Looking Back

Looking Back for Oct. 14, 2020

The original welcome gate at Northern Illinois University on West Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.
The original welcome gate at Northern Illinois University on West Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. Thanks to the Joiner History Room for the photo.

1920 – 100 YEARS AGO

According to reports, there is plenty of coal on the Sycamore road near Electric Park since an auto struck a load that was being taken to Sycamore last night. The autoist was going slow but in turning the corner at the Park it made a mistake in calculating the distance of the wagon and the result was that two rear wheels on the wagon were taken off. The auto was not badly damaged and the driver of the wagon was uninjured. The wagon was fixed late this afternoon and continued on its trip.

“Moonshine” whiskey is thought to be the cause of a man seeing double last night causing some people in the eastern part of the city to send in a call for the police. The wagon was on the job in a minute but, in spite of the fact that the officers looked all over for the supposed drunk, no trace of him could be found.áThe number of people being reported for being intoxicated is on the increase all of the time even though the states are supposed to be dry.

Quite a little excitement was created today at the corner of Second Street and Lincoln Highway when one of the valves in the hydrant on the corner broke and water started to fly in every direction. A cloth covering was soon put over the hydrant which kept the water from flying and striking pedestrians. It is expected that the damage will be repaired this afternoon.

The question that is paramount in the minds of a good many people at the present time is whether or not DeKalb is to have a public school nurse who will make a thorough examination of the students every so often to see whether or not any contagious diseases are prevalent among them.

Passengers on the seven o’clock train last evening were delayed from reaching this city by about half an hour when a switch engine at Cortland jumped the track and blocked the main line. After about half an hour of hard work, the yard men were able to get it back on the track again and the passenger service was able to start up again.

The new telephone directories are being received today and a large number of changes have been made in the new books.áMore than 200 new subscribers are in the new book which is about the greatest increase the company has had in some time. The old directories were about “shot” as so many people have moved here and their names were not in the old books.

1945 – 75 YEARS AGO

Although an accident did not develop, all possibilities were present when it is believed a youngster riding in a car fired a bean from one of the popular plastic shooters, into the eye of another driver.áThe incident happened on Route 72 west of Hampshire, with Donald Stollof Clare driving west. A car passed him and as it went by a bean was fired, hitting Mr. Stollof in the eye. Although he was able to keep the car under control and avoid an accident, he did receive injuries.

The fact that the courthouse street number in Sycamore is 133 W. State St. is not generally known, even among courthouse officers and clerks, came to a sharp focus. A humorous side to the realization is that it was a letter from Sweden written entirely in Swedish but a perfectly composed English address that brought forth the courthouse street number.

Sycamore contractors are buying lumber at mills set up this year in the Kirkland forest area. This is of interest for several reasons. One is that most people think of Oregon, Wisconsin or maybe Georgia when they think of the purchase of lumber outside of local lumber yards. The other outstanding element is that the forest land thus cleared will eventually be a lake it is hoped.

Closing the hemp mill at Polo leaves the mills at Shabbona and Kirkland as the only ones still operating in this vicinity.áThe Polo mill, which processed 16,000 tons of hemp straw since it opened on Nov. 20, 1943, has been closed.

Fire, which is believed to have started in a defective chimney beneath the roof, did considerable damage at the Ralph Gletty home in Somonauk. The fire was discovered shortly before noon and had gained a strong headway in the attic.áThe entire roof was burned from the home and the lower portion of the house was badly damaged from flames, smoke and water.

There was an accident at the Suydam church corners Sunday in Victor Township. The blame seems to be that the stop sign had been knocked over and strangers driving across the cement do not realize that the stop should be made. A second mishap was narrowly avoided while the wrecks were being removed for the same reason.

1970 – 50 YEARS AGO

The Village of Waterman and City of Dixon may not have been aware that they were the victims of a “simulated” nuclear attack but DeKalb Civil Defense workers were down in their basement emergency operations headquarters “directing the people in seeking shelter from radiation fallout.” The simulated attack was part of an emergency exercise conducted by the University of Illinois Department Of Civil Defense for some 50 local area CD workers who would actually take over the underground headquarters in time of natural disaster or nuclear attack on this country.

Singer Janis Joplin whose husky, near-shouting vocal style propelled her to the top of the pop charts, was found dead at her apartment late Sunday.

The first 17 property owners and their tenants have been notified in the downtown area that their land and structures are eventually to be acquired in the first phase of the city’s urban renewal project.

The Governor’s office has approved the use of Illinois Building Authority funds for the acquisition of land for the Shabbona Lake and state park project. á

1995 – 25 YEARS AGO

GET has announced that ground water around an underground, chemical storage facility in Genoa is contaminated. The storage facility, located in the middle of what is now a parking lot at the northwest corner of First and Duval streets, was a 15 feet by 15 feet concrete structure originally built in 1942. The facility, now filled in with dirt, has four concrete walls and a floor of limestone that does not meet the walls.

If you work in DeKalb County, the odds are better than 50-50 that your pocketbook is touched, directly or indirectly, by Northern Illinois University. That conclusion comes from a new study of NIU’s economic impact on the county and the region.

Eddie Williams has heard enough rumors about his Eden’s Garden development on Twombly Road, and has sent a letter to city hall to set the record straight. Williams’s letter stressed the 122-unit duplex development is not low-income or subsidized housing, and is not a Section 8 or Housing and Urban Development project. Williams also said Eden’s Garden is not being built to solve a different city’s housing problems. Williams was referring to rumors that the project was designed to ease the housing burden of the Chicago Housing Authority.

–áCompiled by Sue Breese

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