Looking Back

Looking Back for Nov. 29, 2017

Anaconda Wire and Cable Company of Sycamore family picnic in 1936 at the Farm, 12 miles east of Sycamore on Route 64. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.
Anaconda Wire and Cable Company of Sycamore family picnic in 1936 at the Farm, 12 miles east of Sycamore on Route 64. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.

1917 – 100 YEARS AGO

The large “I” beams for the new Ellwood-Fisk garage are being placed this week and the excavation is beginning to take on the aspect of construction operations each day. There are several of the large beams weighing several tons. The masons have also begun work and most of the base of the building, which is of stone, has been placed and the work is more than being pushed.

Meatless and wheatless days are a common thing around this neck of the woods, and it seems that everywhere one goes, there is the work of “Hooverizing” in evidence. The local restaurants eliminated pork, beef and all by-products from their menus and although there was little to choose from save fish and egg dishes, there was not a word of complaint heard.

An important meeting of the executive committee of the DeKalb County Soil Improvement Association has been called to be held at the local office in DeKalb. The object of the meeting has to do with the future of the seed work, the getting together of our resources to help the government in developing agriculture to the maximum to meeting the government’s needs and other important business.

The stretch of cement road from Electric Park to Sycamore was closed yesterday by officials from the state, and the joy of going to Sycamore from DeKalb on a cement road will not be possible for a few days. The idea of closing the road was the fact that it had not been officially accepted and also that the grading at the side of the road was not satisfactory and many cars had become stalled in the mud.

For several days past rumors have been circulated about the city to the effect that the government had taken over the Melville Clark piano factory for the manufacture of war materials. In an interview with Superintendent Ernest Clark it was learned that these rumors are entirely without foundation. Mr. Clark said that the company had tendered its services to the government when the war first started, sending all data as to what could be done here. The local man said that his plant was at the disposal of the government at any time the men higher up saw fit to take it, but thus far, nothing had been done.

The alterations at the First National bank are rapidly nearing completion and a force of men is at work cleaning the part of the building that was not affected by the alterations. Men are at work with heavy steel brushes scraping the dirt from the stone, and when this is done, the entire building will present an appearance similar to the front.

1942 – 75 YEARS AGO

During the storm of yesterday afternoon, lightning struck the barn on the Gunn farm west of Esmond and tore off a number of boards but fortunately did not set fire to the building. After the lightning struck the Gunn property it seemed to jump to the R. J. Eychaner home next-door west, destroying eves and doing other damage.

The Haish Memorial Library which has been open each Sunday afternoon for reading purposes in the past will be closed on Sundays in the future. The closing is made necessary due to the situation created by the fuel rationing.

In the recreation room of the Ideal Commutator and Dresser Company on the south side of DeKalb hangs a large service flag containing a star for every man who has entered the service. Also in the same room will be found a large plaque on which the name of every man in service will be placed. The plaque and flag will ever call attention to other employees of the plant that many of their friends who were working alongside of them, now are fighting alongside others – for them.

Collection depots placed around the city of DeKalb seem to be experiencing trouble with petty thieves. One crate which has been installed on Fourth Street, similar to the one in front of the city hall, has had several large pieces of junk deposited in it and later found to be missing. One person deposited a worn-out tire in the container and while it was left out overnight, someone helped himself. The tire is worthless as far as use is concerned, and it is believed some youngster took it and sold it to a dealer in scrap for “show money.”

It appears DeKalb has its blackbirds to contend with and Sycamore has its sparrows, but in Sycamore’s case, the birds select the small tree at the entrance to the courthouse property at State and Maple streets. Yesterday morning it is estimated there were more than 2,000 birds in the tree, and rather than having a wintery look as is the case most of the day, it looked fully leafed. Efforts have been made to exterminate the birds but with little success.

1967 – 50 YEARS AGO

Approximately 600 members of Sycamore Local No. 1543 of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have gone on strike at Sycamore’s largest industry, Anaconda Wire and Cable Company.

Mohammad Ali, better known as Cassius Clay the deposed heavyweight boxing champ, was in DeKalb to speak at a closed meeting of the Afro American Cultural Organization at Northern Illinois University.

Notre Dame of DeKalb High School will become a co-educational institution next September when boys will be admitted to the new freshman class.

A 200-bed Package Disaster Hospital has been added to the Sandwich Community Hospital’s facility. The Package Disaster Hospital, otherwise known as PDH, will triple the present capability of the Sandwich community Hospital to handle casualties in time of major disaster.

A scale model of the new Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church to be erected on a ten-acre site adjacent to the Sycamore High School, was unveiled at the worship services last Sunday.

Six of the top ten places in the 1967 Section Six Future Farmers of America (FFA) Pioneer Corn Growing Contest were won by Sycamore High School FFA members.

1992 – 25 YEARS AGO

No American companies have made ice skating blades for over a half a century, but former skating champion Dan Nicholson of DANCO, in DeKalb, plants to change that. DANCO’s blades, now worn by Olympic and world champion skaters, will soon be manufactured in Sycamore.

More than 10,000 DeKalb County current and former residents will be honored when their names are added to the Northern Illinois Veterans Memorial in Kirkland.

It appears that theft, burglaries, assaults and batteries are going up in the county and reflecting a statewide trend.

The last apparent public dispute over the former DeKalb School District administration building appears to have been resolved with a court ruling awarding the building to Sycamore resident Hans VanBlyenburg.

President-elect Clinton, flanked by the top Democrats in Congress, pledged a “new era of cooperation and action” in Washington after 12 years of gridlock as Democrats work to solve the problems of the economy and health care.

• Compiled by the Joiner History Room, DeKalb County Archives.

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