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 unanimous ballot, the Montgomery Village Board members approved a resolution asking the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the agency that owns and maintains Route 30, to consider widening the highway from two to four lanes "to accommodate growth and improve safety within the village."
15 years ago this month...
Plans to construct a 113 acre residential subdivision proposed across the Fox River from Oswego's historic downtown business district gained a key vote of support Monday from the village board.
In a 5-2 ballot with Oswego Village President Budd Bieber casting the decisive vote, board members approved an amended annexation agreement for the River Run Subdivision proposed by Property Concepts, Inc., an Oswego-based development firm.
A large number of Oswego residents wanted a department store such as a Target or Wal-Mart to locate in the village.
That was one of the many findings concerning local buying habits contained in an unscientific consumer survey completed by the non-profit Oswego Economic Development Corporation (OEDC).
The Kendall County Highway Department's plan to construct a bridge spanning the Fox River received a major boost in the form of a $2.25 million grant from the Illinois Commerce Commission. County engineer Fran Klaas said he was hopeful that construction could start on the bridge in 2001.
20 years ago this month...
A home on Circle Drive West in Boulder Hill was the target of a drive-by shooting. The Kendall County Sheriff's Department reported that shell casings from what appeared to be a handgun were found near the scene. No injuries were reported.
The Oswego Public Library District Board voted to close the storefront branch library at the Douglas Square shopping center on Douglas Road in Oswego. Library director Barbara West said declining usage of the facility was a key factor in the board's decision.
City of Aurora officials confirmed they expected the city would soon extend its boundaries into Wheatland Township and the Oswego School District.
25 years ago this month...
U.S. Postal Service officials announced they would survey Boulder Hill residents to determine if they wished to maintain their Montgomery mailing address or change it to Oswego. Jim Detzler, Oswego village president, and Robert May, president of the Boulder Hill Civic Association both voiced support for the address change. They indicated they believed an Oswego address would serve to unify and "help forge a better relationship" between the village and the unincorporated subdivision.
The newly constructed Joachim Center was dedicated at St. Anne's Catholic Church in Oswego.
30 years ago this month...
Amid angry shouts from a large group of concerned parents, the Oswego School District Board voted to remove all asbestos building materials from Long Beach and Boulder Hill Elementary schools. Apparently, many of the parents became concerned for the safety of their children after viewing or hearing about a Chicago television news show's rating "sweeps" report on the potential health hazard posed by asbestos materials in school buildings.
35 years ago this month...
Flooding was a problem for homeowners in the floodplain along the Fox River in Oswego and elsewhere in Kendall County as warmer temperatures caused snow to melt. Northern Illinois had experienced record snowfall during the winter of 1978-79. The March 22 Ledger featured a photo of a flooded home along North Adams Street in Oswego.
The Oswego Public Library Board contracted with an architectural firm to prepare plans for an addition to the library building on Jefferson Street in the village's downtown.
40 years ago this month...
Basketball fever gripped the community as the Oswego High School boys basketball team qualified for the first time to compete in the quarter-finals of the state basketball tournament. To reach the "Elite Eight" at the University of Illinois at Champaign, Coach Steve Goers' Panthers won 22 games, and knocked off perennial powers West Aurora and East Aurora in regional and sectional play, respectively. The dream season, however, ended at Assembly Hall in the quarter-final game as the Panthers lost to Breese Mater Dei, 63-49. Despite the loss, Panther fans packed the school's gym for a welcome home assembly.
The Oswego School District Board held a closed door executive session to discuss penalties for four Oswego High School students arrested for 'streaking'-running naked-on school property. The board chose to give each of the students a ten-day suspension. (Streaking was a brief fad across the country in 1974.)
45 years ago this month...
Oswego Community Bank officials unveiled plans to construct a new bank building at Jackson and Madison (U.S. Route 34) streets in the village. The vacant property had previously been the site of the Red Brick School, which was torn down in 1965.
The new Oswego Post Office building opened at the corner of Madison (U.S. Route 34) and Jackson streets. The building occupied a portion of a block, which once served as the location of the Red Brick School. The school was razed in 1965.
The Oswego Ledger staff moved into their new offices at 68 Main Street, the former home of Shuler's Drugstore.
