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...
Contractors for the Oswego Fire Protection District were proceeding with construction of the agency's Station No. 3 just east of Orchard Road in Montgomery. Village officials had arranged for a developer to donate the site for the village to the fire district.
Just south of the new fire station in Oswego, workers were finishing work on the Metra Park-n-Ride facility at the northwest corner of Orchard and Mill roads.
15 years ago this month...
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) notified the Village of Oswego the agency would seek contractor bids in June for the installation of traffic signals at Main and Washington streets in the village's downtown.
Craig Weber was elected Oswego Village President, defeating incumbent Budd Bieber by more than a 2-1 margin. In Montgomery, incumbent board members Roger Burrell, Marilyn Michelini and Pete Heinz all retained their board seats.
Kendall County residents finally had their chance to personally congratulate U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Yorkville, on his election as U.S. Speaker of the House four months earlier. Hastert, a 1960 graduate of Oswego High School, was honored at a Yorkville open house. "It was important that his peers in Congress elected him to this role at a time when the country needed someone who would model moral values," said Ellis Van Meter, Montgomery village president.
John DuRocher, Montgomery village administrator, announced construction would soon begin on an extension of Fifth Street north from U.S. Route 30 past the site of a proposed Blain's Farm & Fleet store.
20 years ago this month...
With the arrival of spring, contractors resumed work on two major local projects: A new, four lane bridge spanning the Fox River on U.S. Route 34 in downtown Oswego, and the Orchard Road extension, linking Galena Road and Route 34.
Several businesses were planning new stores and restaurants along Douglas Road in Oswego and Montgomery. Oswego officials had received plans for a Boston Market restaurant at the southeast corner of U.S. Route 30 and Douglas Road, while Montgomery officials were reviewing plans for a medical clinic, Powerhouse Gym, and a restaurant near the northwest corner of Douglas Road and Seasons Ridge Boulevard.
25 years ago this month...
A survey was underway in the unincorporated Boulder Hill Subdivision to determine if residents wanted to retain their Montgomery 60538 mailing address or change it to Oswego 60543. The U.S. Postal Service agreed to conduct the survey at the request of Oswego officials and the Boulder Hill Civic Association. Village President Jim Detzler said he believed a change to the Oswego address would help to unify the two communities.
30 years ago this month...
Two major road construction projects would soon start in the Village of Montgomery, village engineer John Moore told the Ledger-Sentinel. The projects included construction of a new two lane bridge spanning the Fox River on Mill Street, and the widening of a traffic-snarled section of Douglas Road in front of the new Settlers Landing shopping center. Rush hour traffic jams had become daily occurrences on the two lane road in front of the center, which housed a Kmart, Walgreens and Dominick's store.
Oswego Public Library district Director Georgia Glynn submitted her resignation after serving in the position for two years. In announcing a search for a replacement, library district board members set the starting salary for the new director at $18,000.
35 years ago this month...
The Fox Valley Sentinel reported April 5: "In a tie vote broken by Oswego Village President Milton L. 'Les' Penn, Oswego Village Board members voted themselves a 100 percent pay increase. "Tempers flared as trustees debated an ordinance proposed by finance committee chairman Lyle Johnson that would give full-term village officials elected after May 1, $50 per board meeting in addition to the current, annual pay," the Sentinel reported. Trustees received an annual stipend of $600. Johnson said Oswego's pay scale was low (Montgomery trustees received a flat $75 per meeting). At an average 15 meetings per year, the new schedule would give board members an additional $750 per year. Board member Leo Froelich wondered how the increase would improve the board's performance. "I don't think it will," Johnson said. "I'm sticking my neck out [politically]. I won't get any of it. I'm thinking about the people who will replace me."
Kendall County Sheriff Vic Frantz announced the sheriff's department would open a satellite police station in the unincorporated Boulder Hill Subdivision. "Close to 65 percent of our calls come from Boulder Hill," Frantz said. "Most of the time they call 911, which is relayed to the Aurora Police Department and then to our office. We hope to eliminate that with this station."
