Looking Back

Looking Back for Sept. 16, 2020

Chicago, Aurora, and DeKalb Electric building at the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.
Chicago, Aurora, and DeKalb Electric building at the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.

1920 – 100 YEARS AGO

Is DeKalb to have a fairgrounds? While there seems to be no particular head of a movement for a fairground for the last few days the talk has been more and more on this line and there is a big chance that it will crop out in a movement. The argument has been, if Sandwich, which is not located on any main road either highway or railroad, can draw a 20,000 crowd that would this city draw if fairgrounds were located here? The argument is a good one and is causing more than one person to think it over.

Mushrooms are growing again and a large number of people have been busy for the past few days out picking the tasty morsel. While a man may “loosen up” and tell you a good many secrets there is one thing that he keeps to himself and that is a mushroom spot. According to the men who have been out, the little plants are very numerous this year and it is very little trouble to get a mess in a short time.

The flour mill will start turning over its wheels the latter part of next week according to Tom Roberts, head of the agricultural association here. However, this does not mean that flour will be put on sale immediately because of the fact that a large amount of experimenting will have to be done to see what blend of wheat makes the best flour. This will take some time and it is not expected that flour can be put on sale before Nov. 1.

Hugh Price, who works for Lee Devitt of Hinckley, had what came very near to being a serious accident last night on the South Fourth street road as he was taking the last turn in the road on his way to DeKalb. Another car was coming from the north and had very poor headlights. Mr. Price knew that the corner was very near but did not think that it was quite as close as it was. He had turned way out and in doing so overran the road and struck the culvert. No one in the car was injured but the car was quite badly smashed.

Fire Chief McEvoy and a couple of the firemen had to make a run this morning about five o’clock to the big tank of the gas company which is located on 13th Street. It seems that the big tank has to have a certain amount of water on top of it to keep the gas from escaping. This water had evaporated and the gas men had no way of getting more up there. The firemen were called and one truck was sent up and a lead of hose soon had the necessary water on top of the tank.

1945 – 75 YEARS AGO

The new factory addition at Ideal Commutator Dresser Company’s Park Avenue location begins to take final form. B. E Holub, general sales manager of the company, recently announced that good progress has been made on the construction.

The Sycamore fire department answered an emergency call to the residence at 835 Esther Avenue. The call came in about noon, and was occasioned by gas leaking from an electric refrigerator. The refrigerator was carried to the yard, the house aired, and the emergency was over.

The pennant-winning Milwaukee Brewers were back in the running in the post-season playoffs after winning a 4 to 3 overtime contest from the Louisville Colonels.

With every effort being made to can the tremendous amount of corn and beans growing in this vicinity, extra help is urgently needed at the DeKalb plant of the California Packing Corporation. Forty women are required at the present time to assist in the canning of beans and corn, which will last another four weeks. The work is similar to that in a home kitchen, but is highly essential as the more food that is canned at the DeKalb plant during the present pack, the more will be available during the winter months on the shelves of the grocery stores.

Ex-sergeant Bernard W. Schnorr was issued two tires by the rationing board, borrowing others from the family, and has gone to work. Schnorr left Shabbona in 1942 as a farm hand, came back a few days ago as a mechanic. Finding the tires on the car worthless he left in the garage three and a half years ago, he had been informed by the rationing board that no tires were available. To work at his new trade he had to have tires. It develops that the board found it possible to give him a certificate for two tires, and that he was able to borrow two from his family. So he has gone to work at his new army-given occupation of engine mechanic.

1970 – 50 YEARS AGO

The crane used to construct the 16-story senior citizen high rise in DeKalb was recently dismantled. The building will soon be inspected and is scheduled to be opened in late fall.

A colorful 1920 windmill has been erected at the Sandwich fairgrounds to pump water and create the old farm atmosphere near the livestock area. Donated by the Roy LaBolle family,
the right inch fan device develops .53 horsepower in a 20-mile-per-hour wind. It is 45 feet tall and was built by the Aermotor Company of Chicago.

Discussion at the DeKalb County Board of Supervisors meeting centered on the financial difficulties in running the County Nursing Home. A special eight-month audit report was given for this year on the home showing that the home was losing $2.29 per day on each patient and that during the first eight months there was a deficit of $73,095.66.

The state Attorney General’s office has pledged support to DeKalb citizens who are faced with the loss of passenger train service with the proposed discontinuance of the Chicago & North Western “Kate Shelley” train in December.

1995 – 25 YEARS AGO

Concerns about overcrowding in the apartment-dominated, northwest side of DeKalb has slowed as progress on an annexation agreement for a new development in the area. The DeKalb City Council approved an amended agreement for the Pappas Park development on first reading last night, reducing the number of apartment units allowed per acre under the original plan.

The DeKalb City Council has authorized spending $218,550 for the purchase of navigation easements, or air rights, from nine of 18 property owners in Cortland’s Woodland Acres subdivision affected by the airport expansion plan.

State Rep. David Wirsing said recent speculation on interest in converting land in the Shabbona area to Native American tribal status is “a lot of smoke but very little fire,” for now. No official attempt is being made to purchase land in and around Lake Shabbona State Park to establish a Native American reservation for the purpose of casino gambling.

– Compiled by Sue Breese

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