Looking Back

Looking Back for July 3, 2019

American Steel & Wire Company in DeKalb, 1940. Construction of the building was completed in 1881 and was occupied until the mid 1930s. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.
American Steel & Wire Company in DeKalb, 1940. Construction of the building was completed in 1881 and was occupied until the mid 1930s. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.

1919 – 100 YEARS AGO

A marked decrease in the number of people brought before the DeKalb county court for sanity tests, is reported by county officials. As this noticeable decrease appears to date from the cessation of the war, it is believed to be due to a relief from the nervous strain experienced by humanity during the progress of the war.

Just to give readers of The Chronicle an idea of how extensive this road improvement work really is, let it be said that several kitchens on wheels are now being erected by the DeKalb Wagon company. Until these wheeled kitchens are completed there will not be many men put to work along the highway, according to some of the fellows who are watching the work closely.

Some of these fine days a whirring airplane will swoop down to the front door of the Vaile & O’Malley clothing store and deposit two or three suits of Society Brand clothing on the pavement while the driver “cranks her up” and starts for the next stop. Alfred, Decker & Conn, the Chicago firm that makes the Society Brand of clothing, have just announced their inauguration of the world’s first aeroplane express service by which they are going to deliver goods to their patrons.

Painters began working on the Knights of Columbus building yesterday and today, on the exterior, and the windows, and other fixtures will be touched up a bit. The members of the council are beginning to get impatient about the furniture for the lodge room and had hoped to have it here some time the fore part of this month. Until the rest of the furniture arrives, the date of the dedication of the new building cannot be definitely fixed.

The Ashelford car was left standing on the street until three o’clock this morning without any lights burning, and the night patrolman not knowing to whom the car belonged, “pinched” it. The car was taken to the Quinn garage and as it is a violation of the ordinances to leave a car without lights, it will probably cost the owner a small fine for his carelessness.

The three Swanson boys, Harry, Elmer and Paul, are all at the taxicab work now, with the return here last week of Soldier Harry. The boys have added another car to the service and with the three drivers will be able to make the service top-notch. Their slogan, “The barn without a key” will be followed out to the letter in the taxi work from now on with the three at work.

1944 – 75 YEARS AGO

Now that Hopkins Park has again become a mecca for both grownups and youngsters for the summer season, Chief of Police Ben Peck calls attention to the necessity of using the sidewalk in walking to and from the park.  It seems that many prefer to walk on the highway, and this is a very dangerous practice and one, which if continued, may result in a bad accident and possible loss of life.

During the past ten days about 450 yards of gravel have been placed down the roadways in Hopkins Park and after the grading work was completed the roads are now in fine shape. An order has been placed for Calcium Chloride, and if this order is filled, it will be spread on the roads as in past years in order to alleviate the dust conditions. All of the grass at the park has been cut and the entire area is in top shape for the picnic season at the present time. With the mowing completed at Hopkins Park it was planned to start cutting the grass at Annie’s Woods today.

Sycamore Preserve Works at this time is busy vining and processing the first pea pack, and many extra people are employed at the industry on the south side of the city. Many more outside workers are expected here before the end of the week in an effort to harvest every parcel of land planted to peas. The crop this year is not as heavy as last year, although the contracts for the processed foods are as large.

Unless hungry birds devour fruit this year, indications in this vicinity are there will be a heavy crop of cherries. Trees were heavily loaded with blossoms earlier and now the green cherries are beginning to take on a reddish hue. If the present crop is not destroyed by birds or the elements, there will be many bushels of the fruit picked during the next few weeks.

Employees and officials of The Rudolph Wurlitzer Manufacturing Company, DeKalb Division, are this afternoon being honored with the presentation of the Army-Navy “E” award. This presentation is being made at the DeKalb Egyptian theatre at 4:30 o’clock with employees and their families expected to fill the theatre to capacity for the 30-minute program.

1969 – 50 YEARS AGO

The public hearing held by the city planning commission to discuss the special use permit for constructing a high-rise for the elderly being sought by the DeKalb County Housing Authority resulted in no action by the commission after the close of the hearing.

Approximately 170 miles of roadside in DeKalb County has been sprayed in an effort to combat the growth of marijuana and other noxious weeds springing up in the county.

Did the farmer goof? No, the farmer didn’t “goof” when he planted a corn field along Sycamore Road between DeKalb and Sycamore. He purposely skipped six rows between each of the visible pairs of rows. The unusual pattern is part of the process DeKalb AgResearch, Inc. must use to product its single cross seed corn.

The search continues for a trace of John Pigott, 31, DeKalb farmer who was lost when a fishing boat capsized under a small waterfall in southern Canada.

A comprehensive report on fire station needs through 1985 will be presented to the city council tonight for their consideration. Proposed in the report is the immediate abandonment of the existing Station No. 1 located (since 1904) on Fourth Street just north of Lincoln Highway since it is impossible to expand at that site and the existing structure shows signs of major deterioration, besides being inadequate for the number of men and vehicles housed there.

1994 – 25 YEARS AGO

Speculation as to where the Target Discount Store will be built in DeKalb has finally been laid to rest. The company announced they have decided to build the new store on the original site for the project on Sycamore Road across from the Northland Plaza.

Kishwaukee Collage is going “on-line” this fall, offering its first “distance learning” class.

Chicago Bulls center Bill Cartwright will be at the NIU Field House for the Becky Parker fundraiser. Parker, a 15-year old former basketball player at Malta High School, is suffering from a form of cancer that often strikes in the teenage years.

DeKalb County has 942 of the 77,610 farms in Illinois in 1992, with an average size of 401 acres, just above the 351-acre state average, according to the recently released agriculture census compiled by the Commerce Department.

Downtown DeKalb received a good dose of economic news with the announcement that one of the nation’s largest retail drug stores will open a store in DeKalb next year. Walgreen’s had reached an agreement to open a store at the southwest corner of Lincoln Highway and South First Street.

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

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