40 years ago this month...
Newly hired police cadet Dennis Schmidt was introduced to the Montgomery Village Board by John Brown, chairman of the board's police and fire commission. Schmidt was sworn-in to duty by Leila Bradley, village clerk.
The Oswego Police Department's weekly report published in the Ledger included cases involving a vehicle stop that resulted in the arrest of two juveniles-a male and a female, respectively-on charges of possession of cannabis and beer; gas caps stolen from vehicles parked at a Main Street business; a hit and run accident at Oswego High School; and a report of repeated obscene phone calls received by a local resident.
Waubonsee Community College's men's baseball team, coached by Oswego resident Bill Prince, played its first game on the team's new diamond at the college's Sugar Grove campus. "...the Chiefs have a sports complex that should be seen to be appreciated. You've come a long way Waubonsee," wrote Oswego Ledger sports editor Gary Stutzman.
45 years ago this month...
The Ledger reported: "The Citizens' Advisory Council for the Oswego Community Unit School District 308 held their organizational meeting at the school's administration center Monday evening, April 7. The council's function was defined as being one of study to determine the educational objectives, to project future enrollment, to survey the physical facilities available, to consider the financial position, and then to seek solutions which are both educationally sound and acceptable to the residents of the school district."
In its annual business growth section, the Ledger reported that Oswego could be proud of its recent growth. The paper editorialized: "The population of 1,500 is a far cry from the one family occupying what is now Block 20 in the village in the year 1834. There have been at least 60 new homes constructed in the village in the past four years. These are to be found in Herren's Brookside Manor and Windcrest subdivisions. Both developments have had new property annexed to the village for future homes. The village can boast of a new post office building, drug store, pet shop, and car wash. We also have a golf club, our first in this locale since 1935."
50 years ago this month...
The Boulder Hill Civic Association was seeking increased fire protection service from the Oswego Fire Protection District for the rapidly growing unincorporated subdivision. In a statement published in the Ledger, the association said they believed the Oswego Fire Department, led by Fire Chief Forrest Wooley, was a good one. "We are only asking it (the fire department) to grow in men and equipment along with our growth," the statement concluded.
To encourage donations to the Oswego Community Library Building Fund campaign, those who made donations were to have their names placed in a container to be sealed in the building's cornerstone.
To mark the start of the baseball season, Jack Johnson's Appliance store on Main Street in downtown Oswego was offering Zenith color TVs as part of a "Baseball Special" sale, according to an ad in the Ledger. The ad also listed the store hours along with "or just call us for an appointment."
55 years ago this month...
In balloting for Oswego Township offices, Kenneth Gowran was elected road commissioner over Everett Hafenrichter, 385-138, while Wayne Fosgett ran unopposed for township supervisor.
A special referendum was set for May 9 to ask voters to form a unit district out of Oswego Grade School District 8 and Oswego High School District 300.
Voters in the Village of Oswego elected Milton L. "Les" Penn, Floyd Foss, and Edgar Gilbert to the village board on April 21. James Vinson was elected police magistrate in an uncontested election. A proposal to nearly double the village's property tax rate was decisively defeated, nearly 3-1.
An item from the Ledger: "The Oswego Volunteer Fire protection District could possibly use more volunteer firemen for second calls. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer fireman, send your name and address to volunteer Firemen, Box 354, Oswego, Ill."
60 years ago this month...
Bohn's Food store opened in its new brick building at 60 Main Street in downtown Oswego. To mark the occasion, the Ledger reported, "...among the many opening features will be the violin playing of Jim McGlue all day Friday, the organ music of Loraine Peshia Wednesday and Thursday evenings, and the arrival of Little Oscar and his Weinermobile on Saturday afternoon."
The Montgomery Village Board voted unanimously to hold a special election to fill the vacant position of police magistrate for the village.
