JUNE YESTERYEAR : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Compiled from articles published in the Ledger-Sentinel, 1980-present; Fox Valley Sentinel, 1974-1980; Oswego Ledger, 1949-present; Kendall County Record, 1864-present; and historical information provided by the Village of Montgomery.
10 years ago this month...
Montgomery's loss proved to be Oswego's gain. In March a Dominick's food store that had anchored Montgomery's Settlers Landing shopping center since 1984 moved to the new Oswego Commons shopping center on U.S. Route 34 in Oswego. Montgomery officials reported a 19 percent drop in municipal sales tax revenues for the month of March, while Oswego officials reported a 31 percent increase in sales tax revenues for March. Montgomery officials told the Ledger-Sentinel they were hopeful of recovering some of the lost sales tax revenues with the construction of a Meijer store in the village. Meijer officials had proposed constructing the store on a vacant parcel at the northeast corner of U.S. Route 30 and Fifth Street, just east of the Blaine's Farm & Fleet store.
After two full years in effect at Oswego High School, the controversial block class schedule format was getting good marks from students, parents and teachers. That was the conclusion of high school officials and central administrators after studying the results of a comprehensive survey of all three groups taken at the end of the recently completed 2001-02 school year.
The Montgomery Village Board voted 5-1 to hire Land Vision, Inc., to conduct a planning study of the village's downtown area. Board member Pete Heinz cast the lone negative vote. "This is an extremely important study that will help the village address redevelopment of the downtown," Village Manager Anne Marie Gaura told the board.
The Oswego Village Board agreed to collect a capital development fee from homebuilders based on a sliding scale devised by Northern Illinois University's Center for Governmental Studies. The fee replaced the flat $3,000 per residence school district transition fee the village board set in 1996. The village had sought the fee payments to provide additional revenues for the Oswego School District to help it cope with escalating enrollments resulting from new housing development in the village's portion of the school district.
15 years ago this month...
Representatives of AT&T announced demolition work would begin in August on the firm's shuttered plant in Montgomery. At its peak of production in the late 1970s, the 469,000 square foot former Western Electric plant had been the workplace for 3,900 employees, easily the largest employer in the village.
Oswego High School teachers supported the adoption of a block class schedule system by a 65-35 percent margin in a survey, school board members learned. Principal Daryl Thompson presented the survey results to the school board.
The Oswego Village Board approved concept plans for a 222 acre housing development proposed along the east side of Douglas Road, south of the Townes Crossing shopping center. (The project was later named Farmington Lakes.) Board member Don Dahm cast the lone negative ballot, citing his objection to the housing densities and the proposed multi-family units. Moments before the vote, Dahm said, "I don't agree with this at all."
20 years ago this month...
The Kendall County Board adopted a resolution urging the Illinois Department of Transportation not to include curbs and gutters in its plans to widen U.S. Route 34 in Oswego Township. "Route 34 is still a rural highway. In ten years we aren't going to be in an urban setting, that's at least 20 to 25 years down the road--if ever," commented board member Greg Marsh.
In a split 4-2 vote, the Montgomery Village Board approved an annexation agreement for a 400 acre farm parcel along the north side of U.S. Route 30, just east of the Settlers Landing shopping center. Board member Tom Waller strenuously objected to provisions in the agreement that zoned the property for manufacturing use while also granting the property owner the right to zone selected areas of the land for other uses. Waller warned that under the agreement the property owner could construct a massive industrial plant on the site.
The Oswego Village Board voted to approve plans for the third phase of development in the village's Lakeview Estates Subdivision. The board's vote enabled the developer to construct an additional 56 single-family homes in the project located south of Ill. Route 71.
25 years ago this month...
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) began bus service to and from Montgomery's Settlers Landing shopping center on Douglas Road in the village. An RTA official told the Ledger-Sentinel the agency had received numerous requests to extend bus routes to the center, which had opened three years earlier.
Oswego Village Board member Mary Distler confirmed the board's finance committee was studying the possible adoption of an impact fee to be charged to local housing developers.
Oswego Fire Protection District Commissioners announced they had set a tentative Oct. 1, 1987 start-up date for the district's new 24 hour paramedic service. Fire district voters had earlier approved a referendum to fund the service.
30 years ago this month...
The Oswego School District Board voted to approve a new basic contract with the school district's teachers union that granted teachers a 7.39 percent increase in salaries and benefits for the 1982-83 school year. In other school news, the board reviewed a plan to have ten Apple II personal computers installed at Oswego High School to replace the school's digital computer system. Each of the Apple IIs had 48K of random access memory compared to the 4K digital system.
