Looking Back for November 16, 2022

Duke Ellington appeared March 20, 1974, at Northern Illinois University and was presented a special medallion by Shirley Nelson, wife of the president, in honor of Ellington’s 75th birthday. Ellington died just two months later.

1922 – 100 YEARS AGO

Architects are busy working on the plans of the new addition to the Sycamore Methodist church, which will be built sometime in the near future. Those in charge of the building and on committees say the new addition will furnish the much-needed room that has been felt at the church for some time.

Invitations were received this morning for the Monday night supper at the Elk’s club. Twenty members have arranged to put on another of the popular feeds and entertainment will also be a feature of the feast Monday night. Due to the small pox scare there has not been the usual feed the last two Mondays, but now that the scare has been quieted, the social parties will start again.

Many houses are being built these days before the heavy months of winter set in for the cold weather. Several houses are being built in the west end of town by the various factories of the city. Two are being built on DeKalb Avenue while more are noticed on Cross Street. These homes are being built by factories and merchants for their employees, who may buy them on the installment plan, of so much taken from their wages. In this manner the working man is assured of a nice home in a reasonable price on the easy terms. Some of the men who are making this possible are Holcomb Brothers, W. M. McAllister, Hero Furnace Company, Illinois Wire & Cable Company, George Dutton and a few highly spirited citizens.

The large coal pile east of the plat of the Illinois Power Company has been ablaze for several days and causing considerable inconvenience to the people in that vicinity. Yesterday the heat became so great that the outer layer of coal caught fire and blazed during the night. The fire began to consume a quantity of good coal today and the fire chief and a couple of men went over to put an end to it, as far as was in their power.

1947 – 75 YEARS AGO

The recent installation of a Wurlitzer organ in Christendom’s largest church in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, has attracted considerable interest in DeKalb. The organ is not only a Wurlitzer instrument, from the North Tonawanda plant, but the console and all tone chambers were built in DeKalb and then shipped to North Tonawanda where the electrical and mechanical components were installed. In a recent story sent to the New York Herald Tribune, a full account of the installation was made. The story states the organ was presented to Pope Pius XII by an American cardinal who was reported to be dissatisfied with the Vatican’s musical facilities.

One of the gaudiest and most decorated freight trains ever to traverse the rails of the North Western railway pulled quietly through DeKalb early this afternoon. It was the “Friendship Train,” which was loaded with carloads of food for hungry Europeans. The 6,000-horsepower diesel-electric locomotive was decorated with flags and bunting and each car of the more than 30 in the train carried huge signs, in as many as three or four languages, telling where it originated and what it contained. The food all was donated by various cities through which the train has traveled. It started in Los Angeles more than a week ago and is due in New York sometime next week.

An extra gang on the Chicago Great Western railroad has started undoing a job that had all DeKalb excited half a century ago. This gang of 40 men started this week to tear up the Great Western tracks between DeKalb and Sycamore. Starting out at the DeKalb city limits near the Cyclone plant, the gang is working backwards toward Sycamore, pulling up the “steel” behind them and loading it on flat cars with a big crane. The job will be completed when the “steel” is torn up to Charles Street in Sycamore, a distance of about 5 miles. Operations over the line were discontinued last June after the Interstate Commerce Commission gave permission for the Great Western to operate into DeKalb over tracks of the North Western Railway.

DeKalb’s new radio station WLBK will go on the air about December 1. The transmitter and tower located on North First Street Road has been completed and final activities at the studio are being accomplished at this time preparatory for the opening day of broadcasting.

1972 – 50 YEARS AGO

A covered wagon is the symbol of Welcome Wagon signifying the way people used to greet each other. The tradition established by pioneer women who drove covered wagons out to meet new settlers with fresh water, food and supplies is still present today. The Sycamore Welcome Wagon hostesses call on new and old friends and neighbors on important occasion in family life.

The Kishwaukee Hospital moved a step closer to reality Tuesday evening when the board accepted the hospital design and $6.34 million base proposal. The proposal is for a 175-bed hospital with room for 25 more beds.

1997 – 25 YEARS AGO

Local internet users have another option this week when it comes to logging onto cyberspace. AT&T announced that DeKalb residents will be able to connect to the internet by dialing its local telephone call. Be advised at least three more companies are expected to begin service in the DeKalb area before this spring. This means that consumers and businesses will be able to gain access to the internet through 10 service providers.

“Come along for an exciting ride with the Old Country School!” is the theme of a recently launched fundraising effort by a group from DeKalb. The project is dedicated to preserving the Milan Township District 83 (Tysdal/Berg) school, located on the corner of Tower and Perry in southwestern DeKalb County. Though the school has lost both its bell tower and chimney, its paint is peeling and the windows are boarded over, the building itself is still reasonably sound. The group is trying to raise the $140,000 needed to move the school to Northern Illinois University, have it renovated, and make it available to the public.

– Compiled by Sue Breese