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, 1949-1980; Kendall County Record, 1864-present; and historical information provided by the Village of Montgomery.
10 years ago this month...
Oswego High School's state champion football team received one more standing ovation when they attended an Oswego Village Board meeting. Village President Craig Weber and the village board, joined by State Rep. Tom Cross, R-Oswego, and State Rep. Patricia Reid Lindner, R-Sugar Grove, presented copies of congratulatory resolutions to Coach Karl Hoinkes and team co-captains, Sean Staffeldt, Adrian Pynenberg and Jeff Ziemnik, during a ceremony held during the meeting. Each member of the team received copies of the resolutions. The presentation was followed by a long, sustained standing ovation by the board and village staff. The Panthers finished the season with a 13-1 record and won the Class 7A title by defeating previously unbeaten Libertyville by a score of 28-21 in two overtimes Nov. 29 at the University of Illinois at Champaign.
The good financial news for the Village of Montgomery was that even though the village's sales tax revenues were down for the month compared to December 2002, the decrease was not as great as the previous two months. However, village officials were expecting further reductions in sales tax revenues due to the closing of the Eagle Food store on Douglas Road.
Consultants for the Village of Montgomery were accepting contractor bids for the construction of the village's new police station on a 29 acre parcel along the north side of U.S. Route 30, about one-quarter mile west of Orchard Road. Police Chief Dennis Schmidt told the village board that Jan. 7 had been identified as the tentative bid deadline. Schmidt said he expected the village's consultants to make recommendations to the board concerning the awarding of contracts by the end of January or the beginning of February with construction to start in March.
15 years ago this month...
U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Yorkville, was elected U.S. Speaker of the House, succeeding the controversial Newt Gingrich of Georgia.
An article in the Ledger-Sentinel under the headline, "Bristol Township land rush?" examined the efforts by Oswego, Montgomery and Yorkville to extend their boundaries into Kendall County's north central township. A portion of the article read: "...the possibility of a boundary dispute becomes increasingly likely as the communities grow closer to one another."
The Oswego Village Board voted unanimously to hire Bruce Bonebrake as village administrator, succeeding Art Osten who had resigned 11 months earlier. The board set Bonebrake's annual salary at $75,000.
Oswego village staffers got a real jolt when they opened the village's electric bill from ComEd. The utility billed the village $7.4 million for electric service for the period Aug. 12 to Sept. 9. A ComEd official blamed the unusually high bill on a computer glitch.
20 years ago this month...
The Illinois Department of Transportation's long-range plans to widen and improve U.S. Route 30 between Ill. Route 31 and U.S. Route 34 received mostly favorable comments from Montgomery officials and local residents during a public forum held at Krug Elementary School in the village. The plans called for the construction of a new two lane bridge spanning the Fox River immediately south of the original bridge which opened in 1959. The plans also called for the widening of Route 30 to four lanes. IDOT officials said they would consider the installation of sound barriers along the north side of Route 30 adjacent to the Seasons Ridge Subdivision. Dick Young, Kendall County Forest Preserve District president, proposed the agency install a bridge for pedestrians on the piers of the new two lane bridge to link a proposed bike trail along the east bank of the river and South River Street.
The Oswego Village Board voted to approve plans for the Lakeview Estates West Subdivision. The plans called for the construction of an additional 201 single family homes and 35 duplex units in the subdivisions south of Ill. Route 71. The Montgomery Village Board, meanwhile, approved plans for the 59 lot Lakeside addition to the Seasons Ridge subdivision.
25 years ago this month...
Newly elected Kendall County Board Chairman Ken Corbin said his priorities for county government included the construction of the proposed Orchard Road extension into the county from U.S. Route 30 in Montgomery and a new county jail in Yorkville.
The Illinois Department of Transportation was seeking bids from engineering firms to prepare an initial plan to widen U.S. Route 34 from two to five lanes between Aurora Avenue in Naperville through Aurora to Ill. Route 71 in Oswego.