35 years ago this month...
The possibility the City of Aurora might one day grow into the Oswego School District was a matter of concern and debate for school board members. Some board members suggested the school district consider asking the Indian Prairie School District to annex the section of the Oswego district located just north of the Kane-Kendall County line, approximately one-half mile southwest of the new Waubonsie Valley High School. Other board members, however, questioned whether it would be possible for the district to de-annex land.
The Boulder Hill Civic Association was conducting a contest to design the organization's 1978 Boulder Hill vehicle stickers. The association sold the stickers each year as a fund-raiser to support its community service projects.
Veteran Fox Valley newspaperman and Fox Valley Sentinel sports columnist Dale Lancaster died June 21, 1977 at Copley Memorial Hospital in Aurora. Lancaster was the first president of the National Softball Writers and Broadcasters Association.
40 years ago this month...
Oswego School District officials were planning for a referendum to raise $400,000 in property tax revenues to construct an addition onto Long Beach Elementary School in Boulder Hill.
45 years ago this month...
The Businessmen's Association of Oswego proposed a massive "urban renewal project" for the village's downtown business district. Estimated to cost $1 million, project plans called for the construction of a new shopping center in the downtown area with off-street parking facilities. John Carr, a downtown business owner, told the Oswego Ledger that over the preceding five to six years between 10 and 12 businesses had left the downtown area and only three to four new ones had opened.
Among the first students to enroll for courses at the new Waubonsee Community College were nine Oswegoans, according to a report in the Oswego Ledger. Without a permanent campus, the college was planning to offer its first courses at satellite locations throughout the college district.
To attract customers, Mick's Standard Service at Mill Street and South East River Road (Ill. Route 25) in Montgomery was sponsoring a "Bingo Chips" game.
The Ledger reported a new post office building would be constructed at Madison (U.S. Route 34) and Jackson streets in Oswego.
A report in the paper read: "Postmaster General Lawrence F. O'Brien announced a contract had been awarded to Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Montgomery of Somonauk to build a new post office in Oswego and lease it to the Post Office Department. The new building will represent an estimated total investment of $77,000 by the successful bidder. It will be leased to the department for ten years with renewal options running through 20 years at an annual rental of $5,700 for the basic term. The new one-story building will be air-conditioned and will have an interior space of 2,989 square feet."
50 years ago this month...
In local business news, the grand opening of the new Oswego Dari-Boat on Main Street (now the Dairy Hut) was held June 2. As part of the festivities, ten prizes were to be given away, including the top prize, a Schwinn bicycle.
The Ledger reported that Oswego School District officials had scheduled the first promotion night event for local junior high school students. The purpose of the event was to give recognition to students for their successful participation in school activities.
Oswego American Legion Post 675 sponsored The Sells Brothers Three Ring Circus for a one-day only show June 5 at the Oswego Dragway, according to an advertisement in the Ledger.
The Oswego Plan Commission approved the preliminary plat of Marina Village Subdivision on Ill. Route 31, north of the village. Plans for the 40-acre development called for the construction of 62 single family homes on 26,000 square foot lots.
Oswego Township officials announced Plainfield Road would be blacktopped from Oswego to Ill. Route 126, according to the Ledger.
55 years ago this month...
A referendum to increase Kendall County's general operating fund was soundly rejected by county voters, 884 "no" votes to 341 "yes" votes. In Oswego Township, 34 out of the total 40 votes were negative.
Attendance at the Oswegoland Park District's annual summer playground program was averaging over 150 boys and girls a day, an all-time high. Park district officials attributed the record attendance partly to a growing local population. (Construction work on the first phase of homes in the unincorporated Boulder Hill Subdivision between Oswego and Montgomery was well underway.)
In one of his weekly editorials, Ledger editor Ford Lippold wrote that he welcomed progress and considered residential growth in Oswego inevitable, but he also believed that "an undue burden is being foisted on the present taxpayers of Oswego Township" by residential subdividers (developers). Lippold explained that there was just about a two-year lag time between when residents of new homes moved in and when the local school systems received tax revenues from those homes. As a result, Lippold wrote that existing taxpayers were, in the interim, having to pick-up the tab for the subdividers and new residents. Lippold suggested that "some compensation should be forthcoming, perhaps in a lump sum payment to the school board before a building permit is issued, or some other like agreement that would help equalize the tax load."
60 years ago this month...
From a letter to the editor published in the Ledger: "If any of you were as shocked as I was to see the group of boys scrambling for the empty shells as the firing squad was giving the salute in the Memorial Day Service in the Oswego Cemetery, you will understand why I feel as I do."
