Looking Back

Looking Back: December 31, 2014

James Everett Bangs was in the plumbing and heating business. This photo was taken circa 1919 in front of his store, 126 Somonauk St. in Sycamore, now the home of the Sycamore Elks Club.  The people in the photo are unknown. Thanks to the Sycamore History Museum for the photo.
James Everett Bangs was in the plumbing and heating business. This photo was taken circa 1919 in front of his store, 126 Somonauk St. in Sycamore, now the home of the Sycamore Elks Club. The people in the photo are unknown. Thanks to the Sycamore History Museum for the photo.


January 1, 1890

At the supper Christmas Eve, 230 pounds of candy was distributed to the Congregational Sunday School children.

No one gave Fred Davis a Christmas present last week, so he helped himself to one. He entered the house of John Gray, north of Genoa, while the family were at supper, and stole a gold watch and some money.

As a result of several robberies which have occurred of late, the businessmen of Sycamore have become tired of the night watchman and engaged a new man to take his place. Henry has been doing duty for 12 or 15 years, and for the first few years of that time he made a most excellent man for the place.

Farmers are still plowing and our winter so far has been uncommonly mild for this latitude. This is a disastrous winter for toboggan slides.

An epidemic of sore throat, with headache, bone ache and fever, is prevalent in DeKalb.

Mr. I.L. Ellwood, while in Washington last week, had the pleasure of a personal interview with President Harrison at the White House.

Arch Miller of Hinckley gave the land on which the city water tank and well is located, and in payment the city entered into a contract to supply him with water for free for a period of 99 years.

Army reports for November show 158 desertions from the force of 24,000 enlisted men. Desertions among the colored regiments are fewer than among the white regiments.


December 30, 1889

Freeport and Joliet are now in the throes of a hot fight over the adoption of the commission form of government, which was defeated in Sycamore over four years ago.

In response to announcements that employment would be given to 25 to 30 additional men for disinfecting farms to prevent the spread of hoof and mouth disease, some 300 men appeared looking for jobs.

One of the highest prices paid for farm land in DeKalb County was paid for 80 acres belonging to the estate of the late John Gibson, which was sold Wednesday for $250.50 an acre.

There is too much hysteria and too little common sense in the present discussion of our national defense.


January 3, 1940

Mary Bimbo, 50 years old, self-styled “queen of the gypsies,” who was ordered out of DeKalb County forever in December 1938, made her escape from the Kankakee state hospital last week.

Births continue to exceed the number of deaths in Sycamore, according to vital statistics in the office of the city clerk. On the other hand, marriage licenses dropped again this year, there having been a steady decline since the passage of the hygienic marriage law.

Eighteen persons were killed in automobile accidents in DeKalb County during 1939. Three of these victims died Christmas week.

Post office employees have nearly finished unscrambling Christmas mail delayed by wrong addresses or incomplete postage. Added to the extra work was the heavy influx of mail held up by firms who followed the request of the government not to mail anything that could possibly be delayed until after the Christmas rush had passed. Firms took authorities at their word, and waited until the latter part of last week to let loose an avalanche of mail.

Many Sycamore residents have taken advantage of the Anaconda Wire and Cable Co. north plant skating rink on the Anaconda Recreation Field. The entrance to the rink is on the west end of North Avenue.

Emil E. Johnson’s modern furniture store building in Sycamore was leased Friday morning to Montgomery Ward & Co. for a term of years.

The DeKalb Sportsmen’s Club has found a use for the discarded Christmas tree. The tree makes a great windbreak and feeding shelter for game birds.


December 30, 1964

Up to the hour this was written, 204 people had lost their lives in auto accidents on DeKalb County highways in the past 14 years. The best year was 1951, when only four lives were lost in traffic mishaps. In 1957 there were 27 people killed on the county highways, but even that has been surpassed so far in this year of 1964, with 29 dead in motor traffic in the county.

The Illinois public aid rolls declined in October by 3,525 persons from the previous month, however, in DeKalb County four of six categories report increases.

A unique and out of the ordinary telephone call enabled four sisters in four different states to carry on a conversation Christmas Day with their mother. All five people were on the line at the same time. Officials of the DeKalb-Ogle Telephone Company said they could not recall such a complex call.

DeKalb County schools took a beating last week. Waterman and Hinckley-Big Rock schools were the victims of burglars early in the week, and Thursday sheriff’s deputies were investigating a break-in and vandalism at Kirkland’s Hiawatha school.

– Sycamore True Republican


January 3, 1990

The leadership of the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation is hoping a show of community support for a proposed 9,000-seat civic center will put DeKalb over the top in a competition for state funding.

Pressured by a 26.5 percent increase in employee pension funds and Social Security, the DeKalb City Council voted to raise the city’s portion of property tax from 60.11 cents to 62.3 cents per $100 of assessed value. The good news was that the assessed value of all property in DeKalb grew by “a healthy” 10 percent in 1989.

– The MidWeek

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