge Mazzini Slusser of the Kane County circuit court screamed like a youngster Saturday afternoon when a large crab pinched his big toe while he was swimming in the Fox River at the annual picnic of the Kane County bar. An Aurora attorney placed the crab on the judge’s toe. He was about to order a large fine but was interrupted when water filled his wide open mouth.

Some excitement was occasioned Sunday when a horse attached to a buggy dashed through the courthouse yard, scraping bark off the trees and tearing through the shrubbery. The animal was scratched, but no one was injured.

Farmers badly in need of help this busy haying season have been appealing to the sheriff and offering to pay fines for prisoners held for minor offenses, providing the prisoners would consent to work on the farms.

Seven full-grown rattlesnakes have been killed this season on the Steinmetz farm near Charter Grove.


July 27, 1938

When plans of the Illinois highway department materialize, automobile and truck traffic through Genoa will be more than doubled. Now, Genoa is not particularly anxious that traffic pass through the city; we want traffic to stop here.

There are now 53,000 inmates at state institutions, including insane hospitals. The population increased by 3,000 – or the equivalent of a new institution – last year. There have been no provisions made for increased space.

The National Bank & Trust Co. was named receiver for both Waterman Hall and St. Alban’s School for Boys. The two corporations owe approximately $50,000 between them.

DeKalb residents voted approval of issuing $33,000 in bonds to help finance the construction of a combined gymnasium and auditorium for the grade schools. The building will be erected on  a lot adjacent to the Haish school.

Bert Wilder celebrated his 103rd birthday. Children in the neighborhood brought him cakes and gifts and remained to listen to his stories.

Possession of a Social Security number by a minor does not mean that such a minor is employable. Federal and state child labor laws still apply.


July 24, 1963

Lightning struck the Maple Park fire siren July 16, setting it wailing. Firemen determined the siren had been set off by short circuit, shut it off and went home. The siren sounded again shortly after that; some thought it was a short circuit but some were convinced there was a fire. They learned a barn had been struck by lightning and was even then a mass of flame. They did the best they could and fought a hard, but losing, battle.

Randy Anderson was ditch digging in Malta at a depth of eight feet Monday when the walls caved in on him, completely covering his body. Fellow workers and Malta firemen saved him.

A fish and bait dealer from Wauconda arrived in Sycamore Tuesday and stopped in front of the State Theater. He decided the truck he was driving was becoming a bit too odiferous, and calmly began tossing dead minnows out of the truck into the street. Patrolman Don Ehler directed him to pick up, deposit back in his truck and carry out of Sycamore every dead minnow he had thrown into the street or go to jail. Sycamore streets are sweeter for it.

– Sycamore True Republican


July 27, 1988

A small but dedicated band of Waterman citizens is preparing to mount a campaign on behalf of Kishwaukee College’s severely overcrowded library.

On the heels of an arbitration award in favor of DeKalb firefighters, another contract dispute has erupted between the city and the union. The union filed two unfair labor practice complaints with the state labor relations board. The city also filed a complaint against the union with the board.

– The MidWeek

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