Oswego High School's baseball team under the direction of coach Ken Pickerill began a 12 game spring schedule April 13 at Yorkville High School. Among those trying out for the team were Bill Figgins, Alvin Wheeler, and Glenn Leifheit.
The Oswego Village Board voted to hold the first-ever community clean-up week April 19-24. Trucks were to be provided to haul trash and rubbish away. The board tabled a request by the Nineteenth Century Club to paint the village-owned building at 64 Main Street in which the club operated a lending library. The plat of a proposed Bartholomew's First Subdivision was presented to the board for approval. The subdivision was to be located on the east side of Ill. Route 25 extending south from the Bartholomew residence and including seven residential lots along Route 25.
The request of Harold Stiefbold for a license to sell beer in connection with "a contemplated eating place within the village limits" was denied by the Oswego Village Board, according to the Ledger: "No provision is made for such a license in the existing ordinances and the village board deemed it unwise to create an ordinance calling for such a license," the Ledger reported.
70 years ago this month...
World War II was still in progress, but business was in the news in Oswego. According to the Record's Oswego correspondent in April 1944, "Mrs. Marvin Marquardt has sold her Margo Dress shop to Mrs. Herman Bohn and Mrs. Lester Fechner."
75 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported: "Many from this vicinity, especially those who go to the Maple Lane Saddle Club, knew Cynthia Lon, a horse trainer at the Solfisberg farms at St. Charles, who died April 1 with spinal meningitis. Although an odd vocation for a woman, Miss Lon was an expert trainer of horses."
80 years ago this month...
Kendall County and northern Illinois was feeling the effects of dust storms that were raging in the nation's heartland. The Record commented: "Even old timers say they never remember such wind and dust storms as are being experienced this spring. The ditches along some roads are filling up with dirt as they fill with snow in the winter time. The farmers and their teams in the fields are choked with dust; the housewives, especially those who house-cleaned early are desperate; the dust sifts in everywhere."
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported April 11, "The Oswego library has a new coat of white paint, the work of the CWA (Civil Works Administration)." (The building is now the office of the Ledger-Sentinel at 64 Main Street).
Also from the Record's Oswego correspondent: "The farmers have begun working in the fields with renewed hope that this year's crops will at least afford them a living and cash for taxes and interest on their debts. The numerous candidates have returned to their customary work, most of them with hope deferred, after the April primaries."
85 years ago this month...
The Record reported the misfortune of an Oswego man as follows: "Robert Herren's automobile, stolen April 7, was recovered April 11 near Chicago, stripped of good tires, tools, and blankets."
Herman Young, mayor of Oswego, was knocked down by a truck driven rapidly through the streets Wednesday evening, April 3. He suffered bruises and scalp wounds, but was able to walk to a doctor's office for assistance, the Record reported.
90 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported village officials had traveled to Springfield to lobby state lawmakers. "They met with the state highway engineers in an effort to extend the concrete road across the Waubonsie Creek to the school house and this stretch of concrete road is assured by the state highway department.
It is said that the elevation over the Burlington tracks at the Wormley crossing north of Oswego will be completed this summer. This will be a good time to build the viaduct since the east side of the river from Oswego to Aurora is still in good condition," the Record reported.
The Record commented: "We have been asked by one of our subscribers as to our idea of the Tea Pot Dome scandal. Tritely, we think the whole affair is a 'tempest in a tea pot.' We can find no evidence of anything wrong so far."
95 years ago this month...
United States forces were in combat in Europe as World War I continued. The Record commented: "Members of Company I, 339th Infantry refused to get into the front lines of the fight in Russia. We don't say in the war with Russia because we are supposed to have none. We have no idea what the Michigan and Wisconsin troops are supposed to be doing in Russia."
The Record also reported that two local young people had died due to the flu which was sweeping the nation. "Other relatives are sick," the paper added.
