Looking Back for January 11, 2023

The Northern Illinois University Student Center is seen in this September 1962 photo looking south at Normal Road and Lucinda Drive at the time the building opened.

1923 – 100 YEARS AGO

There was a slight railroad accident on the Burlington right at the Waterman station, a night or so ago, in which the brakeman was badly bruised and his conductor slightly hurt, on the night freight. As the train passed the Waterman station, the fireman failed to grasp the orders which the station agent tried to hand him. In order to stop the train, the engineer puts on the brakes suddenly and several drawbars were pulled out. The train stopped almost instantly and the conductor and brakeman in the caboose were knocked from their seats, the stove overturned and a lot of other minor damage done. The brakeman was seriously bruised and was taken to an Aurora hospital on the fast 7:00 o’clock passenger.

Work on the DeKalb theatre, DeKalb’s new playhouse, is progressing rapidly now and many people stop to give the beautiful front a careful inspection. Today, much additional equipment for the place arrived, as three large loads of steam radiators were lined up in front of the place for an hour or more. The furniture is purchased and will be shipped as soon as the order comes from the manager. Plans now are about completed for opening the new playhouse about May 1.

National Guards of the city will enjoy the skating rink at the armory on Friday nights, while on other nights when the place is opened it will be turned over to the public. So far the Guards have not had much occasion to take advantage of it, with basketball and drill coming so often. This will make the men a fine place to skate, and will also be a form of diversion from the routine duties of the day.

Henry Dedrich, of DeKalb, put up a new windmill on his farm, south of Elva.

An unknown autoist driving a new sedan, failed to see an approaching train on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Line between DeKalb and Sycamore Tuesday night, and narrowly escaped death at the crossing. The road being unusually slippery, the driver of the car who had not been learned, was nearly on the crossing when the engine appeared a few feet distant. By using his emergency brake and swinging the machine around colliding with a telephone pole, the occupants of the car were uninjured. The car was badly damaged, however, and had to be towed to a garage for many repairs.

1948 – 75 YEARS AGO

A serious blaze was discovered about 1:30 o’clock this morning in the upstairs apartment at 1010 W. Lincoln Highway. Although the fire had a strong start, the blaze was brought under control by the DeKalb fire department, given able assistance by neighbors who formed a bucket brigade to furnish water for the booster pump.

Know Your DeKalb Today presents “Station WLBK, the Friendly Voice of Northern Illinois.” That’s the salutation and the sign off for DeKalb’s newest medium of entertainment, education and information, a radio station. It’s a month old now, having first gone on the air December 8, and the novelty has somewhat worn off. It’s beginning to get that comfortable, settled feeling of “belonging,” of being a part of DeKalb.

The locomotive that spearheaded the growth of Chicago from a swampy village of 4,000 inhabitants to the transportation crossroads of the world is being groomed to ride the rails again. The engine, the Pioneer, has been moved to the shops of the Chicago and North Western railway system where it is being reconditioned for a key role in the railway’s centennial celebration this year.

Purchase of 553 acres of land and eight major buildings at the Sangamon Ordinance Plant, Illiopolis, Ill., by the DeKalb Hybrid Seed Company of DeKalb, was announced today by the War Assets Administration. The land and buildings were only a portion of the huge ordnance plant which loaded artillery shells for the Army services during the war. The portion purchased by the DeKalb Company was four of the nine shell-loading lies. The newly acquired property will be used for expansion of the company operations, officials said today, with inbred chicken breeding to use a major portion of the facilities.

Mr. and Mrs. Edward Kallembach have purchased a farm west of DeKalb and will move there March 1.

A warning to youngsters against the danger of hitching sleds to automobiles was issued this morning by Chief of Police B. F. Peck. The parents are also urged to point out the dangers of hitching rides to their children. With the streets covered with ice, most motorists drive with extreme caution and at low speeds but this tends to tempt the youngsters to hitch rides with their sleds.

A deal has been made in which William S. Whipple has sold his Genoa implement and farm equipment business to Hodgson Brothers Farm Service. Possession by the new owners takes place immediately and the deal hinges upon the approval of the sale by the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company.

1973 – 50 YEARS AGO

The Ben Gordon Center is made up of 22 staff members, including executive director Jim Graves, four psychologists, three psychiatrists, three social workers, three rehabilitation counselors, three mental health workers, three secretaries, a business manager and one medical doctor. The center took in 624 cases in 1972, 45 percent were under age 19. The real name of the center is the Ben Gordon Mental Health Center, but the “mental health” portion of the name is being soft-pedalled these days because of general misinformation about the meaning of mental health.

Boisterous is the word to describe the Youth Services Bureau. Boisterous and full of youthful energy that adults can only hope to direct, not control. Kids go there. WLS is blaring from the radio. Much running up and down stairs is going on. One room fills up with smoke and an occasional curse from pool players, Monopoly is being played by younger kids in another room, adolescent girls run around trying to organize a bake sale and upstairs, the section of the house reserved for counseling, a boy complains that his father makes him be home by 7 p.m. But no crimes are being committed, the young people are only trying to flee the nest of some of the few ways still condoned by society.

1998 – 25 YEARS AGO

Police believe the promise of home repair help allowed two men to rob a home Thursday. According to police, two men approached a house in the 700 block of Glidden Avenue and talked with an elderly resident about tree trimming. The elderly resident then allowed the two men into the house to further discuss the chore. Once in the house, one of the men distracted the resident while the other went into a bedroom and stole an undisclosed amount of cash.

Hungry residents looking for a place to eat may have noticed fewer options than usual in the area. Three restaurants, Box Office Brewery and Matthew Boone’s in the downtown area and the Stadium Club on West Lincoln Highway, have packed up shop and locked their doors for good.

– Compiled by Sue Breese