Looking Back

Looking Back for Jan. 2, 2019

North Western coal chutes east of DeKalb, 1911. Fire destroyed the chutes on July 14, 1927. City Hall reported complaints because of the high pressure of the water turned on in order to fight the fire, breaking many water pipes in the city. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.
North Western coal chutes east of DeKalb, 1911. Fire destroyed the chutes on July 14, 1927. City Hall reported complaints because of the high pressure of the water turned on in order to fight the fire, breaking many water pipes in the city. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.

1919 – 100 YEARS AGO

President Wilson is requested to begin negotiations for the purchase from Mexico of the Peninsula of Lower California in a resolution introduced today by Senator Ashurst of Arizona. Ashurst also introduced a resolution directing the war department to investigate claims of American citizens growing out of damage to property by Mexican bandits since December 1, 1912.

Methodist and Congregational churches in Sycamore have hit on a unique plan for the winter months. They will unite in the Sunday evening services. This movement is in the spirit of fraternalism for the purpose of economy. Fuel bills will be greatly reduced by this new plan. It will be the duty of the pastor of the church in which the service is being held, to organize a strong and popular musical program, while the visiting pastor will deliver the message of the evening.

Ralph R. Roberts of Waterman, one of the U.S. army birds, had a holiday furlough of ten days. The time was divided between Sycamore and Waterman relatives. It was in the early summer Ralph was inducted into the aviation service, training at first at Rantoul, but now at Ellington field, Houston, Tex. His progress has been rapid and he takes to wings fine, making air trips most every day, is enthusiastic over the work, and only regrets that he was not over there.

DeKalb people, who were returning from Chicago New Year’s night were over an hour late in reaching home, because of a series of mishaps to a freight train west of West Chicago. A drawbar pulled out of one of the heavily laden cars and the crew found it necessary to pull the fire part of the train to Geneva, backing up for the rest of the train. They had no more than started when another draw bar pulled out and the performance had to be repeated. As a result, passenger trains Nos. 27 and 11 were held behind the stalled train and were very late in reaching DeKalb.

Once more it looks as though you may sneeze without having people look askance or run away from you. The health officer today reported only three cases of flu. The situation here the last few days seems much relieved. Weather seems to make no difference. It may be hot, it may be cold, but flu comes just the same. However, physicians believe now that they have the matter will in hand.

1944 – 75 YEARS AGO

DeKalb County had eight traffic fatalities last year, nearly three times as many as in 1942 when but three people lost their lives in traffic accidents.

Harley Self, district superintendent of the state highway department, stated today this was the first January in fourteen years of continuous service he has not had crews out plowing snow. The highway official further stated that the manpower shortage had hit his working department rather hard and he is going to be facing a real problem if this district should receive a heavy fall of snow.

“Jumping doctors” of the U.S. Medical Corps must be qualified parachutists, as they jump with the men and set up aid stations in combat areas occupied by paratroops.

For the second time in as many days residents in the vicinity of the pump house on Harvester street in Sycamore felt their homes shake and wondered if the city was being bombarded or there was an earthquake. The reason of the supposed tremors is the work of expert users of nitro glycerine and dynamite who have been brought here by the Central Illinois Light company officials, to open the old well at the pumping station.

Moving operations for the Underwood Cleaning Shop and Otto Fellinger began over the weekend and the Underwood shop hopes to be able to resume business the latter part of the week, although the new place will not be settled according to the owners’ liking for several days. Otto Fellinger began moving his fixtures to the building formerly occupied by the Underwoods and still has much work to do, before he can resume business. The Love building which was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Underwood has been altered considerably and when completed, will provide much more needed room for their business.

Through the activities of the DeKalb Chapter of the American Red Cross, arrangements are rapidly being completed to make available another course in Home Nursing for the women of the community. The course is of particular value at this time when a shortage of nurses throws the responsibility of caring for the ill upon those in the home. The aim of the Red Cross is to have at least one person trained in the care of the sick in every home.

Dick Snow, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Snow, of Aurora, who spent the holiday week here with his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Snow, returned to his home Sunday evening. The young man appeared to have as much fun over the holiday as any other of the youngsters in the neighborhood, even though his arm was in a sling due to a fracture.

1969 – 50 YEARS AGO

The Sandwich Historical Society will hold an Open House at their museum in the Stone Mill, Sunday. The Sandwich Historical Society’s Industrial Museum is located in the “Old Mill” on East Railroad Street. While the museum is not complete, and many of the items now owned by the Society need considerable refurnishing, it was decided to hold the Open House to acquaint the public with what the museum is and will be.

The toboggan slide at Hopkins Park has been well used since the snow Saturday. The near zero temperatures made the snow ideal for sledding and many took advantage in spite of red cheeks and noses.

Wondering what to do with your Christmas tree now that the holidays are over? If you don’t want to keep your tree up all year, you can have it picked up by the DeKalb Street Department. The street department will begin picking up discarded Christmas trees Monday.

Railroad sleeping cars, operated for 110 years by the Pullman Co., are now in the hands of the 34 railroads which still pull them. On New Year’s Day, Pullman ceased providing conductors, porters, linens and maintenance service for the cars.

1994 – 25 YEARS AGO

This year’s top story was the DeKalb teachers’ strike which started Sept. 1 and kept 3,800 students out of school for 12 days. Salaries, benefits and language disagreements were at the crux of the dispute between DeKalb Board of Education and the DeKalb Classroom Teachers’ Association.

Genoa city officials are looking over several recommendations made by the Genoa Plan Commission for the second largest subdivision proposed in Genoa’s history. Willow Glen met with the approval of the Genoa plan commission at its recent meeting. The commission finalized the recommendation to the city council for the approval of the preliminary plat.

Members of the DeKalb Fire Department respond with their ladder truck as a historical home on Somonauk Street in Sycamore burns. Three fire departments gave Sycamore mutual aid. It took the four departments nearly two hours to snuff the blaze. The fire is believed to have started on the second floor and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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

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