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...
The ornamental lights hung prior to the Christmas holidays on Montgomery's Mill Street bridge will illuminate the structure year round, the Ledger-Sentinel reported. Mike Pubentz, the village's director of public works, said village officials decided to keep the lights on after receiving numerous favorable comments from local and area residents over the holidays. The village spent approximately $2,500 to have the lights hung under the arch panels attached to the sides of the bridge.
Kendall County officials were still hoping to sell the old county jail building in downtown Yorkville. The building has sat vacant since the new county jail opened in 1992. County officials had hoped to have the building's sale wrapped up over the winter, but the top purchase prospect, a Naperville-based architect, withdrew his initial plan citing financial reasons.
15 years ago this month...
Contractors for the Illinois Department of Transportation began work on a two lane bridge on U.S. Route 30 spanning the Fox River in Montgomery. As part of the project, the original two lane bridge, first opened to traffic in 1959, was scheduled for extensive renovations.
An era ended in Montgomery when village attorney James Edwards accepted an appointment as a circuit court judge. Edwards had served as the village's legal adviser for 32 years.
Several local governmental agencies, including the villages of Oswego and Montgomery and the Oswego School District, had all recently launched websites, according to a Ledger-Sentinel article.
20 years ago this month...
The majority of the 4,200 students enrolled in Oswego School District schools were not living within Oswego's municipal limits. According to a school district study, about half of the district's students, 2,100 lived in the unincorporated Boulder Hill subdivision, 522 in the unincorporated Shore Heights/Marina Terrace area and 208 within Montgomery's corporate limits.
Oswego Public Library District and Village of Montgomery officials were feuding over library service provided to village residents. During a meeting at Montgomery Village Hall, village officials took exception to the library board's passage of a resolution in support of re-drawing the library district's boundaries to where they had been prior to a 1987 referendum that had brought the Kane County portion of the village into the library district. The net effect of re-drawing the boundaries would have meant just the Kendall County section of the village would have remained in the library district. "Montgomery is one whole village and it is absurd to propose that we split it," commented William Keck, a village board member.
The Oswego Village Board voted to approve an agreement with the Aurora Sanitary District (now known as the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District) calling for the agency to provide waste water treatment for the village. Village board members chose to get out of the waste water treatment business due to rising operational and maintenance expenses at the village's own treatment plant located along the east bank of the Fox River, just south of U.S. Route 34.
25 years ago this month...
Jim Detzler, owner of Detzler Pontiac in downtown Oswego, announced he would move his auto dealership from its location at Main and Washington streets to roomier quarters at Boulder Hill Pass and Ill. Route 25 in Boulder Hill. Detzler had operated his "Ugly Little Showroom" at the downtown location since 1970.
Oswego School District voters overwhelmingly rejected a referendum that would have allowed the school district to increase its utility fund tax rate.
30 years ago this month...
About 20 Oswego residents questioned the village board over its plans to remodel and expand Village Hall at 113 Main Street. Among the concerns voiced by residents was the anticipated cost of the project (about $75,000) and a board decision not to seek competitive bids for the preparation of the plans.
Several homes along Forest Street in Oswego just north of Ill. Route 71 were flooded as a result of a late February thaw.
35 years ago this month...
The Village of Oswego's public works department had overspent its snow removal budget by over $4,500 due to the winter's record snowfall, according to a report in the Ledger.
Members of Oswego Boy Scout Troop 31 were busy throughout Oswego removing snow from around fire hydrants buried in up to six feet of snow. The scouts recommended that flags or other markers be installed on hydrants so they could be found in deep snow.
The Small Business Administration was offering disaster loans to area businesses to offset some of the damage caused by ongoing snowstorms.
40 years ago this month...
The Montgomery Village Board adopted a resolution in opposition to a collar county referendum on the creation of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). Board members said they opposed the RTA plan as proposed because they believed the village would be the last to reap any benefits from the agency.
45 years ago this month...
The Oswegoland Park District sponsored an open house at the new Oswegoland Civic Center, 5 Ashlawn Avenue. Area residents of all ages were invited to attend, but park district officials also noted that teenagers were especially welcome to try out the new ping-pong tables and juke box.
State Sen. Robert Mitchler, R-Oswego, said he supported a controversial plan to extend the East-West Tollway from Sugar Grove 65 miles west through the northern half of the state past DeKalb towards Dixon. Mitchler indicated he believed the extension would serve to boost economic development in counties near the tollway.