The Ledger reported that circulation of books from the Oswego Township Library had risen steadily since 1967 when the number of books loaned out in the month of February was 2,513. It increased to over 3,700 last month and there was a total of 197 reference questions asked.
50 years ago this month...
Plans for the installation of traffic signals on Ill. Route 25 at the Mill Street bridge in Montgomery were reviewed by the village board. The village's engineering consultant, Walter E. Deuchler Jr., presented the plans.
"One of the largest public meetings in the history of Oswego was held Monday evening in the high school gym to hear a report on the proposed method of financing and sanitary sewer facilities for the Oswego area to be annexed to the Aurora Sanitary District. Over 275 interested property owners showed up for the presentation of facts and figures by attorney Robert Dolph, speaking for the sanitary district trustees," the Ledger reported.
"The Christian in Boulder Hill: in Politics; Race Relations; Juvenile Delinquency; Alcoholism; and the Morals of our Teenagers," were the topics for a series of open-to-the public discussions held at the Boulder Hill Neighborhood Church.
The Ledger reported that area businesses were asked to close between 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. March 27 in observance of Good Friday.
The Boulder Hill Civic Association sent a letter to the Illinois Department of Transportation containing suggestions aimed at improving traffic safety at the entrances to the subdivision off U.S. Route 30 and Ill. Route 25. (The traffic signals at Route 30 and Briarcliff Road were installed the following year, 1965).
55 years ago this month...
Jesse Owens, star of the U.S. Track team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, came to Oswego to speak at a meeting of the PTA. Then a staffer for the Illinois Youth Commission, the four time Olympic gold medal winner spoke on the "Brighter Side of the Coin," the Ledger reported.
Contractors for the Illinois Department of Transportation were proceeding with the construction of Bypass U.S. Route 30 at the Kane-Kendall county line. The project, which linked U.S. Route 34 and Ill. Route 47, included construction of a massive two lane bridge spanning the Fox River in Montgomery. The bridge was scheduled for completion by summer. The bypass was built to relieve heavy truck traffic through downtown Aurora and to provide quick access to the newly opened Caterpillar, Inc. and Western Electric plants near Montgomery. A leading proponent of the bypass was colorful and controversial Aurora Mayor Paul Egan.
60 years ago this month...
In separate, positive ballots the Montgomery Village Board approved the issuance of a liquor license to Ernest and Harriett Mikel to operate the Mill Tavern at Mill and North River streets, and the installation of six new street lights on North Main Street.
New traffic signs were put up on Madison Street (U.S. Route 34) at the Red Brick School in Oswego. "The signs were obtained with the cooperation of the village board and policeman Paul Dwyre, and are furnished by the Coca-Cola Co.," the Ledger reported.
Montgomery Police Chief Bob Woodard was a candidate for Kendall County sheriff. An ad for Woodard published in the Ledger described Woodard as being "instrumental in solving the burglaries at Burkhart's Garage, Johnson's Tavern, and Shuler's Drug store [in Oswego]."
Meanwhile, Woodard's opponent, Frank Martyn, published a single ad in the Ledger announcing his campaign would be funded solely from his salary as a police officer. "I will be unable to insert very many political advertisements in newspapers or use other usual methods of advertising employed by politicians," Woodard wrote.
An ad for N.M. Tripp Insurance in Oswego published in the Ledger read, "Life begins at 40...for those who do not do 60 when they are 20!"
65 years ago this month...
The Record included this notice: "Gambling in all forms in Kendall county has reached the place where it can no longer be considered a pastime. Please take notice that all complaints will be investigated and anyone found violating the gambling laws will be prosecuted. D.C. MEWHIRTER, State's Attorney; WILLIAM E. HAYDEN, Sheriff."
70 years ago this month...
Oswego High School students were doing their part to help with the war effort. The Record reported: "Students in the Oswego high school have purchased $3,216.55 in stamps and bonds and in the grade school $1961.90 since school opened last September."
75 years ago this month...
