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Looking Back

Looking Back for Nov. 8, 2017

DeKalb County Courthouse number 2, circa 1900. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.
DeKalb County Courthouse number 2, circa 1900. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.

1917 – 100 YEARS AGO

The Chronicle is first giving tragedy news. Patrons of The Chronicle had the important facts about the sinking of the American transport, The Antilles, last night at six o’clock about 14 hours ahead of the Chicago morning papers which were the next ones to carry anything more about the tragedy. This again emphasized the fact that people who want to read about the world news at the earliest possible moment take The Chronicle as no other paper in this section can give anything like the telegraphic service that this paper offers.

DeKalb should appreciate the American Steel & Wire company. Not only does it give employment to hundreds of our best citizens, but the corporation has this week shown that it has the interest of DeKalb at heart. Word has been received here that the company has appropriated $30,000 for the purchase of liberty loan bonds for the local mills. This $30,000 will go towards the filling of the DeKalb quota for the loan and will aid materially in this purpose.

Workmen are busy today setting the windows at the new rooms of the Lewis & Palmer music house, and the Third street firm hopes to get settled in the new business place sometime this week.

Several loads of window and door casings and other wood work arrived at the corner of First and Lincoln Highway for the new Ellwood-Fisk garage. The foundation work is nearing completion and the brick layers will soon be ready for their share of the new building.

Mrs. Housewife, did you serve white bread in your home today, or did you comply with the food administrator’s suggestions that wheatless day be observed? The hotels and restaurants of DeKalb, that is the majority of them complied with the request and today nothing but graham and rye bread was served.

H. E. Thompson and Frank Skelley went to Fairdale to complete a plumbing contract started there some weeks ago. The work was in a new school house.

The burglar alarm at the First National Bank was accidentally started ringing yesterday afternoon while the men were working near the big vaults, and there was a general scampering of bank employees and workmen. The bell outside the building will ring at the first tampering with the vault, and although the workmen thought it protected, the vibration set the bell ringing.

1942 – 75 YEARS AGO

Firemen were called to the old Illinois Thresher plant building in Sycamore where a small fire was discovered among old papers and rubbish. It is believed that transients had been using the place for a bunkhouse at various times of the day and night, and the careless discarding of a cigarette probably was the cause of the fire.

At the meeting of the city council the matter of the stench that is alleged to come from the Sycamore Preserve Works again was brought up and being advised the city has jurisdiction of any matter that may be brought to the council’s attention, it was voted four to three that the Sycamore Preserve Works is not sanitary and is a public nuisance.

Shortly before 3:00 o’clock yesterday afternoon a telephone fire alarm was received at the DeKalb fire station and the operator reported a fire at Parker & Gau’s station. The men started east on the highway to the Parker & Gau station there, and upon arrival were informed immediately that it was the other station operated by the firm at Waterman corners. Two pieces of the apparatus were ordered back to quarters here and the community truck started for Waterman. While there were but three or four minutes lost in the mix-up, the Waterman department had the blaze at the lunch room in conjunction with the station extinguished.

Considerable interest was manifest yesterday afternoon when workmen began digging up an old gas tank in Sycamore on California Street, which had been embedded there for at least a quarter of a century. It was used by a former garage man in the building there. A method of raising the tank to the top was used that had not been witnessed by many people before. The surface dirt was removed from the top of the tank and then a stream of water was played into the excavation around the tank and within a remarkably short time, the 1,000-gallon container was floating above the surface of the street.

Lieut. Orval Huff of Waterman, a bombardier on the Flying Fortress, was one of the members of a crew who took turns plugging a hole in the fuel line with their fingers so a Flying Fortress could make its way back to England after a raid on Lille, France. The four-motored bomber had been damaged by machine gun bullets and cannon shells and each member of the crew was forced to keep the break in the fuel line closed with his fingers.

1967 – 50 YEARS AGO

Automatic Electric Company, Genoa Branch, is observing its 60th year of operation this fall. From its beginning as Craft, Leich Electric Company in 1907 with a work force on 50 persons, the company has grown, merging into Automatic Electric, and now employs nearly 1,800 persons.

History was made at the Courthouse as one of the county officers whose headquarters have been in the big county building since the structure was erected 63 years ago moved out. County Superintendent of School D. E. Stitzel moved the office, lock, stock and barrel today to the DeKalb Tuberculosis Sanatorium building at 1731 Sycamore Road, DeKalb.

Sycamore no longer has a city dump. The Illinois Department of Public Health ordered the dump closed because it could be detrimental to public health and safety.

1992 – 25 YEARS AGO

Michael Jordan has admitted publicly for the first time that the $57,000 check he gave a North Carolina man was to pay off gambling debts.

DeKalb County residents are being asked to participate in a national survey of backyard birds conducted by the Home Habitat Society. Those who participate in the annual bird list will be asked to complete questionnaires about the habitats surrounding their homes.

Bad weather delayed the launch of space shuttle Columbia with six astronauts and a giant, laser-reflecting ball that geologists will use to learn more about earthquakes.

A peace pole has been dedicated and installed on the Fourth Street side of the First United Methodist Church, DeKalb. This project was initiated by the Outreach Commissions. The Peace Pole Project was started in 1955 in Japan by the Society for Prayer for World Peace. Today the poles are fashioned in the woods of northern Michigan. Over 65,000 peace poles have been dedicated in 84 countries around the world.

– Compiled by the Joiner History Room, DeKalb County Archives

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