Looking Back for Sept. 1, 2021

1921 – 100 YEARS AGO

Fire, believed to have been caused by carelessness of tramps sleeping in the baled hay and straw barn of the Kirkland sheep yards owned by John McQueen, destroyed the big building and the contents last night, entailing a loss estimated to exceed $6,000. It is believed the tramps allowed sparks from pipes or cigarettes to drop into the hay, thus causing the fire.

Should DeKalb people, while motoring, meet anyone wearing what might be rightly termed a flu mask, do not get alarmed and believe that the man or woman is mentally unbalanced. Some sufferers of hay fever, and there are any number of them this year, are wearing a mask similar to that worn during the flu epidemic two or three years ago. The mask covers the mouth and nose and is treated with medicine to help the victim.

Farmers of the vicinity, it is noted, having acquired a habit while driving on the cement highway, while it saves expense to them in the way of getting the horses shod, has a tendency to destroy the pavement, indirectly. The farmers are driving with one side of the wagon on the soft shoulder. The wheels cut into the shoulder and although it is built up once or twice a week, it is impossible to keep it up where it belongs. The shoulder is being built onto the pavement to drain off the water more than anything else. In draining off the water, it keeps it from getting beneath the cement, and later when the frost comes, it prevents an upheaval of the cement.

It is understood from reliable sources that George Ollman of Malta has let the contract for his new cement fire-proof elevator and work will be started at once. The building is to be oblong in shape and when completed will be a credit to the business section of town.

The house recently purchased by F. R. Freeman of Malta, who lost his property by fire several days ago, will soon be on rollers and started toward Malta. The house was off the foundation yesterday and Mr. Freeman has kept busily at work for many days on the building on the Delbridge farm, east of town. The house is in shape now to be put onto the big rollers and the task of getting the building to the property in the southeast part of town will be comparatively easy.

1946 – 75 YEARS AGO

When over 600 members of the DeKalb County Farm Bureau congregated at the Community Park in Sycamore for the annual picnic event, one of the features of the entertainment was a quiz program. Following the regular style of these popular events, DeKalb County people were called upon to participate in the feature.

Parents are requested to warn their children against the dangerous practice of hopping on the loaded wagons of sweet corn which are headed for the canning plant. Yesterday complaints were received by the DeKalb police about kids hopping on the moving wagons. Serious injury may result from this activity and every effort is made to halt the practice.

Sunday night will mark the end of the first postwar season of production at the Shady Lane Playhouse, which came to life for the first time since 1942. The summer theater, under the direction of Frank Byran, presented five productions and is winding up the season with an 1890 melodrama, “Love Rides the Rails.”

Glass windows are now being placed in the new store that will be occupied by Stiles Dress Shop. Work is moving along at a rapid pace and if store fixtures can be obtained soon, the store will be ready for opening within a short time.

Unearthed during attic cleaning operations, two old newspapers have proved interesting to those who have had a chance of looking them over. The papers were found by Mrs. Ella Trimm of Kirkland as she cleaned the attic of a home in which she recently moved. One of the papers is “The International Detective,” published in November of 1888 in Cincinnati. The paper carries a number of reward notices for escaped or wanted criminals and is the official organ of the Grannan Detective Bureau, which also sells guns, handcuffs, lanterns and other devices for aiding law enforcement officers.

A record of over 800,000 consecutive safe man-hours established by workers of the DeKalb division of the Central Illinois Light Company was terminated by the accident in which Paul Chesher suffered a broken knee cap. Chesher received the injury while driving a power company truck when it struck an auto which had backed into the path of the truck on Sycamore Road on the evening of Aug. 18. The employees of the DeKalb division had worked over five years without a disabling injury.

1971 – 50 YEARS AGO

“Ebbie’s,” DeKalb sweet tooth since 1897, will be moving. The coffee, candy and ice cream shop that many DeKalb residents have grown up with will move from its present site at the corner of Lincoln Highway and Third Street to a yet unannounced site. Part of the reason for the move was due to a fire that destroyed Gale’s Pharmacy next door. City inspectors have found that the fire left the old candy shop structure unsound.

Yesterday, the residents of the Evergreen Village Mobile Park, near Sycamore, continued to wade through the bureaucracy of federal financial assistance, following last month’s floods. During a meeting with representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) last night, Evergreen Village residents discussed how various federal grants and loans could best help their personal and financial plights. Many residents pushed for something to be done with the trailer park, and consequently themselves, as a whole. Last week, the county board voted, 12-8, not to enter into a program with FEMA to buy Evergreen Village and move its residents elsewhere.

Moving operations are being completed this week which will put the headquarters for DeKalb’s United Fund in a “downtown ground-floor” location. By the end of the week, United Fund will be operating from the building that once housed First National Bank, at Lincoln Highway and Second Street. The rear portion of the main floor, with the entrance on Second Street, facing the east, has been made available by P. A. Nehring. General cleaning operations were started Monday, with files and furniture to be shifted by Wednesday.

1996 – 25 YEARS AGO

Although the process has taken longer than expected, county highway officials still plan to close off Plank Road for several months in order to make necessary structural changes. In late July, the DeKalb County Highway Department, with help from the state, was awarded a contract for the reconstruction of the Route 23 intersection at Plank Road. This reconstruction is one step in a plan to expand Peace Road, which first started in 1980.

– Compiled by Sue Breese