It was a difficult month for two area automobile owners. The Record reported: "John Kinsel has recovered his stolen automobile. It was taken from his yard a few weeks ago and was found in Chicago. The car was not damaged and only a few tools and accessories were taken. On Tuesday evening, March 21, Woodrow Sergeson's auto caught fire on the road near his home on the Oswego-Plainfield road. The Oswego Fire department was called, as it was feared the gasoline tank would explode and scatter the flames beyond control. The auto was damaged beyond repair. It is believed the fire was caused by a short circuit in the wiring. A small amount of insurance was carried."
Another report from the Record: "Oscar Shoger's auto also caught fire last week. His son, David, was driving from town and was near home when he noticed flames. He quickly ran for the fire extinguisher and the fire was put out without much damage being done."
80 years ago this month...
A youngster was struck and injured by a motorist while crossing Madison Street at Jackson Street at the Red Brick School in Oswego. The Record's Oswego correspondent warned parents to caution their children about running across the increasingly busy street: "The little school boys walk and play in Madison Street not realizing the danger from traffic which has been unusually heavy since the coming of the direct highway to Naperville."
Also from the Record's Oswego correspondent, "On Sunday evening, Lawrence Ode lighted a match to see if he needed more water in the radiator of his car. A flash of fire came out, burning his face, but not seriously. The explosion came from the alcohol solution."
From the March 28 Record "R.B. Stevens is driving his auto with only a skeleton top. On Saturday evening, March 17, a boy from the St. Charles home took the auto from the street in Oswego and it was found the next day at Morris, overturned with windows broken and the top stripped of all covering."
85 years ago this month...
The Record reported March 6: "The town was very quiet Monday morning, most folks sitting around their radios listening to the (President Herbert) Hoover Inaugural."
In local sports, the Record reported: "The Oswego high school basketball teams are entered in the tournament at West High, Aurora, this week."
The Record shared this editorial comment from the Geneva Republican: "Republican readers will remember that the November grand jury passed a resolution asking that the sheriff's office [of Kane County] be given a new and large kitchen equipment, and at least two machine guns for use by the deputy sheriffs. The stove was purchased and installed several weeks ago, and on Wednesday of this week, the sheriff received two modern machine guns. He states that the ammunition for these guns must be purchased from the government, which keeps a record of the size and number of all such firearms and the amount of ammunition purchased. We trust that neither the sheriff nor his deputies will find occasion to use these instruments of slaughter other than for target practice."
90 years ago this month...
The death of Martha White was announced in the March 19 Record. White had been the Oswego correspondent for the newspaper. Rev. James Craighead and Thomas R. Quayle conducted the services at the church and at the Oswego cemetery. No Oswego news appeared thereafter in the Record until April 9.
This item appeared in the March 16 Record: Among the most serious losses the village of Oswego has sustained in recent years is the departure from this earth of Miss Martha White. Miss White was possessed of an unusual number of accomplishments. She was one of the most gifted of the young women of the county. She possessed sweet and powerful soprano voice, was an accomplished musician, equally at home at the piano or pipe organ. She was exceedingly well read and kept up with the times. She was a capable business woman and her powers of conversation were of the highest order. It was to be expected therefore that the capacity of the Presbyterian church was taxed to its utmost when the last rites were paid to all that was earthly of well known friend on Sunday afternoon.
95 years ago this month...
An editorial comment from the Record: "The baseball men are soon to leave on their spring training trips Sure sign the war is over."
Copy from Chicago Telephone Company published in the Record read as follows: "The word 'Good-by' at the end of a telephone conversation is not only a courtesy between those who have been talking but it is definite indication that the conversation is terminated, and that the receiver may be returned to the hook without discourtesy. Don't forget to say Good-by when you have concluded your telephone talk."
From another Record editorial: "The AE&C (Railroad) gives the poorest service ever experienced by the writer and by the majority of the readers of the Record. There is no idea of a schedule, the road bed is worse than useless and the fare is sky high. Every day or so there is a miss on the number of cars to be run to Yorkville. The village boards of Montgomery, Oswego and Yorkville should demand satisfaction."
100 years ago this month...
The Record reported: "A mass meeting in Oswego under the auspices of the XIX Century club will be held in their club rooms on March 10, at 2:30 p.m. Mrs. Edward Stewart of the Illinois State Suffrage Association will talk on 'Why the women should be interested in politics.' All women in the township are urged to attend."
