1919 – 100 YEARS AGO
Dandelions were in bloom today on the Methodist lawn. Dandelions become pests late in the spring, but they are brave bits of cheer at this time of the year.
William McKenzie of Elkhart, Ind., wired Chief of Police Riddell late yesterday afternoon to ask his assistance in locating his wife, Mrs. Blanche McKenzie. The Elkhart man stated his wife had been among the missing for several days past and had been informed that she journeyed to DeKalb. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of the Indiana woman will offer a favor by notifying Chief Riddell at the city hall.
This forenoon a large number of farmers of the vicinity attended the tractor school of instruction, which was held across the street from the Carlson & Anderson implement house on North Second Street. The International Harvester company sends out a man to explain the various merits of the machine and also give owners pointers on how to run them economical, and profitably with the least trouble.
During the many years of service on the police force, Sid Rowe had never happened to be in the fire station at the time an alarm was received until yesterday morning. The officer generally makes it to the station several times a day for an argument or two, but had always been too late to get a ride from the station, when the gang would answer an alarm. The call yesterday morning to the East Locust fire came in just as the officer was going in the door.
Yesterday afternoon following the fire on South Second Street it was learned that a little delay was caused because people of that neighborhood did not remember how to turn in an alarm. If one sees a house afire, don’t wait to tell the people living in the home of it, but first call central and say to her: “Fire at John Brown’s, 426 Smith Street.” Giving the name of the people living there and the correct street address slowly and distinctly. The operator will use a special circuit to notify the fire department.
Fifteen years ago on February 3, 1904, under the city administration of M. J. Henaughan, the paid fire department of the city of DeKalb was organized, the chief and four men removing some of the equipment from hose house number two to the present station, which had been built for the purpose. The personnel of the department at the time of its organization consisted of a chief and four men. William H. Miller, chief, Hans Erickson, M. H. McEvoy, Charles Butt and James Klock. William Walt, who is now captain of the department took up his work June 1 of the same year, and the two heads of the department have been with it since its founding.
1944 – 75 YEARS AGO
Reports were heard about the street yesterday that a movement is underway whereby a group of young people from the Sycamore High School is planning to take over the activities at the Sycamore Community Center, provided they receive the sanction of the school officials and that of the recreation commission. The plans are embryonic as yet, but the names heard in various places along the street are from prominent families in the city and should make a success of the venture.
Due to the fact there has been no snow, the city street department has been able to keep DeKalb’s streets cleaner than usual for this time of the year. Harry Taylor, superintendent of streets, and his crews have been out with the big sweeper and the push brooms, and the business section thoroughfares have been kept in much better condition than generally found at this time of the year.
Sycamore’s water troubles soon will be over. Some time ago, the Central Illinois Light Company brought dynamite experts here and with the use of dynamite and nitroglycerine, the old well of the city which had not been used for nearly two decades again was opened up. While the well at this time is not in actual operation, it is expected that it will be ready within the next few days. The pump has been connected and trial tests of the well have been made which proved satisfactory in every detail.
A story appearing in a New York paper telling of the 80th birthday of Charles W. Nash, former president of the General Motors and Nash Motors and founder-chairman of the Nash Kelvinator Corporation, is of interest in this locality. Mr. Nash was born on a farm in DeKalb County. His birthday was celebrated on January 28 at Los Angeles. Mr. and Mrs. Nash will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in April. He started his career building wagons and carriages and later entered the automobile industry. In 1912 he headed the General Motors and in 1916 started Nash Motors and in 1937 along with G. W. Mason negotiated the Nash-Kelvinator merger.
1969 – 50 YEARS AGO
DeKalb business, industrial, and governmental leaders welcomed Gov. Richard Ogilvie’s announcement that the East-West Tollway will be extended west from Aurora. Several of the civic leaders called the proposed tollway extension to DeKalb and west toward the Iowa border “great.”
Constant thawing and freezing, coupled with rains, forced emergency repairs on the Chicago and North Western crossing at Lincoln Highway. Crews of the railroad were out leveling the tracks and bringing the crossing planking up to grade.
The DeKalb School District 428 Board of Education managed to trim enough money from construction costs to approve the awarding of the high school addition contract totaling $1,169,405. The Tyler elementary school contract, totaled $676,130. Tyler school is expected to be open sometime next November.
The Stone Mill Museum of the Sandwich Historical Society was open to the public for the second time. Visitors were registered from Aurora, Mendota, Morris, Oswego and the nearby towns. The interest shown in the exhibits by the many young people was particularly pleasing to the Society officials.
Fog hasn’t bothered construction workers in the DeKalb area. Men working on the new Art building on Glidden Field go right on building forms and pouring concrete at the building site, not paying much attention to the gray that surround them.
1994 – 25 YEARS AGO
Despite strong community opposition, the Sycamore City Council approved a petition for a special use permit to allow St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church to build a 4,900 square foot addition. A parking controversy stems from the church not having any off-street parking. Neighbors claim the church expansion will create an increase in traffic in the neighborhood and will aggravate the parking situation.
The DeKalb Plan Commission held a workshop session at their regularly scheduled meeting to discuss the provisions of a proposed development at the southwest corner of Annie Glidden Road and Taylor Street. Steve Irving wants to develop the 52-acre site which would accommodate approximately 140 single-family homes and 20 duplexes. Irving had agreed to dedicate a 2-acre parcel as city property for use as a location for a fourth fire station in the future.
Ice and winds are being blamed for leaving hundreds of Commonwealth Edison customers in southeast DeKalb County and northeast LaSalle County in the dark and without power. Commonwealth Edison officials said as of 9 a.m., approximately 600 customers in the Sandwich, Somonauk, Plano and Lake Holiday areas were still without power, but that it should have been restored by mid-afternoon.
• Compiled by the Joiner History Room, DeKalb County Archives.