A Ledger reader criticized the loudness of the chimes at the Presbyterian Church at Madison and Benton streets. "Chimes of the sort they have shouldn't be played in town. I like to know when its noon and 6 o'clock but it isn't necessary for them to play for such a long time," the reader wrote.
The Village of Oswego's total appropriation for the 1952-53 fiscal year was $42,070.
A Ledger editorial reminded residents that using and selling of fireworks, firecrackers, torpedoes, Roman candles, skyrockets and other pyrotechnic displays within village limits had been prohibited since June 1946.
65 years ago this...
From an article in the Record: "The tentative report of Kendall County's School Survey committee will be ready for distribution to board members, teachers, and other interested citizens some time during the summer. The committee recommends 10 elementary attendance centers and four high schools. Four administrative districts with boards of education administering both grade and high school would replace the present dual system composed of 54 elementary districts and four high school districts. It is a further recommendation of the committee that wherever possible, present buildings be used until a more favorable time for new construction."
70 years ago this month...
The Record reported: "A group of boys from the St. Charles boys' home made their escape Thursday morning following a conducted swim at the Exposition Park pool in Aurora. The boys slugged their school bus driver, overpowered the attendant, and those in the plan drove off in the school bus. They drove out Jericho road, crossed route 47, and two miles west near the farm of Homer Patterson, left the bus to take refuge in the tree-lined shores of the Big Rock creek.
Sheriff Woodard and Chief Deputy William A. Maier were summoned and soon the territory was alive with State police, Kane and Kendall county officers, and others. Early in the chase, three boys were shot following their refusal to stop. Later, the rest were taken into custody and small groups. The two missing Friday morning were taken later in the day by Sheriff Woodard near Oswego."
A headline in the Record read: "Collect Scrap--Slap the Jap!" Under the headline this story appeared: "The Secretary of Agriculture has asked war boards to cooperate in another task vital to the victory effort--the salvage and collection of scrap metal, paper, rubber, burlap, and rags. The collection of scrap iron has been underway in Kendall County for some time, but the importance of this new drive for salvage materials cannot be overemphasized."
The Record also included this report from Montgomery: "On Sunday, June 14, the citizens of Montgomery will hold Flag Day ceremonies at the Village hall, beginning at 2 p.m. At this time, there will be on display an old American flag, about which very little is known. However, it is known that it was made by the church women of Montgomery and presented in 1861 to Camp Hammond, located in Montgomery. From a book co-authored by L.J. Bennett and William M. Haigh and published in Aurora in 1876, it was learned that the 36th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers was stationed at Camp Hammond. The program committee would be most appreciative if any readers of the Record would aid in locating relatives of these men or anyone who might tell more of the history of this grand old flag."
75 years ago this month...
"Miss Floi Johnston (a Kendall County resident) will represent Aurora in the annual soap-sculpture contest held at New York City, with a soap carving showing a peasant woman going to her doom on the gallows. Miss Johnston has been a student of Ruth Ann Balskey, art and craft supervisor of the Aurora playground and recreation department," the Record reported.
The Record reported: "A group of county residents petitioned the Kendall County Board to establish a monument on the courthouse grounds in Yorkville in honor of the county residents who served during World War I. The board unanimously referred the issue to the Court House Committee."
80 years ago this month...
The Record included this editorial comment: "We have noticed a number of the new products of Henry Ford on the road lately, and they seem to give satisfaction. But, for some reason or another, we always think of what a friend of ours said when he saw his first new one: 'No matter how they change it around and doll it up, it's still a Ford to me.'"
A news report from the Record: "About 7:15 p.m. last Saturday evening, Mr. and Mrs. Wilton Woolley and daughter Marjorie were in a serious automobile accident just at the edge of Oswego where the Grove road joins the Oswego-Plainfield road. Two cars, one a Desoto, driving very fast, stirred up such a cloud of dust that Peter Feltes and his brother of West Chicago, who were unfamiliar with the road and were blinded by the dust, struck Wilton Woolley's car on the curve in the road. Neither one of the drivers of the two cars were to blame, the dust being so thick they did not see each other until they were within a few feet. Mr. Feltes was diving a new Oldsmobile that was damaged so that it had to be taken to a garage. He carried insurance. Mr. Woolley's car was demolished and he had let his insurance lapse."
Another Record news report: "The Kendall County Farm Bureau is cooperating with Sheriff Hextell in trying to put a stop to the chicken thievery which has recently become so prevalent in Kendall county. Special deputies are being appointed in the various townships and a list of their names will be published so farmers will know who to call for quick action."