Residents of Montgomery's Seasons Ridge Subdivision packed a village board meeting to view and comment on plans to re-design a proposed commercial area in the subdivision along the west side of Douglas Road.
30 years ago this month...
Construction was nearly complete on the new Kmart store at the Settlers Landing shopping center, Douglas Road and U.S. Route 30 in Montgomery, the Ledger-Sentinel reported. Work was also progressing on two other anchor stores at the center, a Walgreens and a Dominick's.
The Oswego Plan Commission was reviewing a proposal to build several townhomes off Monroe Street in the Brookside Manor Subdivision. The townhomes were among a handful of residential projects that had been proposed in the village since the late 1970s.
40 years ago this month...
A nationwide energy crisis had put a severe damper on the Christmas holiday season. Ann Krahn, Oswego Ledger editor, assessed the situation this way in an editorial, "The nativity scenes, the lighted Santas and the plastic snowmen have nearly all disappeared from the scene. The gaily lit streets are dark, the warm kitchens are cooler this year, family trips have been curtailed, and trucks are blocking the highways as they protest the reduced speed limits and high prices of diesel fuel."
45 years ago this month...
The Ledger reported the Oswegoland Park District's Civic Center would open Jan. 2, 1969. As of early December, 15 organizations had requested to use the new facility for meetings on Ashlawn Avenue at Circle Drive West. In a related matter, Park District Superintendent Ford Lippold announced that the parking lot at the civic center would be flooded and used as an ice skating rink. The rink was scheduled to open Dec. 21.
50 years ago this month...
During their monthly meeting, Boulder Hill Civic Association members discussed a rumor concerning the possible installation of water and sewer lines to a proposed shopping center site in the unincorporated subdivision off Boulder Hill Pass, just east of Ill. Route 25.
The Oswego Village Board opened sealed bids for the purchase of the old Oswego library building at 64 Main Street. The Ledger reported that William Miller of Oswego was the successful bidder to purchase the building with a bid of $4,285. Al Shuler was the second high bidder with $4,101. The money realized from the sale was to go to the Oswego Library Association to help pay for the new library at Main and Jefferson streets in the village's downtown.
The Kendall County Board informally endorsed the possible formation of a Kendall County Forest Preserve District. Petitions were being circulated to obtain the signatures of at least 500 legal voters in the county. County board member and Oswego Township Supervisor Myron Wormley was one of the organizers of the effort.
Claims from homeowners on Garfield and Park streets in Oswego were received by the village against Davis Construction Company and Explosion Engineers, Inc. for damage sustained "due to wrongful and negligent use of explosives" during work extending water and sewer mains to the new Oswego High School site on Ill. Route 71. The board directed the two companies to pay the claims before the village would give full payment for the work done.
The Christmas holidays meant some time off for Ledger Publisher Ford Lippold. The paper printed this reminder to its readers in mid-December: "Special Notice: The Oswego Ledger will not be published on Thursday, Dec. 26, 1963 nor on Thursday, Jan. 2, 1964."
Another notice in the Ledger: "Oswego High School is presenting a dance, 'Holiday Heaven,' on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 8:30-11:30 p.m. The dance will be held in the high school gym. An excellent band from Northern Illinois University will provide music for this semi-formal occasion."
55 years ago this month...
The Oswego Grade School Board learned that enrollment had increased by 37 students since September. The board voted to appoint a committee to prepare recommendations concerning the possible expansion of school facilities. At that time, the only elementary school under the board's jurisdiction was East View School in Oswego. The Red Brick School at Jackson and Madison Streets and the White School at Jackson and Polk streets, both in Oswego, were not being used.
Despite cold weather, work was progressing on Oswego's new water tower off Madison Street, two blocks south of the village's downtown, the Ledger reported.
An editorial comment from the Ledger: "A lot of credit is due to the members of the Oswego Lions Club and American Legion for putting up the Christmas lights in the downtown area. With few exceptions, the same fellows do it year after year...Work progresses on the new water tank on Madison Street in spite of the cold weather."
60 years ago this month...
