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...
In a 4-1 ballot the Oswego School District Board gave the green light to start construction on three new elementary schools later in the year. All three schools were expected to be ready to open in the fall of 2005. Two of the three schools were proposed to be built in Oswego, while the third was to be constructed adjacent to Bednarcik Junior High School off Wolf's Crossing Road in Aurora.
For two hours more than 150 parents, students, teachers and other community members explained to the Oswego School District Board why a proposed change in the district's junior high schedule was a bad idea. After listening to the comments, the board decided the proposal should go back to the drawing board for further study.
15 years ago this month...
U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Yorkville, and a 1960 Oswego High School graduate, was sworn-in as U.S. Speaker of the House in Washington, D.C.
Over the objections of an attorney for the property owner, the Montgomery Village Board voted to rezone the former site of Hines Lumber at Ill. Route 31 and Webster Street in the village from manufacturing to retail business use.
20 years ago this month...
Oswego School District Board members were considering a request from parents to establish a girls soccer program at Oswego High School. Supporters of the request noted that there were already more than 200 girls ranging in age from kindergarten through eighth grade that were involved in organized soccer programs being offered in the community.
25 years ago this month...
The Village of Montgomery was the fastest growing municipality in Kendall County in 1988, the Ledger-Sentinel reported. Montgomery's building department issued 94 permits for new single family homes in the Kendall portion of the village in 1988, compared to the 61 permits issued in Oswego, 40 permits in Yorkville and 40 in Plano. 94 of Montgomery's 96 total building permits went for new homes in the village's Seasons Ridge Subdivision.
30 years ago this month...
A grand opening was held Jan. 7 for the new Aldi food store on Douglas Road in Montgomery. A gallon of 2 percent milk was $1.49, according to an ad in the Ledger-Sentinel.
Citing an increasing volume of business, the Oswego Village Board voted to meet twice during the months of March and April. Until 1984, the board had traditionally only met once each month. "I think the Village of Oswego is at a point where we are going to have to have two meetings a month," commented Milton "Les" Penn, village president.
35 years ago this month...
Developers of a proposed Kmart-anchored shopping center announced they had dropped plans to build the center at the southeast corner of U.S. Route 30 and Douglas Road in Oswego. Instead, firm officials said they would pursue the development of the center along the north side of Route 30 in Montgomery. The firm cited a lack of available sanitary sewer service south of Route 30 as a factor in their decision.
Montgomery Police Chief Bob White said the current tenants in Montgomery's new police station would be moving out, and added the village's police department would move in about Feb. 15, according to a report in the Fox Valley Sentinel. The newly purchased building, located on South East River Road (Ill. Route 25) just south of the Mill Street bridge, was to be handicapped accessible.
Montgomery Village Board members urged residents to clear the ice and snow from around fire hydrants in front of their homes. The extreme snow of the season had buried many of the village's hydrants under feet of snow.
Western Electric officials petitioned the village of Montgomery to annex their plant, located on a 44 acre parcel along the west bank of the Fox River, to the village. The annexation request was prompted by a serious malfunction of the plant's private water system, according to a report in the Sentinel.
40 years ago this month...
The Oswego High School boys' basketball team was on a roll. By the end of January, Coach Steve Goers' Panthers sat alone atop the Little Seven Conference with an 8-1 record and an overall mark of 12-4. In one of those victories, against Sycamore, Randy Carroll set an OHS school record by scoring 41 points.
The Montgomery Police Department had filed a request with the village's police committee seeking the purchase of two more shotguns at a cost of $200 and one rifle for $75, Bud Albright, village board member, reported to his board colleagues.
Oswego Police reported they had made five drug-related arrests in a six day period.
45 years ago this month...
Oswegoland Park District officials were busy planning programs at the newly completed Civic Center on Ashlawn Avenue near Boulder Hill. The Ledger reported that one of the first uses of the new building would be as an evening 'drop-in' center for teenagers.
Featured speaker at Oswego Junior High School was popular WGN-TV weatherman Harry Volkman.
A regular weekly feature in the Ledger was a column entitled "Questions and Answers about Selective Service." (Local males between the ages of 18 and 35 had a keen interest in the Selective Service-also known as the draft-as the Viet Nam war continued.)
50 years ago this month...
Anticipating the opening of the new Oswego High School in the fall, the Oswego School District Board voted to adopt a "K6-3-3" plan for the district for the 1964-65 school year. Under the plan, students in grades seven, eight, and nine would attend the junior high school-the old high school-on Franklin Street in the village, with those in grades 10 through 12 attending the new high school on Ill. Route 71.