A March opening was planned for the new Oswego Post Office building at Madison (U.S. Route 34) and Jackson streets.
An era in Oswego ended when the local Chapter of the Red Cross disbanded after 50 years of service. The few remaining members decided to cease their monthly meetings and donate the organization's remaining money to the Aurora Chapter of the Red Cross for use with "Voices from Home" recordings and to the Valley Haven School for Exceptional Children in Oswego for the purchase of a doll house complete with furniture and dolls. Other leftover materials were sent to the Wayside Cross Mission in Aurora. The Ledger reported, "It had been with a great deal of regret that they decided to conclude their meetings, but it had become physically impossible for these 14 remaining members to continue. Age and places to meet made the activities cease."
50 years ago this month...
The Boulder Hill Neighborhood Church of the Brethren announced a series of four Sunday evening programs titled "The Christian in Boulder Hill-In politics, race relations, juvenile delinquency, alcoholism, and the morals of our teenagers."
Acting on a recommendation from the Montgomery Plan Commission, the village board approved for development unit four of the Parkview Estates Subdivision located just north of Waubonsie Creek.
The Ledger reported that Oswego Fire Chief Forrest Wooley would attend an upcoming meeting of the Boulder Hill Civic Association to discuss "various problems" that needed to be resolved before a fire station could be built in the sprawling, unincorporated subdivision.
A referendum on the proposed creation of a Kendall County Forest Preserve District would appear on the April ballot, the Ledger reported. "Several good pieces of land in the county have gone into private hands because such a legal organization was not in existence," wrote Ford Lippold, Ledger editor.
The Boulder Hill Civic Association board discussed the problem of vandalism at SuzanJohn Park in Boulder Hill. The board also discussed the subdivision's water supply. "If future plans call for more homes and the shopping center, we could be in trouble with our one and only eight-inch main from Montgomery," board members noted.
A legal notice in the Ledger announced that bids were being received for the purchase of the Church School property at Heggs and Ferguson roads in Wheatland Township. The school had been the district's last one-room building in use until it closed approximately four years earlier.
Kendall County Civil Defense Director Clyde Phillips announced that Oswego High School had been surveyed and licensed as a public fallout shelter, and had been stocked with food, water, medical supplies, radiological instruments and sanitation supplies. However, Phillips noted there was only space for 129 persons in the shelter. "Due to the limited number of buildings in Kendall County which can provide fallout shelters, it is evident, Mr. Phillips advises, that families must make provision to protect themselves," the Ledger reported.
55 years ago this month...
The Ledger reported that U.S. Olympic track star Jesse Owens would address members of the Oswego School District PTA during a meeting in March. Owens, who gained international fame in the 1936 Berlin Olympic games, was serving on the staff of the Illinois Youth Commission.
Members of the Oswego High School Chorus were practicing for the minstrel show, "Alabama Bound," to be presented Thursday and Friday, March 12 and 13, according to a report in the Ledger.
Denney's Supermarket on Main Street in downtown Oswego was offering free home delivery of groceries daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to an advertisement in the Ledger.
The Oswego Village Board voted to experiment on a Dutch Elm Disease control. Cather's Landscape Service, Oswego, was hired to treat elm trees in the three block area of Park Street with a new control method at $5 per tree.
"Last Sunday, Feb. 8, the Lutherans of the Oswego area adopted, by a majority vote, the name 'St. Luke's' for their mission and future church. St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Aurora, a member of the Missouri Synod, has been sponsoring the mission as a daughter congregation," the Ledger reported.
60 years ago this month...
The Montgomery Village Board voted to have the village's typewriter and adding machine serviced. In another ballot, the board transferred all authority concerning fire inspections from the village to the Montgomery & Countryside Fire Protection District.
Ford Lippold, editor of the Ledger, reported that the Oswego Village Board was "Endeavoring to get the state highway department to erect a stop sign for westbound traffic at the intersection of Routes 25 and 34, several sharp-curve signs, and orange no-passing stripes on the Washington Street hill. It is a mighty fine plan and if successful will do much to keep Oswego accident-free."
Lippold also editorialized on the behavior of some fans at Oswego High School athletic events. Lippold wrote, "Remarks made by adult spectators at high school athletic events are often extremely abusive and uncalled for both when directed at local players and visitors...Spectators who behave in an unsportsmanlike manner are defeating the very purpose that underlies all high school athletics, the development of character and citizenship training through competition."