Zoning came to the Village of Montgomery as a result of action taken by the village board during a special meeting in late November. The board agreed to zone all properties in the village west of the Burlington main line tracks for heavy industry, with the exception of the Schaefer's Greenhouse property which received a light industrial zoning. The board also zoned the village's downtown area for business use.
The Ledger reported that many building projects were underway in Oswego and were progressing due to favorable weather conditions. A page one article read: "The new Catholic Church on Washington Street [now the Columbus Club] is nearing completion, progress on the new junior high school wing is keeping up to specifications, Bohn's new [grocery] store [at 60 Main Street] is under cover and a lot of concrete was poured for the new fire barn (also on Main Street) last week."
Russ Collins was advertising Christmas trees for sale in the Ledger at his Sinclair gasoline station at U.S. Route 34 and Ill. Route 31 at the west end of the bridge.
"Most Oswego stores will stay open this afternoon (Thursday) instead of closing at the usual noon hour due to the New Year holiday tomorrow. This will give Oswegoans an opportunity to lay in supplies for New Year's Day without rushing around helter-skelter," the Ledger reported.
65 years ago this month...
The Record reported: "Oswego and the surrounding communities are having a siege of mumps. Old and young alike seem to be afflicted. Looks bad for some Christmas reunions."
70 years ago this month...
From the Record: "At the Oswego Red Cross work meeting Dec. 10, a box was packed and sent to Hines Hospital containing lap covers, 10 pair of bedroom slippers, hospital jacket, razor blades, and so on. Christmas candy will be sent later. There is much work to be finished before Dec. 20."
The Record also reported: "There are so many ill with a form of the flu. Some are sick but few serious cases reported in this vicinity. Many are absent from school and public gatherings."
75 years ago this month...
"The entire community was saddened by the tragic death of Melvin Attig, the principal of the Oswego school, who was killed by a Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car near Warrenville Wednesday evening, Dec. 14. Melvin Attig was born April 22, 1910 at Metamora. He attended the Metamora schools and was a graduate of North Central college. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis; his three-year-old daughter, Barbara; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Attig of Metamora; and two sisters, Miss Vera of Peoria and Mrs. Pearl Hazenfield of Carmi. Funeral services were held at the Healy chapel Friday evening, Dec. 16. The Rev. Horace Larsen of the Oswego Presbyterian church, the Rev. Mr. Soltan, pastor of the Metamora church, a collegemate of Mr. Attig, and K.D. Waldo, superintendent of East Aurora high school, spoke," the Record reported. The Record added: "Mr. Attig was a fine Christian gentleman, loved and respected by a large circle of friends in Oswego, Aurora, and everywhere he was known."
The Record's Oswego correspondent filed this report: "The Oswego Fire Department was summoned to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Condon Friday evening, Dec. 9. A fire, thought to have started from the electric wiring, burned the entire inside of the hired man's room upstairs and but for the prompt good work of the fire department, the house would have burned. The Condons' furniture was damaged when it was carried from the house, and smoke and water did a certain amount of damage to the house. To add to the excitement, the hired man had about half a case of shotgun shells in his room and was awakened by the shells exploding. Mr. Condon was away at the time the fire broke out, but his wife and mother, Mrs. Mary Condon, from Plainfield, were at the house and fortunately they had a telephone, which probably saved the buildings, as there was no other phone near and no auto on the place."
80 years ago this month...
From the Dec. 13 Record: "John Herren, W.A. Bower, W.H. Davis, and C.T. Cherry were appointed as a committee to start consideration of forming an Oswego fire protection district to protect area farm property and property inside Oswego village limits. The need was great because Plainfield and Aurora fire departments refused to answer calls to the Oswego area due to the expense. The Naperville fire district and the Bristol fire company only answered calls to those living within the bounds of the areas they served. The aim of the committee was to purchase a modern fire truck for fighting farm and town fires."
85 years ago this month...
Republican Herbert Hoover had been elected president the previous month, but a national debate was continuing concerning the Electoral College. The Record took this position: "There is great argument before the people today in favor of making the election of the president by popular vote and thereby abolish the Electoral College. This sentiment is evidently being foisted on the public through the instrumentality of those who have not given the matter a through study."