Citing the unincorporated Boulder Hill Subdivision's continuing growth, members of the Boulder Hill Sports and Social Club announced plans to disband as a stand-alone organization and sent a letter to the Boulder Hill Civic Association asking to become part of that organization. "Now that Boulder Hill is larger than most, if not all, of the other communities in Kendall County, it is looked upon far differently by its neighbors. It now becomes more important to have a group of residents concerned about annexation, taxes, school problems, zoning and other matters that affect our pocketbooks than about dances or other social events," a portion of the letter read.
The Montgomery Village Board voted to award a contract to a private firm to install 77 streetlights throughout the village. Village President P.O. Douglas also proposed the village canvass the village to determine how many dogs were licensed.
The Boulder Hill Civic Association discussed the possibility of more adequate police protection in Boulder Hill. "A committee was formed to discuss this with County Sheriff Oliver Mundwiler and the Sheriff's Committee of the Kendall County Board," the Ledger reported. "Ernest Spiller, of the Association committee, reported that the hiring of an additional deputy for the sheriff's office has been approved. A qualified man is being sought for the post and a new patrol car has been purchased."
55 years ago this month...
The Oswego Village Board decided to seek voter approval of a referendum to increase the village's property tax rate from 19 to 33 cents for every $100 of equalized assessed valuation. Village officials announced plans to explain the need for the tax hike prior to the March referendum.
Plans for a new Presbyterian Church in Oswego were presented to a large crowd of church members and friends during a meeting Jan. 25. The Ledger reported the plans called for the construction of a "new, modernistic building" on a five acre parcel along the east side Ill. Route 25 north of the village.
The Jacqueline Shop celebrated its one year anniversary on Main Street in downtown Oswego. The fine women's clothing store marked down prices on spring dresses for the event and offered door prizes.
Ledger editor Ford Lippold listed a number of events that took place in Oswego in 1958, including purchase of a new police car; awarding bids for a new well house; dedication service for the Boulder Hill Neighborhood Church of the Brethren; plans made for the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Oswego's settlement; first directors of the Oswego Community Bank elected; construction starts on the Oswego Community Bank; village board votes to install streetlights in the downtown area; proposed additions to schools denied by voters; 67 eighth graders and 42 high school seniors graduate; Oswegorama committee plans community celebration, Oswego bank chartered; Boulder Hill Playhouse opens with "Teahouse" the first play; village board votes to build new water tower; 1,064 students on opening day sets new enrollment record for Oswego grade and high schools; 12,000 view Oswegorama pageant and attend parade; and first Cub Scout Pack organized in Boulder Hill.
60 years ago this month...
The Ledger reported: "The air is getting filled with political rumors with this being an election year and all. Several of the county offices will be up for filling, including the county treasurer, sheriff, superintendent of schools, etc. Jim Vinson, a local boy, is throwing his hat in the ring for the sheriff's post. It's about time that Oswego had a chance at that office again."
Coach Ken Pickerill's Oswego High School wrestling team was a popular attraction in Oswego. The Ledger reported Jan. 14: "Judging from the noise and enthusiasm and size of the crowd at last Monday's wrestling match, the mat game has arrived in Oswego to stay. Grappling fans are every bit as rabid as grid and cage followers, if not more so." Top wrestlers for OHS included Alvin Wheeler, Bill Betzwiser, Dave Gengler, Brad Smith, Duane Vickery and David McCauley.
"I would like to use the columns of your paper to thank the Oswego Lions Club for their [Christmas] decorations over the streets. It is really an outstanding display for a small town and the Lions Club should be congratulated...It makes people from other towns take notice," wrote "An Oswego Booster" in a letter to the editor in the Jan. 7 Ledger.
Oswego High School was offering a driver's training course, the Ledger reported. "A new 1954 Ford is being made available for this course by Jim Zentmyer of Zentmyer Motor Sales, local Ford Dealer. Mr. Zentmyer has furnished the car for driver training courses ever since they were first instituted in Oswego High School several years ago."
65 years ago this month...
Kendall County Sheriff Bill Hayden suffered fractured ribs in a fight with an inmate at the county jail in Yorkville, the Kendall County Record reported. When the fight broke out, Hayden's wife summoned a neighbor to the jail who managed to beat the inmate "into submission" with a gun, the Record reported. Hayden later told the newspaper that he felt like he had been in a tough football game.
70 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported: "Drive carefully. Your correspondent saw an auto standing on its top, having slid off a gravel road and turning over, where the oiled road in front of a farm house was covered with soft snow. The occupant of the car crawled out, not seriously injured."
75 years ago this month...
The Record published this editorial comment: "It won't be long till we start using dial phones, at which time we'll have only ourselves to blame if we get a wrong number. Wonder why we call it a wrong number? The number's all right if we were calling the owner of it. Kendall County will seem much more city-like with dial phones; wonder if we'll still have to use the crank."
From Oswego, the Record's correspondent reported: "Several days and evenings last week were ideal for sleighing and many were the jolly groups enjoying the sport. Two sleigh loads of young married couples were out on Thursday evening, returning to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Woolley for refreshments. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Skeen took a load of children for a long sleigh ride Saturday afternoon. Two classes of the Oswego high school enjoyed sleigh ride parties."
