Looking Back for July 3, 2024

The gargoyle, near Altgeld Hall on the campus of Northern Illinois University, decorated for the celebration of Independence Day, July 1997.

1924 – 100 Years Ago

One of the big topics of conversation heard upon the streets of DeKalb at the present time concerns the proposed ordinance suggested by Alderman Roy Hunt at the council meeting Tuesday evening which would make it an offense for any physician to write a prescription or any druggist to fill a prescription for alcoholic liquor within the city limits. Nearly every group of persons that discusses the question contains some people who are either in favor of such an ordinance or absolutely set against the proposition.

A. L. Baker this morning received a letter from his son O. W. Baker of Salt Lake City, Utah, which was sent by airplane mail. The envelope carried a message stating that the letter was sent by the first air mail service which entailed night flying. The 16-cent special airplane stamp was on the envelope. The letter was carried to Chicago by airplane and then sent to DeKalb by fast train.

Work was started on California street in Sycamore today and a gang of men and horses were busy tearing up the street and getting forms in place for the laying of the concrete curbing. Three other streets in the city will be paved this summer also, including High, Ottawa and Waterman streets. In most cases the curbs have been already laid, and all remains is to level off the road bed and get ready for the concrete. It is estimated the last work will not be completed until the latter part of next month.

Sycamore is well represented at the DeKalb swimming pool where several of the younger set of the city enjoy the big pool to the fullest extent. Most of the youngsters spend an entire afternoon at the pool and even the older people find it an enjoyable place in the early evening. The “old swimming hole,” west of the city seems to be a thing of the past and although a possible pool has been suggested by several of the business men, it seems that the plan will have to wait until a more favorable time.

One of the newest and most modern of methods of preserving ice cream is now being used in the Ben Hur confectionery store, which is owned and operated by Ben Bielfuss. The new machine, a Frigidaire, has just been installed in the Bielfuss store and according to the owner is very satisfactory. Eight cans of cream may be stored here and kept cool by electricity which is connected with a small motor, no ice being required at all.

1949– 75 Years Ago

As of today, at least 104 women who wish to become students at Northern Illinois State Teachers College next fall have no prospect of a place to live and consequently will have to be denied admission.

Corn crop prospects in DeKalb County are so good at the traditional Fourth of July date as to be almost frightening. There isn’t any doubt that the corn in this country will be knee high by the Fourth of July, there is much of it that will be even higher.

The annual Yenerich reunion of Paw Paw was held Sunday, June 26, at Memorial Park in Rochelle. A scramble dinner was served and the remainder of the afternoon was spent visiting. Plans for the 1950 get-together are to meet at Hopkins Park in DeKalb.

Sycamore’s new street lights have been delayed unexpectedly, but they will be ready before fall. Understand a big celebration is planned. DeKalb set the pace, but Sycamore folks say they will have an even better show.

Several of the children of the Clare community are interested in the free-swimming lessons offered in Sycamore at the park.

Sycamore Community Unit School district 427 officially became alive at one minute past midnight last night. As a result, today the schools of Sycamore and Sycamore township, Mayfield township, and parts of Cortland township all came into one big district and under the supervision of a single seven men board of education.

The Meisel house on Washington Place has been sold to LeVerne Frost, who will occupy it within the coming fortnight. Mr. Frost is employed as projectionist for a DeKalb theater.

Women with experience in group recreational work are urgently needed to staff army service clubs in the Pacific Theatre. The service clubs have been established in overseas theatres to give the GI’s a place to gather after working hours. Activities include parties, handicraft work, planned entertainment, soldier shows, song fests and games.

R. D. Townsend wishes people sometimes wouldn’t be so helpful. While trying to get into a parking spot, Townsend stopped his car to let other automobiles get past. A motorist behind him mistook his waving motion and began to push his car. Townsend slammed on his brakes and waved furiously for the other to stop. But the other motorists still thought Townsend was in trouble and kept on pushing. “So,” Townsend said, “I finally gave up and let him do his good deed, then drove around the block and parked in the same spot.”

1974 – 50 Years Ago

A controversial plan for the new Northwest School on Normal Road was approved by the DeKalb Planning Commission last night despite city staff requests for changes. The school already is under construction. It is scheduled to open this fall. The city staff recommended extension of Garden Road north along the east side of the school site. Garden currently ends on the south edge of the school property.

A vigorous floor fight could erupt Monday night when the City Council examines a proposal to create seven beer and wine licenses for restaurants. The two sides of the issue were clearly demonstrated last night during a special council workshop. Those against the ordinance argue it is foolish will cause a police problem and will promote drinking among high school students. Backers of the bill dispute those statements and say pizza eaters should be allowed to drink beer.

1999 - 25 Years Ago

No decision has been made between two separate plans to flatten the dangerous curve at Plank and Moose Range roads. Both plans were presented at a meeting of the DeKalb County Public Infrastructure and Development Committee Thursday night. The first plan would cost between $600,000 and $800,000 and will take approximately 17 acres of farmland out of production. The second plan would cost between $300,000 and $400,000 and will directly impact two homes.

Despite the demise of its traditional organizer, the Cornfest soundstage will carry on this year, according to festival officials. In the past, FM radio station WDEK had sponsored the soundstage, organized bands and broadcast live from Cornfest all weekend. WDEK was eliminated when Big City Radio purchased the station and did away with local programming, instead retransmitting a Chicago signal.

TCI Cable is here. Or at least they were. TCI Cable took over Time Warner’s local cable franchise last month as part of a nationwide trade between the cable giants. But TCI no longer exists. It is now AT&T Broadband & Internet Services. Cable customers should not expect to see any major changes in their service for at least six months. AT&T is in the process of finishing a technology upgrade to the local cable system started by Time Warner.

Compiled by Sue Breese

Sue Breese

Sue Breese is a DeKalb County area historian.