In local news, the Record reported: "There was an accident on the trestle at Oswego a week ago, which was not made public till long after it was over. A freight car ran into a passenger car while the former was in a smokescreen made by a Burlington freight engine. It was simply luck that the cars didn't leave the track and kill someone. Someday, perhaps, there will be a correction made on the Aurora-Yorkville line and the track will be usable. The DeKalb and the Plainfield roads out of Aurora in the hands of a receiver or have been are Pullman coaches compared to the local cars."
100 years ago this month...
Women had secured the right to vote. The Record's Oswego correspondent reported on the first local female to vote: "Mrs. Margaret Young, Oswego's oldest resident, was the first to cast her ballot at the election Tuesday. Exercising their first right at the polls, 273 women voted; 22 of that number voted wet. The most pleasant feature of the contest was in the fact that the men rose in their might and carried the township dry by a majority of 34, 389 votes being cast. The XIX Century Club rooms furnished women's headquarters. Any idea that the place and time were used to instruct the women to vote dry is erroneous. They were instructed how to vote either wet or dry. When votes were counted, 25 men's and 6 women's ballots were found effective."
A headline in the Record read: "1864-1914 EXIT THE OLD MAN AND HIS VAGARIES". Under the headline this Record Publisher John R. Marshall wrote this letter to the paper's readers: "With this week's issue of The Kendall County Record I complete a period of 50 years as editor and publisher. The first number of The Record was printed in the last week of April 1864, though it was dated May 6; the next issue of The Record, under control of my successor will be dated May 6, 1914.
"I have leased The Record printing plant and the paper to my son, Hugh R. Marshall, who has been business manager of the same for the past six years. He takes possession tomorrow, April 20, and my responsibility for The Record ceases.
"It had been my purpose to write and print a long valedictory in this issue but the purpose has been set aside for various reasons and the reader will not be afflicted with my newspaper obituary.
"In the 50 years of my service, it has been a purpose to deal justly, and give Kendall County a clean, home paper. I believe I succeeded in this purpose; if not, it has been because of poor judgment rather than desire to shirk any duty.
"Writing this article does not come freely--there seems to be something hampering me at the typewriter; maybe it is because I am giving up the work of my life. Paraphrasing the sentiment of St. Paul: I hope I have fought a good fight; I know I have finished my course; whether there is a future life of peaceful rest 'beyond the river,' I have yet to learn. When you have done your best, what more can be done? If I have failed in many things, it is unfortunate. I want to quit with the good will of you all and I here extend to you my wishes for your success and happiness in every proper avenue of life. But it is not 'Good-bye'--Just 'au revoir,' 'auf wiedersehen.'
110 years ago this month...
This report was filed by the Record's Oswego correspondent: "Frank Gates' milk team ran away one day from near the creamery. The wagon was upset, the milk bottles somewhat scattered, but in dragging the overturned wagon the horses soon timed and were easily stopped by Dave Hall. No material damage was done."
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported: "The ladies' bowling team of course let its visitors, a Yorkville team, win the match game between them the other afternoon, an act of social courtesy."
120 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent filed this report concerning an incident of mistaken identity: "There are two men in this place and prominent men, too, not at all related but who look so near alike and at present happen to dress alike that they frequently are mistaken one for the other, even sometimes by their own families. The other day one was met on the street by the wife of the other, who rather bluntly said to him, 'Go and get a couple pounds of crackers and come home with them right away.' Before the man could catch his breath to tell her that there must be some mistake about it, she had turned and was off. Of course her husband didn't come home right away and when he did was met with 'Why didn't you come home as I told you, and where are them crackers?' Being assured that he didn't know she wanted crackers, and that he hadn't seen anything of her all that afternoon, the lady felt that an apology was due to somebody."
"'Putt and Huff' makes a nice looking and nice sounding name for a firm, which is the newly established firm here for undertaking," the Record's Oswego correspondent reported on April 11, 1894. "They very efficiently carried out their first service in conducting the funeral of Mrs. Rieger." Dr. William Putt had joined with a Mr. Huff to form the business.