The correspondent also reported: "Many are ill with the prevalent form of grippe (flu)."
80 years ago this month...
The Record editorialized: "Winter is a time when all of our game and wild life need the maximum of our protection. By law, we have attempted to make our rivers and streams fit for game fish life by having sewage disposal plants. Many towns have these plants and keep them running. We have heard that the plant between Oswego and Aurora is not running at the present time and has not run for several weeks. This is a mistake and should be corrected.
To stop a sewage disposal plant from running at this time of the year signs the death warrant for countless numbers of fish and game fish at that. It costs those who purchase licenses money to stock our streams with game fish and they don't want to see these fish killed by shutting down a sewage disposal plant."
From the January 10 Record: "The milk strike affecting northern Illinois and the adjoining states was felt in Oswego and vicinity. The Oswego Pure Milk association members were on picket duty for several days and nights to prevent milk being trucked into Chicago."
The Village of Oswego had received a $19,000 grant to pay for a water system improvement project. The Record reported: "The government will furnish part of the necessary money, the remainder to be paid in long-term payments. This is not a CWA project and will provide work for many men for a number of months as new water mains will be put in throughout the whole town."
85 years ago this month...
"The Oswego high school basket ball team beat Yorkville by two points, 14-16, in a hard fought game. "During the game, the ball hit one of our boys and bounded into Oswego's goal, scoring two points for them and a number of times Oswego tried shots from two-thirds the distance of the floor from their basket and luckily made them," The Record's Yorkville correspondent reported.
From the Record: "A case of supposed kidnapping has been reported in Oswego when a strange man coaxed little eight-year-old Juanita Barger to get into an auto with him, by the promise of a dime, and then would not let her get out of the car until rescued by some who saw the performance. Parents cannot be too careful about cautioning children about going with strangers."
90 years ago this month...
From the Record: "Yorkville is offering you a superior quality of motion pictures--as good, if not better, than the ones offered by nearby towns. You are invited to visit the Yorkville Theatre on the nights of Jan. 19 and 20 when 'Silent Vow,' a Northwest picture with William Duncan as the star and 'Divorce Coupons,' with an all-star cast will be shown. The prices are right, the roads are good and the pictures are excellent."
A news item from the Jan. 16 Record: "The Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Company entertained the "city dads" of the cities through which their cars pass, together with several of the stockholders and business men Sunday afternoon with a street car ride and luncheon. The event was on the occasion of placing in operation seven new interurban cars of the finest model, really wonderful productions. The Yorkville, Oswego, and Montgomery people were picked up shortly after 1 o'clock and taken to Aurora where their car fell in line with those from other towns. The cars are wonders--large and roomy and supplied with conveniences. The seats are upholstered in leather and are wider than those on the old cars. Heat is supplied with electricity and the new ventilation system is good. Too bad the company didn't buy one more car and consign it to the Aurora-Yorkville line."
100 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported this gun accident: "Ben Biesemier lies in the city hospital at Aurora recovering from a shotgun wound received Sunday. A wolf had been seen by a number and in company with Earl Simpson and Mr. Halloday in the latter's auto truck they went to attempt to find and shoot this wolf. The hunt proved unfruitful, and about noon the hunters started for home, Ben putting the gun in the truck, thinking to shoot rabbits on their return. They had some engine trouble in starting and when the gun discharged they thought it was the engine until they heard the cry of pain. The gun had discharged, the load striking Biesemier in the right limb, just below the hip and taking off the end of his third and last fingers, this hand being in his pocket."
110 years ago this month...
An inventive Oswegoan got some recognition in the Jan. 13, 1904 Record. "Mrs. Haight (D.M.) has patented a griddle greaser, a device for facilitating the baking of pancakes," the Record noted. Her husband, David M. Haight, owned a grocery and general store in downtown Oswego at the southeast corner of Main and Washington.
Also in the news that month was a small crime wave. "Burglars visited the (Oswego) depot and the barber shop Thursday night," the Record reported on Jan. 27. "They got about 60-70 cents in nickels and pennies."
The Record also reported in January 1904 that the Oswego Herald newspaper, a weekly, had begun operations in the village. In addition, a bank opened in the Schickler Building at the corner of Main and Washington streets, the building occupied today by The Marmalade Tree.
115 years ago this month...
From Oswego the Record reported: "1899 was welcomed in by the ringing of the fire bell and the shooting of guns."
An editorial comment from the Jan. 11 Record: "It looks very much as though this government was going to have serious trouble with the revolutionists in the Philippine Islands. The leaders of the natives are not disposed to yield to American sovereignty, claiming their right to an independent government. And who shall say they are not just as much right in these views as were the American colonies in 1776 when they revolted against British rule. The status of affairs is giving the President much concern and we may have another war on our hands, ten thousand miles away, in which the Republic of the United States is coercing a foreign people to come under a banner they refuse to recognize."