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported: "Oswego has a beautiful community Christmas tree at the corner of Main and Washington streets and many outdoor Christmas trees at the homes."
90 years ago this month...
Police arrested three suspects in the Montgomery road house robbery. The Record reported: "Three young men of Aurora are out on $2,000, the hearing being held a week ago today. It is charged by Ed Peterson of Lisbon that he was robbed and beaten by Pete Jungels, Philip Pulfer, and Alexander Smith following a session at 'Hunky' Mary's road house near Montgomery. The amount of the theft is in the neighborhood of $125. Four fellows who asked a ride of LeRoy McKernan of Bristol Saturday night held him up for $17 and his fliver. McKernan works on the Douglas Kennedy farm and was going to Aurora when he was asked for a ride by four young men who said their machine had gone wrong. He took them in only to suffer being relieved of $17 and his machine. The robbers were afterwards arrested and proved to be Tracy Ammons of Morris and his brother, LeRoy, having moved from Millington last week; Floyd Luther of Millington; and Charles Yager of Sandwich. The former, Tracy Ammons, confessed and the four are held in Kane County under $5,000 bonds."
Construction was proceeding on hard roads linking area towns. The Record filed this report: "The cement road on the Cannon Ball Trail was completed to Sandwich last Saturday morning by Trompeter & Son. It will not be long until we can make the trip from Yorkville to the crossroad two miles east of Sandwich on hard road. It will be about Dec. 8 before the entire stretch will be opened for traffic. In contrast to the good work of Trompeter & Son, the contractors of the road east of Yorkville are still incomplete. There is nearly two miles of cement to finish between Yorkville and Oswego. Beside this, the spur into Oswego has not been touched and there is a long stretch where the road crosses the Burlington mainline which is not cemented--waiting for the promised viaduct over the crossing."
100 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported: "The regular meeting of the Parent-Teachers' club was held at the schoolhouse Friday afternoon. An instructive paper was ready by Mrs. W.J. Morse. The balance of the time was devoted to business in which the main issue was the fitting of the hall for basketball."
A news item from the Record: "Increasing telephone intercommunication between Aurora and neighboring towns has brought about a demand for a general reference list of Bell subscribers, which can be used in one place as well as in another. To meet this demand, the Chicago Telephone Company has issued a new combined directory which embraces in one alphabetical list subscribers in Aurora, north Aurora, Montgomery, Naperville, Yorkville, Plano, Lisbon, Oswego, Plattville, Newark, Millington, and Little Rock. The new directory is one of the most complete reference lists the Telephone company ever issued and should prove a boon to subscribers throughout the territory it covers."
The Record reported the disappearance of John I. Evarts, sole owner of the Plainfield bank established 30 years earlier by his father, Jeremiah Evarts, the former Kendall County Clerk. Evarts' disappearance prompted the closure of the bank. The Record added: "Mrs. Emma Evarts, his mother, is prostrated with grief over his disappearance and refuses to explain a situation, which is inexplicable to the citizens of Plainfield. Evarts was seen at 11 o'clock last night. He is alleged to have taken a Joliet and Southern Traction Company car, which left Plainfield at 10 o'clock, for Aurora. At 11 o'clock he was seen, it is said, in Aurora. Since then, no one has seen him." Later in December the Record provided this update: "No new developments in the matter of John Evarts and his Plainfield bank. His friends in Plainfield have given him up as a deserter of their cause and criminal proceedings are being entered with the sheriff searching for the missing banker."
110 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported: "Thanksgiving here passed off very quietly; the church services were attended but moderately and on the part of a choir defaulted, making congregation singing necessary."
