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...
An Oswego resident told the village board he was unhappy with Wal-Mart's plans to locate a store along U.S. Route 34 east of Douglas Road in the village. The resident charged the store would have a serious impact on the Heritage of Oswego Subdivision, across Route 34 from the store site. "I personally feel like we're being surrounded by apartments and retail and it's going to hurt my property values and not be a pleasant place to live," the resident said.
The Montgomery Village Board approved the annexation and zoning of a mixed use development along the north side of U.S. Route 30 on the village's east side that included plans for the largest retail center yet to be constructed in the village. The proposed Ogden Hill center was planned for construction at the intersection of Route 30 and U.S. Route 34.
With work well underway on a new Montgomery Police station, village officials moved ahead with planning for the construction of a new village hall to be built in the village's downtown. Village board members agreed to set a meeting with their financial consultants to discuss the financing plan for a new village hall and authorized their building consultants to proceed with the planning for the new municipal center.
Contractors for the Oswego School District were nearing completion on the new Oswego East High School under construction along the west side of Harvey Road on Oswego's east side.
15 years ago this month...
New home construction in Oswego was running ahead of 1998's record pace, but had decreased in Montgomery, the Ledger-Sentinel reported. Between Jan. 1 and June 30, Oswego's building and zoning department had awarded 205 building permits for single family homes, 17 more than the 188 permits awarded during the same six month period last in 1998. The village issued a record-setting 386 permits in 1998. Home construction in Montgomery, however, had slowed from 1998's modest level when the village's building department awarded 23 total permits. According to building department figures, just seven permits were issued for new single family homes between Jan. 1 and June 30 of 1999.
Village of Montgomery officials confirmed they were considering selling the rights to provide municipal water service to the unincorporated Boulder Hill Subdivision to a private firm.
20 years ago this month...
Construction on the second phase of the Orchard Road extension linking U.S. Route 30 in Montgomery with U.S. Route 34 just west of Oswego was well underway. The new section of road was scheduled for completion by early 1995.
A strike by the United Auto Workers against Caterpillar, Inc. that started June 20 at the firm's plants across the country continued throughout the month. Officials at the Kendall County Food Pantry in Yorkville reported they were expecting requests for food items from local striking Caterpillar workers.
The Montgomery Village Board agreed to go on record in support of state plans to close Albright Road on either side of U.S. Route 30. In so doing, board members cited the high incidence of accidents at the intersection.
25 years ago this month...
The home building boom begun in 1988 in the Oswego-Montgomery area was picking up steam. During the first six months of 1989, Montgomery issued a total of 30 building permits for new homes, while Oswego awarded 15 permits, local officials announced.
30 years ago this month...
Contractors began demolition work on Montgomery's Mill Street bridge June 21. Demolition and construction of a new bridge were expected to take about one year to complete. Traffic in the village was detoured onto the Ashland Avenue bridge to the north and the U.S. Route 30 bridge to the south. The old bridge had spanned the Fox River since the 1920s.
Contractors for the Oswego School District removed asbestos materials from East View Elementary School in Oswego and Long Beach Elementary School in the unincorporated Boulder Hill Subdivision.
Grand opening ceremonies were held at the new Dominick's supermarket at Montgomery's Settlers Landing shopping center.
35 years ago this month...
The Oswego Public Library District Board voted to set an Oct. 15 referendum on a plan to sell $850,000 in bonds to finance the expansion of the library building on Jefferson Street in downtown Oswego. The planned addition was the first at the library since it was constructed in 1964.
Judge Wilson Burnell delayed a court hearing on a controversial plan to establish a mosquito abatement district in Boulder Hill for a month.
The Village of Montgomery and the Aurora Sanitary District were at odds over the cause of extensive flooding of basements in homes along Sherman Avenue.
40 years ago this month...
Oswego High School basketball fans were disappointed when boys head varsity coach Steve Goers announced he would leave OHS to become head coach at LaSalle-Peru. Just four months earlier Goers had guided the Panthers to an unprecedented Elite Eight berth in the state basketball tournament. To reach the state tourney, Oswego scored consecutive upsets over both West and East Aurora.
45 years ago this month...
The new 1970 RCA Victor color televisions, radios, and stereos were on sale at Jack Johnson's appliance store on Main Street in Oswego, according to an advertisement in the Ledger.
From the July 24 Ledger: "Someone entered the Oswegoland Park District pool manager's office last Friday night and made off with six of the guards' warm-up jackets and one small transistor radio. It is suspected that entrance was gained by use of a key that was taken from the office prior to the break-in."
50 years ago this month...
