Looking Back for May 8, 2024

Midwest Canning Company, better known as Del Monte, looking south down Maplewood Drive toward Taylor Street in DeKalb, 1935.

1924 – 100 Years Ago

With the announcement of the post office department that the night air mail service will be put into operations July 1, it is expected that the officials of the service will be along very shortly to have the revolving searchlight on the Knutson farm at McGirr ready to throw its beams into the air for the guidance of the night fliers. All the way across the continent there will be these revolving searchlights at convenient distances to guide the fliers. They are so located that when the flier passes one of them the light from the next one will be visible.

Through the efforts of a large force of men employed at the Power company, Fourth Street has been cleaned of gravel and sand at this time. The cement work for the tower is about completed. For a few days Fourth street between the highway and Grove Street was filled up with materials for the cement foundation of the tower, and traffic on that street was treacherous. Company officials urged that the work be taken care of quickly that the street might again be safely opened to traffic.

Although the old Palmer house has not yet been removed from the lot on Somonauk Street, workmen have started excavating in the rear of the building preparatory to the erection of the structure to be built by Emil Johnson of Sycamore. It was thought that the house as to be taken from the lot as soon as Mr. Palmer left, but a defect in the title of the lot where the building was to be moved has delayed the work. Several of the sheds that were in the rear of the house have been removed and some dirt has been taken out.

Genoa merchants have been fleeced out of $150 within the past few days, by one of the smoothest check forgers in county authorities have come in contact with in many months. A young fellow named Hoffman applied for work at the Elmer Peterson farm a short tie ago and at the end of a week, asked for some money with which to purchase clothing He evidently was an artist with the pen, when it came to copying signatures. Peterson gave the man a check for $15.00 and within a week ten of such checks had been paid by Genoa merchants and the check writer had left the city.

1949– 75 Years Ago

Chilly weather, developing during the night, necessitated a fire at the farm home northeast of town occupied by Frank Alms. An hour and a half after the fire was started the DeKalb fire department made a run to the place and prevented a roof fire from destroying the home. The fire was noticed by a truck driver going by the farm north of the piano factory road, a mile east of DeKalb. He notified members of the Alms family and the DeKalb department was summoned. A hole about four by eight feet in size was burned through the roof, with rafters being badly charred. Fire is believed to have started from sparks in the heating system.

Twenty-eight members of the Hinckley Woman’s Club motored to Dundee on Wednesday morning, May 4, where they enjoyed a conducted tour through the Haeger Potteries plant and later visited the Standard Wood Products Shop. Lunch was enjoyed at the Milk Pail ate the Fin and Feather Farm and later the women visited the Little Traveler in Geneva.

Marvin Wells and Chrles McDonough went to Rockford last evening to see Maurice Chamblee of Alabama, one of the ten best checkers experts in America, give his checker exhibition. Chamblee played 21 experts simultaneously. Player’s age ran from a six-year-old boy to men of 80. Johnson of Rockford, Kincade of Belvidere and McDonough of Sycamore, played even with him.

The Illinois State Museum’s Museumobile will be in front of the DeKalb city hall Sunday afternoon, May 8, where it will be open for inspection by the general public as well as school children from 1 until 5 o’clock

R. Kullman, a brakeman for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, has filed a damage suit in the Superior Court in Chicago, the suit being filed early this week. Kullman seeks $200,000 damages for injuries suffered while working as a brakeman near the Tenth street crossing in DeKalb. In the suit Kullman states that while acting as a flagman at the crossing in DeKalb he was hit by the tender of an engine. His legs were run over causing his serious and permanent injuries.

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union showed a film on alcohol before the high school assembly Monday. The first part of the film depicted the use of alcohol as a solvent and a dehydrate showing its use in industry and science. The second part showed its effects upon the human body.

1974 – 50 Years Ago

Further expansion of DeKalb’s city limits on the southwest side was approved by the Planning Commission. Two projects came before the planners and they gave their support to a 12-acre annexation. The site, adjourning the Peterson-Park Place subdivision, will include a restaurant, motel and recreational facilities. The second development had its public hearing and is expected to be acted upon during the June meeting. The approximately seven-acre proposal includes single and multiple family housing.

Faced with a shortage of licensed practical nurses (LPN’S), the DeKalb County Nursing Home hiked starting salaries from $2.05 per hour to $3. The nursing home, the largest health care facility in the county, had 15 PN’s early last year, but now is down to seven.

Out with the old, and in with the new. Workmen have taken down a house at the corner of First Street and Sycamore Road to make room for a new apartment building. Contractor Don Heilman said the site is zoned for a 14 unit building and construction is set to begin as soon as the debris is removed.

1999 - 25 Years Ago

With a record five DeKalb bars facing liquor hearings before Mayor Bessie Chronopoulos already this year, the questions many people are asking is “why?” According to some bar owners, there is no one to blame but themselves. Most bar owners contacted for this story put the blame on the bar owners and not the city for any perceived crackdown.

Thanks to a fast response from the Sycamore Fire Department, a Thursday night fire was less tragic than it could have been. At 11:30 p.m. Thursday, firefighters responded to a blaze in a second-floor condominium at 1565 W. Stonehenge. The fire was contained in approximately 10 minutes.

Brad Hauter, Guinness World Record attemptee, rode a lawnmower down Main Street in Sycamore past the DeKalb County Courthouse yesterday afternoon. Hauter is going for the record of driving the longest distance across the United States, about 4,500 miles.

As temperatures warm up, so does the pace of construction projects planned this summer in Genoa. Ground-breaking ceremonies for a McDonald’s restaurant will be held Monday, May 10 at the project site, the former Jim Miller Chevrolet facility on the north side of the Route 23/Route72 intersection.

– Compiled by Sue Breese

Sue Breese

Sue Breese is a DeKalb County area historian.