The Record reported the first major storm of the winter as follows: "It was a blast--a heavy mid-winter storm--at times seeming the proportions of a genuine western blizzard. Streetcar tracks were drifted so full that the snowplow was called for and even that had a hard time in pushing through the drifts. After the 4 o'clock car came in there was not another till 6:30. The last car was delayed by the fact that the one ahead of it at Oswego bound for Aurora was off the track--all eight wheels--and a deal of time was consumed in replacing it. The belated passengers aboard had to take refuge in farm houses along the way to keep from freezing as the (electric) current could not be obtained for some time and the inside of the car was as cold as the weather outside. The temperature had fallen during the night and Sunday morning it was down to 20 below zero, the coldest morning we have had this winter. The sun thawed out the thermometers a little during the day, and by night it had moderated quite a bit--only 12 below; 8 below Monday morning."
Business was picking up in Oswego. The Record reported: "Oswego has been struck with a streak of unusual enterprises. The bank will soon go into operation and about the same time another new institution, a bowling alley. At the one where we can get money and at the other where we can spend it."
120 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent was unhappy with a shooting contest held in early December of 1893: "A live bird shooting match took place here Friday afternoon, which, in some circles, elicited great praise for the fine shooting done. We condemn the Spanish for their bullfights and with equal propriety they may condemn us because of our pigeon shooting matches; both are barbarous sports."
The Record reported from Oswego that (school) "Supt. Curran says that they are in a flourishing condition. Principal C.H. Bucks is doing first class work, which is placing the schools on a higher grade. The pupils are receiving thorough and practical training. Mr. Bucks is ably assisted by a corps of teachers who stand high in the profession. Oswego is to be congratulated upon her successful schools, which compare vary favorably with others in northern Illinois."
There was trouble in Oswego's public reading room. The Record's correspondent reported: "Will the persons in charge of the reading room submit to the outrage in the conduct of a number of boys that take special delight in making the place offensive to respectable people? It is high time that the law was enforced if parents will not take care of their children and see that they have regard for the rights of others. The names placed on the wall is an evidence that something will be done that will put an end to the rowdyism in and about the room."
125 years ago this month...
Skilled help was needed in Oswego, according to an ad in the Record that read: "Wanted: A good horseshoer and otherwise reliable man by S.L. Bartlett, Oswego. Good and prompt payment will be given." That same paper explained the need for the new employee: "George Barnard [who previously operated the blacksmith shop] has gone to Aurora to work in the [Burlington] shops. The blacksmith shop here will be run by S. L. Bartlett." The Bartlett Blacksmith Shop was located in the stone building on Main Street at Bartlett Creek.
Jim Pearce gave a "coon banquet" to his friends Wednesday which proved to be a most delectable treat, but the coon didn't set well on the stomachs of some, the Record reported.
130 years ago this month...
"The new billiard hall, that of Lowry & Gaylord, is very nicely fixed up, and is now in full operation," the Record reported from Oswego.
140 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent was concerned about community morals (billiards and saloons, in particular) in December of 1873: "Things in Oswego have begun to forment. Principles, antagonists to each other, are on a strife for mastery. The saloons for the past eight months have run the liquor business without restraint, and that in violation of town and state law. Not only the liquor law has been violated but the town ordinance against billiards has been set aside by about five of our public places. One of our citizens, in consequence of his minor sons being decoyed into one of these places, and the disposition of insolence manifested by one of the billiard men, commenced suit against the gentleman. It would seem that it is a starting point in stopping the lawlessness in our town.
"Mr. Hallaben, the Congregational clergyman, has given a few lectures against billiards, dancing and beer. The result is that the dancers, billiard players, and beer drinkers are displeased. The Red Ribbon Society, that was organized as a temperance group, spends its time holding literary evenings. They seem to be doing but little in the way of temperance reform. A resolution was recently offered before that body, the substance of which was to sustain the enforcement of the liquor laws, but it was readily tabled. One of those influential members is often known to be in saloons. How does that correspond with the Red Ribbon pledge?"
145 years ago this month...
The mercury on Friday morning stood at 17 degrees Fahrenheit below zero in Oswego, the Record reported.
"Til Strossman, who for a number of years has kept the well known milliner shop over Sutherland's Store (in Oswego) and was familiar to everybody is no more; she got married and moved to Aurora," according to a report in the Record.