In local news, the Record reported: "Alvin D. Mitchell, Oswego, on Sept. 30, 1912 was run over by an electric car in the night and lost his right foot. His wife, Martha M. Mitchell, now bring suit under the Dram Shop law for the loss of her means of support. The suit is against Frey & Co., then keeping a saloon in Oswego and John P. Schickler, the damages assessed at $20,000. B.F. Herrington is representing the wife and six minor children. The trial will equal the famous Bell case of the '90s, which put the old City Hotel out of business and bankrupted several of its backers."
110 years ago this month...
The Record reported that a Levi Gates was the initial owner of the land where Riverview Park in Montgomery was built.
On March 23, 1904, the Record's Oswego correspondent wrote that a number of changes had taken place in the village during the previous 40 or 50 years. The writer said: "Oswego once had in operation a lime kiln, a brick kiln, a grist or flouring mill, two sawmills, a broom factory, two cooperage shops, two wagon shops, a brewery, a cabinet shop, four hotels, a lodge of each of the Sons of Temperance, Odd Fellows, and the Ancient Druids; also one or more private schools, the county seat-All of these things have gone. Furthermore, it had nine stores of general merchandise, now but one; the churches have diminished from six to four, and then it also had frequent Universalist and occasional Episcopalian services-none of which is now. As to saloons, classing them with what used to be groceries, the place held about its own."
The rink bowling alley at 60 Main Street in downtown Oswego was been sold by Rodney Madus to Jacob Knuth, the Record reported. The Record continued, "According to talk, it is the best paying property in town and that under the new management will be much improved by lighting it with acetylene gas, carpeting the floor and having the room nicely decorated. Now that the ladies have taken up the healthful exercise of bowling it will become refined; they will want to have things neat and dainty; that instead of the rumbling and clattering noise made, as is the case now, their racked will be dainty, too."
115 years ago this month...
"John Schickler has commenced excavating for his 65 foot front brick building at the [northwest] corner of Main and Washington," the Record reported from Oswego on March 22, 1899. (The building, 110 years later, is now occupied by The Marmalade Tree and Art's Barbershop.)
120 years ago this month...
From the Record's Oswego correspondent: "Prize-fights for Oswego doubtless are a thing of the past and no such exhibition will ever again occur here; but to be invaded some night for a cock-fight is not an improbability, and of the two kinds of fight, the latter, by far, is the most detestable."
125 years ago this month...
"The corner butcher shop got on fire Sunday about noon; by the prompt response of the fire department it was put out so quick that the damage was immaterial," according to the Record's Oswego correspondent.
130 years ago this month...
"A brown and black bear and two Italians gave a pretty good street performance," the Record reported from Oswego.
Another item from the Record: "Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Bunn-who are newly married and quite a good looking couple-are visiting friends here."
The Record also reported: "Quite a curiosity was in town the other day in the shape of a span of wooly horses; they were of a brown color their hair quite long and curly. The owner said that they came from Montana, were twin brothers, and out of ordinary horses. That it was supposed the freak of nature was brought about by their mother being frightened by a buffalo."
135 years ago this month...
"The resumption of legal whiskey in Oswego took place yesterday morning," the Record reported on March 13, 1879. "George Burkhart and George Troll are the licensed dispensers thus far and now you can get your toddy without resorting to duplicity."
140 years ago this month...
The Record reported March 19: "The [temperance] crusade is now only yet the most exciting issue of the community, but is growing in interest and importance as time rolls on, and the persuasive power of it is increasing daily. The lightning rodders are getting ready to move; a number have gone already."
Another report in the Record: "The authorities of this town have been very energetic the past week in repairing the streets; several stone cross-walks have been constructed, a sewer across Main street uncovered and capped, the principal business portion of that street graveled, etc. Of course some will say that all this has been done just now for effect-the election is close by."
145 years ago this month...
The Record reported from Oswego March 4: "In view of the approaching corporation election, a meeting was held in Chapman's Hall a week ago last Friday evening for the purpose of harmonizing the conflicting elements on the liquor question. The extremists from either side were poorly represented and the conservatives had it pretty much their own way."
This item also appeared in the Record: "Oliver H. Sherwood was buried last Sunday. Aged 47 years. So we go."