This item appeared in the Ledger's sports section: "Three members of coach Ken Pickerill's Oswego Panther wrestling team sailed through the sectional tournament at Elgin last weekend," the Ledger reported. The three wrestlers going on to state competition included Alvin Wheeler, Bill Betzwiser and Brad Smith.
65 years ago this month...
Oswego Lions Club members were busy installing new concrete street markers on corners throughout the village. To help raise funds for the new signs, club members played members of the Oswego Volunteer Fire Department in a benefit basketball game at the Red Brick School.
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported, "There was some excitement in the village Saturday when smoke issued from the register in the dining room at the Masonic Hall (on Main Street)." Firefighters were called and quickly put out the blaze.
75 years ago this month...
From the Record: "If our Jan. 30 blizzard was in payment for the previous mild and quiet days in January, we had our payment with interest. Innumerable cars and trucks were stuck in the snow banks or failed to get to their destinations. Due to the fact that the blizzard began in the early hours of the morning and increased with such intensity before daylight, vehicles were not taken out of their garages. The temperature was in the 20s, and many trucks loaded with stock were stalled on the way to Chicago."
80 years ago this month...
This item appeared in the Feb. 7 Record: "Any person suffering from deafness, or who is deaf and dumb, may register with the field representative at the Aurora CWA headquarters, in Illinois Free Employment office on Island avenue, for possible employment in Civil Works administration."
"Many enjoyed sleighing parties last week. Seven bobsled loads of pupils and teachers from the Oswego school were out one evening, returning to the schoolhouse for lunch and games...the town streets were smooth and slippery but the snow had blown from the country roads forming deep snow banks on the sides," the Record's Oswego correspondent reported.
The Record offered this editorial comment: "We drove on the East River Road (Ill. Route 25) out of Aurora the other night and hardly knew the road. The work of the men on the CWA (Civilian Works Administration) has made a real highway out of it. Some bad curves have been made safer by leveling off the banks on the side of the road. Good work, men."
Another editorial comment from the Record: "It is our belief that the only fair way to tax a man is to tax him by his ability to pay and it follows that the way to find a man's ability to pay is through his income. Hence, income tax seems to be the fair way, to us at least. The man who makes the most should pay the most and the man who makes the least should pay the least."
90 years ago this month...
The Record reported on the death of President Woodrow Wilson on Feb. 3 as follows: "While The Record has not been in sympathy with the political views, we could not but honor the sincerity and strength of the former president."
Winter weather was in the news in the Record: "A real winter, such as has not been seen for years, settled down on the country the first of last week. Sleet, snow, and wind started on Monday with a lowering of temperature and more snow on Tuesday. The snowfall let up a little on Wednesday but flakes continued to fly on Thursday when the temperature got down to about ten above zero. Traffic of all kinds was hindered. Railroad trains were blocked and delayed. Telegraph wires were blown down and train orders and news were stopped. Telephone and power companies suffered from the same trouble and the radio came into its own. Much of the news transmitted was by radio and in several instances the reports from snowed-in trains were made in this manner. The interurban from Morris kept up its service although the cars were delayed and had difficulty. The Aurora line threw up the sponge Monday night and didn't get a car through till Thursday morning."
95 years ago this month...
In local sports, the Record reported: "The Oswego high school basket ball teams lost both games to Mooseheart on Friday night, Feb. 1, but they were good, clean games and lots of sport."
An announcement from the Record: "A meeting sponsored by the Oswego Community Public Forum will be held Thursday evening, February 28, in the school gymnasium. Topic, 'Advancement in Education,' will be discussed. Everyone interested in education of our young people is invited to attend."
100 years ago this month...
From the Feb. 11 Record: "There will be a mass meeting for the women of Oswego township in the school building at Oswego Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Mr. Herrington of Yorkville will give a talk on 'The Personal and Legal Rights of Women.' All women, whether suffragists or anti-suffragists and without regard to political preferences are urged to be present."
In an editorial, H.R. Marshall, Record publisher wrote: "There should be no new apportionment of the state of Illinois till the new constitutional convention has been held and the new constitution outlined. If we reapportion now, Cook County will get more congressmen and a larger representative in the state. This will give them the balance of power over the down state districts and will place Chicago as the capital of the state in reality."
In local news, the Record reported: "For several weeks, at intervals, a wolf or wolf tracks have been seen in various neighborhoods. Hunters have in vain tried to shoot them. Finally Gilbert Collins shot one Monday."
110 years ago this month...