When taking into consideration the many labor troubles, it should become apparent to most anybody that the old system is worn out and something new needed, something comportable to the changed situation...So long as there is a possibility for the few to say to the many, "you must come to our terms and work or else starve," labor is in semi-slavery; it is striving for its freedom.
125 years ago this month...
"By someone lighting a cigar and throwing the burning match away Sunday afternoon in the cemetery, the dry grass and leaves were set afire which got out of control of those present," the Record's Oswego correspondent reported on April 10, 1889. "From H.C. Cutter's, the nearest house, help and implements were procured for its extinction, which was not accomplished until it had burned over quite a trace including three picket fences."
A week later, the correspondent wrote that spring clean-up was underway in Oswego: "The village authorities have caused the removal of the loose stone, old oyster cans, manure, and rubbish generally in the streets so that Oswego now looks quite tidy."
130 years ago this month...
The Record reported April 10: "The subject most talked about by us Oswegoans the past week was the Yorkville small-pox, and we had any amount of gratuitous advice on hand as to how it should be handled."
Another report from Oswego; "The bake oven is now in operation, and the first baking, that of cake, was highly successful. A bakery should be one of the desirable institutions to have in a town and our people should give it all their patronage so as to make it remunerative."
135 years ago this month...
From the Record's Oswego correspondent: "Thursday evening while George Parker was over in town to witness the canvass of the vote, his son, Willie, about 12 years old, stepped out doors and heard something about the barn; thinking it was his brother he called to him, but receiving no answer he went back in the house got a navy revolver and with it started to the barn and found a fellow just in the act of leading off their best span of horses, but abandoned them when he saw the boy coming; Willie shot at the thief and followed him up, but another one who apparently had been on top of a hay stack put in an appearance and snapped a pistol at Willie close by; Willie then retreated and before he could get reinforcement the fellows had cleared out and no further trace of them could be found."
John G. Knapp had erected a new slaughterhouse near the mouth and on the south bank of the Waubonsie (Creek), the Record reported.
This item appeared in the April 24 Record: Madison (Street in Oswego) is now the most tony street in this place and especially that portion of it immediately north of the Baptist church. Mr. Larkin, a new comer, has put down a new sidewalk, constructed a new fence, furnished new blinds to the house and otherwise much improved it by lattice work, etc. The next neighbor, Mr. Shaver, has also caused the construction of a new fence and a change of his front yard by the removal of some of the trees. Next Mr. Mann always keeps his premises in the most stateful shape. On the corners of the opposite block are the two new residences of Supt. Duffy and Eliz. Kennedy all of which is giving that part of Oswego a very aristocratic appearance. There are also many improvements in progress in other parts of the town.
140 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported: "At the municipal election last Saturday the entire board was reelected by more than two to one; any one at all acquainted with the voting elements of this village was satisfied that no prohibition ticket could be elected, no matter who might be the candidate and for that reason some--I among which--were in favor of putting out the most radical temperance men. The campaign did develop some queer features of political science; some who had the most to say about others being on the force kept themselves most skillfully on both sides of it, but time forbids now to go into details. For the future prosecution of the temperance reform, I would suggest a change of base and tactics."
This notice also appeared in the Record following the election: "The subject of Mr. Tobias's sermon next Sunday morning, if nothing happens to interfere, will be 'The defeat and victory of the people of Oswego at the last corporation election."
The Record also offered this editorial comment: "Nazareth had a bad name, so when the Savior began his mission he was denounced because of having been brought up in that place; the same is true of Oswego, from time immemorial they have been charged with cussedness and its citizens more or less denounced just because they lived here, and further whatever happens here appears a great deal worse than it would had it happened elsewhere; not only is this the case with outsiders but many of our own people are given to this notion."
Record Publisher and Editor John R. Marshall published this advisory to the paper's readers: "The editor of this paper does not consider himself responsible for the opinions of his correspondents."