Looking Back

Looking Back for Jan. 25, 2017

A DeKalb City Lines bus at Normal and Lincoln Highway in 1945 when the bus service was new. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.
A DeKalb City Lines bus at Normal and Lincoln Highway in 1945 when the bus service was new. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.

1917 – 100 YEARS AGO

Uppermost in the minds of DeKalb people at this time is whether this city will experience a coal famine here. There is a possible chance of a famine here but that chance is slight and if the people of the city use a little judgment in ordering their coal, especially during this cold snap, there is not much danger of such a thing coming to pass.

A broken rail on the Northwestern at Nelson sent 12 freight cars into the ditch spilling the box cars and gondolas about into the right of way and clogging the road for a considerable length of time.

The waste paper boxes scattered over the city, that is a majority of them at least, have been crammed full of paper and other articles until they will stand no more cramming and the people in the habit of making use of them are declaring them a nuisance. One box in the east end has not been given attention for two months past and is now running over with refuse.

William H. Ashelford, the principal stock holder and active manager of the Esmond State Bank since its organization, in 1909, has retired from the bank, and at the annual meeting of stockholders he announced that he had disposed of all his stock and then tendered his resignation.

A representative of the Williamson Motor Company who deals in Dodge automobiles was here yesterday and says that the motor car dealers and makers are feeling the car shortage as badly as any other interest. The production of the factories is so large and the demand for the machines so great, while the facilities for moving the machines in freight cars are so small that the flow of cars from factory to consumer is badly choked.

Perhaps one of the worst forms of carelessness on the part of the people at large at railroad crossings was seen this afternoon at the Fourth Street crossing. A lady, little girl and a boy were on the sidewalk when the gates were being lowered for the 2:15 train. The lady started under the gates and the children followed her. The little girl was perhaps four or five years of age and when right in the path of the oncoming train, fell down. The mother, if such she was in this case, did not take the little one’s hand, and thus she took the tumble. The child was left to her own resources to get to her feet and off the track, and was badly frightened.

1942 – 75 YEARS AGO

DeKalb Township High School has been accorded full recognition as a four year high school by the Department of Public Instruction of the State of Illinois.

Citizens of Sycamore driving automobiles and the merchants as well as the city officials are thankful at this time that State Street is wider than the average smaller city thoroughfare. Because of the heavy snow, and the impossibility of the department of public works to remove it as rapidly as it falls, there is considerable snow at the curbing.

Several weeks ago an appeal was made to the residents of this city to keep their sidewalks clear of snow. The answer to this appeal has been most gratifying but there are still a few who have failed to cooperate. Since the advent of gas rationing, many more are forced to walk and it will be a great help to these pedestrians if the residents keep their walks shoveled. Many are forced to walk to their work and most of them leave for work while it is still dark.

Efforts of many men were needed this morning in Waterman to battle drifts at the snowbound Preston Woods farm home so the Mr. Woods, who has been seriously ill with the flu for the past few days could be removed to the hospital.

Milk bottles again are becoming scarce with the dairymen in Sycamore, according to reports heard yesterday, and another appeal is made to householders everywhere in the city, not to throw the bottles into the ash can but put them out that they may be picked up when milk is delivered.

The valid period for coupon three in the Mileage Ration book will expire at midnight tonight for the “A” books. It is expected that all who have any of these coupons remaining in their books will have used them by this evening for they will be worthless after tomorrow.

DeKalb County rural schools were operating in most parts yesterday according to those in the office of the county superintendent of schools, but there were some of the youngsters who did not trudge through snow with the mercury far below the line to attend the lesson periods.

1967 – 50 YEARS AGO

A runaway fire, believed triggered by an electrical spark, destroyed at least half of Chicago’s huge $36 million McCormick Place exhibition hall in a holocaust of twisting girders and shattered concrete.

Room for growth of the Sycamore community is being made lately with the demolishing of McLaren Foundation buildings. The wooden structure known as “The Residence,” which originally occupied the farm upon which the institution was constructed, was completely razed. Part of the large dormitory building known as Waterman Hall, the main structure of the McLaren Foundation, has had its large bells removed.

With an ice planer in action the surface of the lagoon on the campus at Northern is being prepared for skating. However, some help from the weather man is needed as mild temperatures soften the ice of the lake surface and again create the rough ice that wrecked skating on the pond for the past several days.

The DeKalb City Council, meeting in an adjourned meeting, received a last Christmas gift from the Wurlitzer Company. The gift was in the form of real estate and will be used to construct a city operated sanitary landfill. The property on the south side of State Street, bordered on the south by the Chicago and North Western railroad track; on the east by the General Electric plant; and on the west by the Chicago-Great Western railroad track, is considered a lowland area.

1992 – 25 YEARS AGO

Sycamore cable television viewers will get higher rates, six new movie channels and two “pay-per-view” channels as a result of a new expansion project to start next month. Warner will switch residents over to a fiber-optics system that will boost channel capability from 36 to 60 channels.

Thanks to a loophole in a 1987 state law, the county may be forced to pick up the entire cost of burying the dead and indigent in the county cemetery located near the DeKalb County Nursing Home. Under former state legislation, area funeral homes were reimbursed by the Illinois Department of Public Aid for burial expenses for those without families or money.

DeKalb residents should be on the lookout for three new police cars that will have a new look and color design. The familiar square shaped, green and white cars that make up the DeKalb Police Department’s fleet are being replaced with Chevrolet Caprices. The new squad cars approved by council will be all white, with green striping down each side and on the back.

– Compiled by the Joiner history Room, DeKalb County Archives

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