Looking Back for May 1, 2024

DeKalb Agricultural Association trucks lined up in front of company headquarters at Fifth and Pine streets in DeKalb, 1948.

1924 – 100 Years Ago

Work on the new cooling tower for the Illinois Power Company is moving along with leaps and bounds at this time. The frame work for the foundation for the tower has been placed leveled and is ready for the cement. It is expected that the cement will be poured tomorrow at the latest. The tower is going to be much larger than at first expected. It will be erected on a large concrete base about six feet high and nearly three feet thick, making it most substantial.

Home owners on West Lincoln Highway, those just west of the Normal bridge, have been unusually busy for several days, filling in and grading their lawns. With the aid of a Fordson tractor and C. B. Broughton, the work has been attended to with apparent ease over the old method of making a lawn.

People driving to town and not being able to park on the main street have found places to leave their machines on side street several complaints have been heard about the matter and the residents near the highway are becoming tried of fixing the parking, only to have it trampled by careless people. At one home considerable money had been expended in spading the parking and planting grass seed after the damage done last year. Last evening a Ford, carrying a capacity load stopped in front of the newly spaded spot and this morning it was found necessary to have the work done again.

After several weeks of preparation C. W. Gonterman today announces that he will have a formal opening of his jewelry and gift shop Saturday from ten o’clock in the morning until nine o’clock in the evening.

Starting a fire in the furnace, which did not seem to function as it should caused a fire scare among the residents in the home at 335 South First Street in DeKalb about 10:30 today. The fire department was called, but there was nothing for the men to do except give the property the once over for safety’s sake. Within ten minutes time both pieces of apparatus had returned to the station.

Following the installation of the underground wire service from beyond First street to the YD tower, the Western Union Telegraph company has now started to take down the overhead wires. Two men are stationed on the ground near Fourth street and several are stationed on the poles along the route. The wires are released from the insulators and wound on the spool. It is reported that this task will take the employees of the company several days to completed, on account of the large number of the wire to be removed.

1949– 75 Years Ago

Jaywalkers in the city of DeKalb are becoming a nuisance and city authorities are now considering the matter of making the practice a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine for the first offense, and a fine and jail sentence for the second offense. Jaywalking has reached a point in this city where it is dangerous. Not only dangerous for the people who do it, but dangerous for auto drivers.

With a couple of carloads of furniture arriving yesterday, the new pool room to be started under the Wright store will soon be ready for business. A new floor has been placed in the basement and several other improvements made, ready for the occupancy of the new business. It is reported that a man from Morris, Ill., has leased the basement, planning to operate an up-to-the minute billiard and pool hall.

After weeks of investigating and discussion the property known as the Waterman block on the southeast corner of State and Maple Street was sold to W. E. Owbridge, theatre manager of Sycamore. Several weeks ago, it was understood that the property was to be sold to Mr. Owbridge, but this rumor was soon followed by the announcement that there were several conflicts in the title that would have to be rectified before the sale could be made. The only lease in the building at the present time which extends over a long period is that held by Uno T. Anderson, who has a small room in the rear of the Abstract office and the Rogers and Smith store, which he uses as a tin shop.

On Saturday, 40 Woodcrafters of the high school left DeKalb by auto bus for Starved Rock. On the way they stopped in the grove near Shabbona to see the place where the famous Chief Shabbona once lived. At the village of Shabbona Grove, the old Indian burial ground was pointed out. Near there, also was seen the Husk cabin where Shabbona was often a visitor in early days. The party next stopped at Shabbona park, near Earlville. This region is now a state park and its beauty should make it a real tourist camping place of the first order.

1974 – 50 Years Ago

Construction in DeKalb, Sycamore and other communities of northern Illinois was halted today in the wake of a midnight walkout by members of the North Central Illinois Laborers District Council. The walkout covers heavy construction, highway projects and buildings in DeKalb, Winnebago, Ogle and Lee counties.

Having trouble getting a liquor license? Move out of the city into the county government’s jurisdiction. The country has no limit on the number of licenses it can issue.

Legislation to restore passenger train service to DeKalb now has backers in both the state Senate and House of Representatives.

Sarah Shearer of the Compton Pony Club demonstrated horsemanship during a two-day seminar sponsored by the Learning Exchange. Several resource persons volunteered their time for two days of demonstrations and discussions on vocations and avocations. Ms. Shearer and her horse Whiskey, presented the demonstration Friday at Rosette Middle School.

A fire started under the hood of a Sycamore school bus about 3:25pm. Friday at the corner of Exchange and California streets. The bus was filled with students from Central School and on its way to the high school. The students evacuated the bus and one student reported the fire.

1999 - 25 Years Ago

Around the county Friday, thousands of students stayed home and some schools closed because of rumors and threats of violence, some of them tied to the 54th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s suicide. Threats, warnings of rumors of bloodshed have swept communities across the country ever since the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. The attack was timed to coincide with Hitler’s birthday.

Time Warner Cable has begun field work on a technology upgrade that will expand its local cable system from 64 channels to a fiber-optic 84-channel system.

Although the month for recognizing Volunteer Workers has come to a close, the spirit of volunteering remains alive and well in the hearts and deeds of many. Indeed, this is the case for many of Opportunity House’s clients, who have established an extensive Volunteer Work Program as part of their Developmental Training Program.

When DeKalb police executed a search warrant at the Sigma Chi fraternity house Tuesday, they were looking for a stolen cordless phone, stereo printer, ash tray and sunglasses. Instead, they found 30 potted marijuana plants in the dumpster behind the house.

Compiled by Sue Breese

Sue Breese

Sue Breese is a DeKalb County area historian.