A letter to the Record addressed to the paper's Oswego correspondent read: "What is the matter? Is it our council or the men hired by them to do the work of keeping our village like others of the size? Sometimes our lamps are lighted long before dark, and sometimes not at all. The worst of all is the disagreeable noise of the engine at the pumping station during the night, most any old time, whenever it is convenient. If this is the fault of the engine or pumping apparatus, let the council look after it and have them in good shape. If it is the fault of the man in charge, let them hire one who will light the lamps at the proper time and run the engine at the pumping station in reasonable hours of the day, as two hours a day is all that is required to keep a good supply of water in the tank.
Our city dads are as good a lot of fellows as has any town--but just wake up a little, boys, and see that things are as they ought to be."
The letter was signed by "A Voter."
A burglary spree was underway in downtown Oswego. The Record reported: "The post office was entered during Wednesday night by burglars who secured only about $1.35 in change that had been left. They didn't touch the postage stamps. (Oswego correspondent Lorenzo) Rank, who sleeps upstairs, heard them and got up and almost as soon as they heard him astir they left. They had pried open the window on the alley. This same night the depot was also again entered, but nothing taken." (In 1904 the post office was located at 64 Main Street, the current office of the Ledger-Sentinel.)
115 years ago this month...
An advertisement from Oswego in the Feb. 8 Record stated: "I wish to call attention of the public to my curious collection of waxworks. This collection contains a large number of costly and beautiful figures including the Chinese Giant, the Two-Headed Girl, the Siamese Twins, and others. I will have them on exhibition at Woodman's Hall Wednesday evening, Feb. 15. Admission, 10 cents. Don't miss it!"
In that same issue, the Record's Oswego correspondent reported that "Addison Walker, once an Oswego boy, and who is a cousin of Seth Walker's here, has got himself elected state senator for the state of Washington."
A pioneer death was reported on Feb. 15: "Early school teacher, one of the first, Joan Dorcas Schram, died Tuesday, Feb. 7, 1899. The family moved to Oswego when she was a mere child and it was her home for 50 years. There she taught school when but 15 years old. That was way back in the days of goose quill pens, slab benches, and puncheon floors. She belonged to the Hopkins family."
120 years ago this month...
An editorial comment from the Record: "The Aurora paper, which awhile ago said that Oswego was beating all creation in sensations, now heads its reports from this place 'Rip Van Winkle's town.'"
125 years ago this month...
The Record reported a new technological advance available to Oswego residents in late February 1889: "Oswego now has weather signals. We can tell what the weather will be for the next 24 hours. These signals are displayed on the flag staff by the [roller-skating] Rink [on Main Street] six days a week." The Star Skating Rink was located at 60 Main Street in Oswego's downtown.
130 years ago this month...
From the Record's Montgomery correspondent: "W.L. Gorton was relieved from duty as an operator on the railroad recently. He has moved to Plano and is working for the Plano Manufacturing Company."
135 years ago this month...
This report appeared in the Feb. 5 Record from Oswego: "The greatest event of the past week was the burning of Wm. S. Bunn's residence-one of the finest in town-early Thursday morning. Mr. B. had been up and started the fires and returned again to bed, but shortly after heard some kind of noise upstairs and going to ascertain the cause found a chamber all on fire. It originated, as supposed, from a defective flue. But little of the furniture and other effects were saved as the building burned very rapidly. The property was insured in the Agricultural, which promises to pay $1,900 of the damage just as soon as their paying agent can get around to do it."
140 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported: "Oswego is unfortunately located so near big Aurora; that city always was hoggish, taking away our trade and whatever else we would get up, and the bigger it grows the worse it gets; of late it has commenced absorbing our inhabitants. Mr. William McKeag became afflicted with the Aurora fever resulting in the removal of that family last week to that city and so Aurora keeps gaining at our expense."
145 years ago this month...
"The dance at Chapman's Hall on Friday night was a pleasant affair but there was an afterpiece of a quite contrary nature," the Record's Oswego correspondent reported in February 1869. "It seems Mark Chapman refused to sell a ticket to Bob Jolly. Bob, being highly incensed at not being able to dance and share in the fun, provided himself with a club and waited for Mark outside. As he came out on the sidewalk, he was set upon by Bob and pretty severely beaten. Bob is under arrest."
Also in the Record from Oswego: "Geo. Haag was in town Saturday night and got drunk, not an unusual thing, but on this occasion he rather overdid it. It affected him peculiarly, stimulating his business faculties. He just delighted to do business-a horse trade was the consequence-it proved to be (to him) a damaging one."