The Record's Oswego correspondent filed these reports: "Annual commencement exercises of the Oswego consolidated high school were held in the high school auditorium Tuesday evening, May 31, 11 seniors being graduated before an audience of 300. The graduation of 45 pupils in the Oswego area rural schools took place in the auditorium of the Oswego high school Monday evening, May 22. There were 25 pupils graduating from the eighth grade and 20 who graduated from the seventh's grade."
Also: "On June 14th the preliminary steps were taken to organize an American Legion Post."
85 year years ago this month...
An editorial from the Record: "Now we have the gasoline tax, with all its necessary expenses. The support of our own people has been behind the movement, the majority seeming to rule. Now there is no reason why Route 47 should not be placed first on the map and the connection between Yorkville and Morris, to meet the one now being built between Dwight and Morris, finished at once. There is no better connection between state roads than Route 47. The completion of the route from Seymour, west of Champaign, to the Wisconsin state line through the Route 47 plan will connect 21 state roads. We of Kendall county, Kane county, Grundy county and the contiguous territory ask that this road be built as soon as possible. Let us, for once at least, forget the political situation and build for the benefit of the people at large."
The nation was still celebrating Col. Charles Lindberg's crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in the "Spirit of St. Louis." The Record commented in an editorial: "Young America is glorified in Col. Lindberg and matronly America can point with pride at the wonderful mother. The most admirable fact about the wonderful flying feat of 'Slim' is that he and his mother are still representative of America's greatest power--the common people. Mrs. Lindberg and her son have 'kept their feet on the ground' in spite of the fact that their glory was made many miles in the air."
95 years ago this month...
Commencement exercises for Oswego High School graduates were held at the Oswego Presbyterian Church on June 1, 1917, the Record reported. A selection of speech topics included "The Rise of Mohammedianism" by Paul Giese and "Jane Addams and Hull House" by Alice Young.
A total of 107 Oswego Township men had registered for the draft by June 6, a total of 941 men from throughout Kendall County eventually registered.
"Encourage your boy to join the colors," Record Editor H.R. Marshall suggested. "He is needed and if he enlists he will be able to select the branch of the service he wishes to serve...We were a little disappointed to find Miss Jane Addams allying herself with the peace party and with such people as Emma Goldman and persons of her ilk."
100 years ago this month...
The Record reported: "K. Hibbard and William Young had a narrow escape from downing last Thursday night when their boat went over the Yorkville dam."
From Oswego, the Record reported: "S.C. Cutter had the misfortune to break one of the bones of his forearm while cranking an auto one day last week."
Also from Oswego: "Saturday evening, Theodore Lippold met with an accident which resulted fortunately for all concerned. He in his buggy and Charles Schultz in his auto met at the corner of Main and Washington streets, the auto striking the buggy with such force as to throw Mr. L. to the ground, but he escaped with a few bruises and cuts."
115 years ago this month...
"A new bakery is commencing with the restaurant on the corner of Main and Jackson streets," the Record reported from Oswego on June 25. "Guy Kelly is the proprietor."
120 years ago this month...
"The graduation exercises of the Class of '92 will take place at the Presbyterian Church next Friday evening," the Record reported from Oswego on June 15, 1892. Class members were Edith Troll, Bernice Pearce, Grace Pearce, and Charles Read.
125 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent and local postmaster, Lorenzo Rank, had some fun at his own expense in the paper's June 29 edition: "The new postmaster ought to be hired as soon as possible," Rank wrote as columnist 'U.R. Strooley.' "The old one (Rank) is getting too blind, too slow, too careless, and altogether too uncivil for the place."
140 years ago this month...
"On opening a sand pit on the banks of the Waubonsie Creek, the bones of a human body were dug up," the Record's Oswego correspondent reported on June 13. "From their appearance, they must have been buried centuries ago and doubtless were the remains of an Indian."
An old soldier died and was remembered in June 1872: "Sampson Pratt, 78 years of age, and a soldier of the War of 1812, has received his furlough; his funeral services took place at the Methodist Church (now the Little White School Museum in Oswego) on Sunday forenoon. Elder Minard preached the sermon."
145 years ago this month...
Record Editor John R. Marshall reported on June 20, 1867 he had visited Oswego and was pleased to see the foundations of several large buildings had been finished and construction crews had cleared the debris from the Feb. 9 fire. The blaze had destroyed the east side of Main Street from Washington to Jackson Street.