120 years ago this month...
History was in the news in the Jan. 17, 1894 Record. "Waish-Kee-Shaw was an Indian woman of the Pottawatomie Tribe," the Record's Oswego correspondent wrote. "Her husband was a white man named David Laughton. By a treaty with the Indians of Fondulac, Wis., certain lands were set off by our government to individual Indians and called reservations. What is now the Charles T. Cherry place [on Grove Road in NaAuSay Township] was given to Waish-Kee-Shaw, and is known today by her name. A half section just north of this in the township of Oswego was given to one Moahway and is down on the plat as Moahway Reservation. "On June 15, 1835, Waish-Kee-Shaw conveyed this land to Joseph Lafrombois, a Frenchman. This deed was acknowledged by Isaac Townsend, Justice of the Peace, Cook County, Ill. Following this record is a deed from Joseph Lafrombois to Isaac Townsend and Charles A. Davis dated Dec. 18, 1835. Later the land as deeded to the Cherry family."
125 years ago this month...
The Record reported: "The Aurora Herald Express is agitating a sewerage system for that city, claiming that the vaults and the now obsolete wells are receptacles of the sewage are inimical to the health of the city...the project is to convey the sewage through pipes and sewers into Fox river, below the city. Nothing was said in regard to the effect the system would have on the river, which may be of little concern to Aurora. What would have been the condition of the river here, at the low stage of the water during the last six months with the Aurora sewage in it. The sewage question of Chicago is before the legislature; a general law as to how far cities may pollute the rivers of this state would be in order."
"The Congregational people will hold a donation reception at Collins Hall Tuesday evening for the benefit of their pastor," the Record's Oswego correspondent reported on Jan. 9, 1889. "It is to be an old-fashioned free-for-all affair; that is, free for everybody to go there, free to shell out, and free to have a good time."
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported: "James S. Dwyre is quite sick, and being that he is 88 years of age--probably the oldest person in town--and never having been subject to sickness much of any, his recovery is feared to be doubtful."
135 years ago this month...
On Jan. 16, 1879, the Record reported from Oswego, "The town has been very quiet the past week. Most of the spare men are employed in the ice harvest (about 75 of them); great efforts are being made to fill all 14 houses this season." The Esch Brothers Ice Company's ice houses were located near North Adams Street along the east bank of the Fox River just north of today's Troy Park.
140 years ago this month...
"Paul Hawley of Oswego recently sold a pair of horses that weigh 2,600 pounds to the Aurora Fire Department for $400," the Record reported.
From the Record: "The Aurora Herald says the sash and door factory at Montgomery has furnished a large amount of work for Lewis Steward & Co.'s reaper factory and for J.W. Jacobs' residence."
The Record reported a "very distressing accident" had occurred at Aux Sable Grove. The report: "Katie, a four year-old child of Michael Ragan, a tenant of Chas. A. Davis, was as supposed playing with matches up stairs and set the bed on fire. Mrs. Ragan being at the time engaged out doors and when discovering the fire had merely time to snatch the child off from the burning bed. After hours of intense suffering, it died from the injuries received. The house was totally consumed and the family lost nearly all their effects."
145 years ago this month...
On Jan. 7, 1869, the Record reported from Oswego: "Oswego has quietly drifted through the holidays...We have passed into the year '69 without effecting any apparent change. Our people look, act, and live just about the same as they did in the old year. A few boys resolved to quit chewing tobacco on New Year's day and nobly did they stick to their resolution until late in the forenoon of the day; one even resisted the temptation to take a chaw until after dinner. A general revival of the school took place the three days previous to the holidays, which I understand was very satisfactory to all concerned. The high School also had an exhibition which was much enjoyed.
J.R. Marshall, Record publisher, wrote Jan. 21: "One reason why I am in favor of woman suffrage is that it would stimulate them for a more practical education, it would direct their thoughts into new channels, open a field of new scenery, it would create in them new desires and new aspirations; all this would follow from sheer necessity."
The Record reported the following week, "There seems to be a great deal more noise connected with the liquor traffic than there used to be. I have participated in a great many drunks, and of all sizes, but never have heard such noise as now-a-days. Whether this owing to the people or liquor, I am not prepared to say; think there is something explosive in the liquor; wonder if it is not mixed with nitro-glycerin."
Another report from the Record, "Late on Saturday night, a scene of the practical workings of woman's rights was exhibited-a street row-those engaged...in the thickest of it were two ladies showing just as much courage as anybody. There was no striking. All conducted on the pulling and hauling order; for this reason I could not say whether or not ladies can fight, but can vouch that they can make a heap of noise."