Looking Back

Looking Back for Nov. 22, 2017

Altgeld Hall at the Northern Illinois State Normal School, circa 1910. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.
Altgeld Hall at the Northern Illinois State Normal School, circa 1910. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.

1917 – 100 YEARS AGO

While Miss Eleanor Townsend of Sycamore was attending Wisconsin university the girls made “comfort-kits” and other articles and sent them with their names and the names of the university to the soldiers in France. A few days ago, Miss Townsend received from a soldier a letter written in French politely thanking her and expressing his appreciation of the gift. The giver naturally feels gratified that it reached one for whom it was designed and that it was so much appreciated.

Most of yesterday afternoon was consumed by railroad men in getting the car of coal at the top of the chutes back on the rails. It was not a difficult task, but on account of being “in the air” it took much more time than necessary had the car been on the ground. It was the first of such occurrences at the local chutes in many years.

Life on the farm has been revolutionized these days by electricity. The use of electric current has totally changed the methods of existence on the farm and where is this seem better than right here in DeKalb county. William Rich, one of DeKalb county’s prominent farmers living about four miles and a half northwest of DeKalb has just completed the electrification of his farm establishment and is mighty proud of his equipment.

The Spring Valley train northbound was delayed here for about 20 minutes this morning by order of the train dispatcher. A corpse bound for a northern city was being brought through by the 9:10 east and as the main line passenger was on time, the funeral party was accommodated by the railroad officials that there might be no long waiting between trains.

Yesterday was an ideal day for motoring and many cars that had been put up on bocks for the inter were taken out for one last ride before snow flies. The new cement road between DeKalb and Sycamore, being completed and open for traffic, was the mecca for tourists as one can go from DeKalb to the county seat without getting the car in the mud, regardless of the condition of the ordinary country roads. The grading at the side of the cement road is yet soft and one or two machines encountered some little difficulty in getting back on the ribbon of cement, but no accidents were reported.

The Glidden school playground in DeKalb proposition is being arranged for quietly it seems, though the officials are not ready to make announcement definitely yet. Rumors say that several residences in the Glidden school neighborhood are to be purchased for playground purposes. A meeting of the board will be held and the board expects to have some definite statement to make after that regarding it.

1942 – 75 YEARS AGO

Installation of a stove pipe within six inches of woodwork in the house at 512 Girard street in DeKalb, made it necessary for the firemen to make an investigation after someone called the station and reported the order of burning wood. The stove had a heavy fire and the pipe became heated to such an extent that it set fire to the woodwork within a space of less than six inches, and had started to creep through to parts of the ceiling.

Glenn Underwood, of Sycamore, who is one of the four Underwood boys with the armed forces of this country, has recently written his parents of his safe arrival in Northern Ireland. He says the trip across the water was without incident and while he is enjoying the sights of the foreign land, still prefers to be back in the good old U. S. A.

Because of the shortage of machines, and the inability to obtain repair parts, the Sycamore Implement Company will close its store here, which has been a part of the business section since 1937. All stock of the Sycamore store will be taken to DeKalb for the business there.

As a result of the election at Sandwich, where the people were asked to vote favorably on the levying of a small tax for the purchase of a new fire truck, the proposition went over 1,034 to 94. Sandwich long has needed new fire apparatus, but Chief Louis Specht and his group of volunteer fire fighters have been going along with the antiquated rigs until such time as they felt the taxpayers of the community would rally to their cause and pay the additional two-mil tax.

After several attempts to enter some sort of war service, C. R. “Luke” McLagan, has given up and has returned to his home in Sycamore. In Chicago last week after learning certain details regarding a service he had been investigating for some weeks, declined to sign, nor did he take the examination. Since Pearl Harbor he has offered his services in the government censorship bureau, attempting to enlist in the army intelligence service, tried to obtain office work and even volunteered in the draft. He now plans to turn his attention to ordinary things.

1967 – 50 YEARS AGO

The nation takes a great leap backwards into standard time Sunday. For the first time, the move will be all but universal as residents of 46 states turn their clocks back one hour.

DeKalb city police said a number of complaints have been received from housewives pertaining to salesmen questioning them. Police said the women complained that door-to-door salesmen have been asking the whereabouts of their husbands. They said the salesman first asks if the husband is home if the reply is not then they ask when he will be home.

Fire which gained headway with explosive violence completely destroyed the McAllister Implement Company in Sandwich this morning. The firm is located just south of the Sandwich Fair Grounds. Flames started in the repair shop area and spread rapidly as supplies of oil were ignited to add to the blaze.

At the DeKalb Public Library, a new flag was raised after the completion of the ceremony of burning the flag which had been used for some time. The new flag has flown over the Capital in Washington, D. C. and was obtained through The Chronicle from Representative Charlotte Reid.

1992 – 25 YEARS AGO

Sycamore Mayor Bernard McMillan announced that he will campaign to retain Sycamore’s top office in municipal elections to be held next year. McMillan was sworn into the mayor’s office at the March 23 city council meeting. As chairman of the city council’s Finance Committee, he became acting mayor March 16 following the death of Mayor B. Philip Ramsey.

President-elect Bill Clinton promised “the new blood, the new direction” to change America, casting his electoral landslide over President Bush as a mandate for a fresh economic course.

The latest police office to join the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department was introduced to the public. Rax, a 13-month-old black German shepherd, joins the county’s other German shepherd, Duke, to make up the sheriff’s canine unit. The dogs are used to sniff out drugs, track people and in some cases, apprehend felons.

Chelsea Clinton, like many 12-year-old girls, likes ballet and plays a solid third base in softball. She eats macaroni and cheese and broccoli, and she giggles and dotes on her father. But she’s not just any 12-year-old. She’s the daughter of the man who was just elected the 42nd president of the United States.

• Compiled by the Joiner History Room, DeKalb County Archives

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