Looking Back for May 22, 2024

Junction Eating Place Lincoln Highway in DeKalb is seen in January 1984.

1924 – 100 Years Ago

Fire starting from sparks from the chimney damaged the home of Quarton Harrison on John Street to the extent of about $300 late yesterday afternoon, the flames getting headway before being discovered. A. W. Marvin came out of doors to see which way the wind was blowing, and glancing up to the chimney of the Harrison home saw the roof blazing. The south side of the roof was burned to some extent.

Many members of the DeKalb Garden club motored to Downers Grove today where they were privileged to inspect the Morton Arboretum, which is under construction there and will not be completed for a year or more. The Morton Arboretum will rival in magnitude even the famous Kew Gardens of London and the Arnold Arboretum of Boston. It will be situated on a 400-acre plot near Lisle, Ill.

Work was started today on the building for the filling station to be operated by Corey & So, on West Lincoln Highway, at the intersection of John Street. The ground was staked out this morning and it is expected that building operations will be pushed rapidly that the station may be opened at the earliest time. Work on the station at the east limits being erected by the Texaco company is being given the stucco finish today.

The school children of Waterman marched to the park Tuesday morning to see the small old-style engine which the Northern Pacific is sending to Chicago for exhibition purposes. Quite a crowd of curious spectators were also out. The little old-style engine presented a gay appearance in its new dress of paint. It passed through Waterman about ten o’clock and was followed about 15 minutes later by a modern up-to-date five drive wheel engine. John Mercer thought the old type vividly recalled old times to him as he rode on the first engine that went through Clinton Township in the year 1870.

A special meeting of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce has been called for Friday noon at the Innovation in order that a demonstration of the “talking and singing doll” a product which it is proposed to manufacture in DeKalb, may be demonstrated to the business men. The invention and present owners of the device will be presented and submit their proposition to members of the chamber. No stock will be sold or subscriptions presented at the meeting.

1949– 75 Years Ago

The trustees of the Genoa Township Cemetery are requesting the public to co-operate with them in reducing traffic in the drives at the Genoa Cemetery during Memorial Day week end by entering the cemetery on Sycamore Street and leaving by the Locust Street entrance.

Poppy Day will be observed on May 27 and 28, Friday and Saturday when poppies will be sold by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliaries. Auxiliaries announce that 7,000 poppies, made by disabled veterans in the hospitals throughout the nation, have been sent to Sycamore to be sold. Only the veterans who made these poppies receive pay for this work and when the people of the community buy these poppies it is their way of thanking the service men for what they did for the entire nation.

Words of four letters and less made-up 50 percent of adult writing, a professor of education reveals. Dr. Ernest Horn, professor of education at the University of Iowa, in an article for Childcraft books, writes that I, the, and, to, a, you, of, in, we and for make up about 25 percent of adult writing. Horn based his article on a survey of 5,000,000 words written by adults. However, Horn said the average American six-year-old has a 2,000-word vocabulary.

The Flying Farmers are taking to the air again. This time it’s to service at the Suydam Methodist Church five miles northeast of Leland and six miles northwest of Sandwich along Route 23 on Sunday, May 22.

Monday afternoon of each week has been selected as the time by the Odd Fellows, and the fire and police departments when boys and girls may have scotchlite tape put on their bicycles. As a safety measure for those riding bicycles, the Odd Fellows have donated the tape to put on the bikes so that they may be seen at night by motorists.

The railroad “boxcar miracle” is easing the housing shortage in southern Idaho. Homeless persons are buying abandon boxcars at from $75 to $100. The weather-proof old cars are then transported to a home site. A cement foundation makes them livable. Rail boxcar “homeowners” say the wheels have salvage value. It takes only a few hundred dollars to convert a boxcar to a home.

Over 200 attended the open house at the Hinckley Grade School at which time all the new improvements were admired and approved.

1974 – 50 Years Ago

Most of the 40 or so persons who attended last night’s public hearing on the proposed bypass road sat and listened. But of those who spoke, most were against the road. Two main objections surfaced at the hearing, held by the County Boards Highway Committee to get citizen input to help it make its recommendation to the full County Board. The main objections were: Cost of the nine and one-half mile road should not be borne entirely by the county and maintenance of existing county roads would suffer it the bypass road were built.

Memorial Day, 1974, is becoming a very difficult day to remember. Confusion reigns, with much of the public asking “When is Memorial Day?” Traditionally, the holiday falls on May 30. However, changes in federal and state law created a situation in which the federal government observes My 27 as a legal holiday and Illinois observes Memorial Day on May 30.

Who will succeed Mel Shaw as lieutenant in charge of corrections in the sheriff’s department? According to sheriff’s Merit Commission regulations, only department members who have been sergeants for at least two years are eligible. In DeKalb County, only four are eligible. They are Roger Davis, Roger Scott, Harold Overton and George B. Shaw, all patrol sergeants.

1999 - 25 Years Ago

For the last three years, residents of The Meadows subdivision have seen their homes devalued and were forced to pay hundreds of dollars of flood insurance annually, all because of a paperwork error. The nightmare ended this week when the Federal Emergency Management Agency did what The Meadows residents and city officials have been begging it to do all along. FEMA removed the DeKalb subdivision from the floodplain, not by building a dam or putting the houses on stilts, but by changing the lines on a map.

Mutual expansion plans have worked to benefit Vencor Hospital and neighboring St. Mary’s School. A land swap between the two organizations was approved at last Monday’s Sycamore city council meeting. Vencor gave up its administration building site in exchange for two houses on Edwards Street.

Volunteers are needed to help paint history on a downtown wall. The DeKalb Mural Project is continuing to seek input from the community about the topic and design of the mural, which will be painted on the west all of the old Chronicle building on the corner of First Street and Lincoln Highway. The mural will be painted later this summer.

– Compiled by Sue Breese

Sue Breese

Sue Breese is a DeKalb County area historian.