Looking Back

Looking Back for Aug. 23, 2017

A scrap train on the Chicago & North Western railway heading west into DeKalb in 1953. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.
A scrap train on the Chicago & North Western railway heading west into DeKalb in 1953. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.

1917 – 100 YEARS AGO

General Pershing has sent the request that we send our papers and magazines to the boys in France. It is only necessary to roll two or three together, tie securely, write on the margin, “For a Sammy in France,” and put on a one cent postage stamp. Just think how we miss our morning paper if for any reason it does not reach us each morning by breakfast time! The boys will be very greatly pleased even though the news be a week or two old.

Today in Sycamore, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution of which several DeKalb people are members are making final plans for the placing of two markers on historic spots in DeKalb County. In the spring time, the board of supervisors very willingly made an appropriation of $200 for the placing of the markers and this fund has been greatly increased by the D. A. R. The markers will be placed near Hinckley the location of the first permanent settlement in the county and at Coltonville, the site of the first session of DeKalb County court.

H. Bannister of Sycamore road, driving his Buick yesterday afternoon onto the tracks at Fourth street in DeKalb, had the narrowest of escapes from being struck by a train. He backed off the track at the sound of the engine but for reason his auto balked and stood stock still so close to the passing train that the yellow paint on the railroad coaches was scraped off onto his front tires. Spectators of the incident held their breaths while the long train rolled past almost atop of the auto and its driver.

The crying need of street signs in a progressive, hustling city like DeKalb was forcibly brought to the attention of the councilmen last night by Alderman Jacobson. He said the lack of signs at the street corners was one of the first and most powerful impressions to prejudice a stranger unfavorably and the condition was one that the authorities of a self-respecting town ought to lose no time in changing.

The Cortland Poultry house is closed for a couple of months, owning to the scarcity of chickens.

The work of reconstructing the First National Bank is well underway. Already the big vault in the western end of the building is near completion. The stone for the new edifice is expected to arrive today and the structural steel work in a day or two. Only the roof and the southerly portion of the present bank quarters will remain. A handsome two-story stone building will arise, with an entirely new front, the first floor will be occupied by the bank and the second by offices.

1942 – 75 YEARS AGO

Swen Jensen’s new dairy on West High Street in Sycamore is rapidly nearing completion and within a two weeks’ time he hopes to be able to tell the public they are invited to see one of the modern dairies of the community.

No word has been received from the federal government concerning the proposed blacktopping work which will be rushed to completion in DeKalb if permission is granted by the government. Application for permission to blacktop Roosevelt Street, Garden Road, Garden Street, North Thirteenth Street, and South Sixth Street was made some time ago. It was sent to Springfield where it was approved by the state highway department and then sent to Chicago where it was approved by the Public Roads Administration and then sent to Washington. It was thought that word would be received the latter part of last week, either accepting or rejecting the application, but nothing had been heard up to today.

Clark Gable, one of the genuine he-men of the movies, joins the army today as a buck private. The man with the ears and the wide grin, who was regarded until the tragic death of his wife, Carole Lombard, as Hollywood’s more carefree star, told the army he wanted to sell no bonds. He said he wanted to make no speeches; nor entertain any soldiers. He just wants to be a machine gunner on an airplane.

The corn pack has started at the Sycamore Preserve Works and hundreds of extra men were put to work and will be kept busy for a period of five or six weeks. The husks are being hauled away almost as rapidly as they are dumped, and many truckloads were observed on the street yesterday.

Comes this story of a farmer over near Burlington and substantiated by Sycamore residents who have been there, of a hen who has a nest in the kitchen of the farm home and for more than 40 consecutive days laid an egg in the house. The fowl will come to the door and if not recognized immediately will jump to the window ledge and begin pecking at the window until she is allowed to come in, go to her nest and lay her egg.

1967 – 50 YEARS AGO

The Old Stone Mill in Sandwich, which will be the Sandwich Historical Society’s Museum, has its new roof. Workmen completed the job of re-roofing the stone structure, oldest building in Sandwich, last week. Now, as soon as the building’s only tenant finds another location, the old mill will be cleared out and cleaned out and prepared to house the Sandwich Historical Society Museum.

Expansion plans for a 21-year-old DeKalb business firm will culminate with the opening of a second location in DeKalb to provide better service to customers. Wayman’s Ace Hardware is the firm, Will Wayman is the owner, and the new store is in the DeVal Shopping Center in the location which the Kroger grocery store occupied for several years.

DeKalb’s long-awaited railroad crossing repair program was “derailed” when 31 cars of a 43-car North Western Railroad freight jumped the track one mile east of the Ogle-DeKalb county lines. The pile-up scattered freight cars over a wide area of the railroad’s main line and closed traffic at both ends of the line as a result.

Extension of tollway west of Aurora to near DeKalb was predicted this morning by Sen. Dennis J. Collins on his return from Springfield where he had witnessed the first step in a system of statewide toll highways.

1992 – 25 YEARS AGO

A communications tower crashed to the ground at the DeKalb County Public Safety Building leaving hundreds of Sycamore residents, businesses and county government office without power for more than three hours. Between 30 and 40 spectators saw approximately 160 feet of a 200-foot communications tower crash to the ground crushing one car, knocking down several utility lines, blocking a portion of East Exchange street and causing a fire.

The DeKalb City Council voted to donate 18.25 acres to the DeKalb Park District. The land on South Annie Glidden Road is next to the 27 acres recently acquired by the district. The land has been targeted as a nature preserve by the park district.

– Compiled by the Joiner History Room, DeKalb County Archives

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