Boulder Hill developer Don Dise announced the first businesses had signed leases for spaces in the new Boulder Hill Market on Boulder Hill Pass, just east of Ill. Route 25. Gromer Supermarkets, Grimm's Drug Store, and a barbershop called "The Yankee Clipper" were the first tenants.
The Sports and Social Club of Boulder Hill sponsored an Independence Day children's parade from Boulder Hill School. The club gave out prizes to the best decorated bicycles, doll buggies, wagons, coaster wagons, and tricycles during a ceremony at SuzanJohn Park.
The annual Oswego Days community celebration, held in the village's downtown business district, featured game booths put on by the Oswegoland Jaycees Club and a concert by the Aurora Barber Shoppers accompanied by the Fox Valley Square Dancers. Oswego volunteer firefighters also competed in a water fight with firefighters from other area departments.
To celebrate Oswego Days, Denney's Grocery Store on Main Street sponsored a drawing for $10 in free groceries.
Workers for the Oswego School District were busy moving classroom equipment into the new high school building on Ill. Route 71, across from East View Elementary School. The old high school building (now Oswego 308 Center) was also the site of activity as it was being converted into a junior high school.
Low bidder for the contract to build a well house near the intersection of Ill. Route 71 and U.S. Route 34 in Oswego was N.S. Abens Construction of Aurora. The firm submitted a low bid of $24,490.
55 years ago this month...
After a series of delays, Oswego's new water tower and well on Madison Street officially became operational. The siren on the roof of the fire station on Main Street was sounded five times in succession to notify village water customers the new well and tower had become operational. The Ledger reported that village officials were planning an open house at the well and tower to allow local residents an up-close view of the equipment.
The Oswego High School Board voted to award a contract for additions to the high school building on Franklin Street. The $70,000 project included the construction of two locker rooms, a music room, and one classroom.
A total of 576 Oswego and Boulder Hill area youths were registered in the Oswegoland Park District's summer recreation program, park district officials announced. Among the programs offered by the park district were youth outings to Comiskey Park in Chicago to see the first place White Sox. A second outing to Comiskey was set for July 23, the Ledger reported.
60 years ago this month...
"Preliminary work has begun on the new home being built by Forrest Wooley on Garfield Avenue. Work also progresses on Glen Leigh's new domicile on Main Street and on several others in the village," the Ledger reported.
Oswego voters approved a referendum in an 89-43 ballot to levy a special tax for police protection. Proceeds from the new tax were to be used to keep a police officer on duty 24 hours a day and maintain a police car for the police department. The village maintained one full-time daytime officer and a part-time night watchman.
Work was progressing on the new junior high addition to Oswego High School on Franklin Street. In other school news, Earl J. Anderson was appointed high school principal and Lowell Polley was appointed junior high principal. Principal of the intermediate grades at the Red Brick School was Arthur Tramblie.
65 years ago this month...
This notice appeared in the Record: "The Kendall County Record went on a vacation trip last week and didn't get back in time to be delivered the same week. (Editor's note: we are unable to account for the truancy of the papers. They were put in the post office in the usual way and at the usual time. Perhaps the clerks on the trains wish to read the paper thoroughly before parting with them. We hope for better deliveries in the future.)"
A notice from the Record:_
"Beginning July 1, the Oswego Post Office is a second-class office. Theretofore, it was third class. The step-up is due to the larger amount of mail handled during recent years, and it entitles the office to another clerk. Mrs. Dennison is serving part-time in that capacity. The postmaster, Earl McVicker, the assistant, Miss Mabel Thompson, and rural carrier Marshal Young celebrated at the office on July 1."
"The new home being built by Mr. and Mrs. F.E. Fiddyment on South Main Street in Yorkville is very attractive in looks and in construction. It is the first of the (steel) Lustron homes in the vicinity and is unique in its fabrication," the Record reported.
70 years ago this month...
The Record was filled with updates on local servicemen in its July 1944 editions. Here are just a few: "Mrs. McKeown has received a letter from her husband, Pfc Everett McKeown, in the medical Corps, in England, that he was wounded in the invasion of France, one leg fractured by a mortal shell, after he had landed to set up their company on the continent. He is now in England in a hospital.
Corp. Stewart Johnson from Santa Fe, New Mexico, came home July 23 for a few days with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Johnson, before he leaves to go to Akron, Ohio, where he will be married. Staff Sergeant Virgil R. Shoger, somewhere in England, has been presented with an Air Medal for exceptionally meritorious achievement in combat missions over enemy occupied Europe. Virgil entered the Service on June 20, 1943, and is at present assigned to a B-24 Liberator Bomber as the radio man and gunner."
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported: "Mr. and Mrs. Howard Herren have sold the Main Café to Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Carpenter who took over the business on July 1."
75 years ago this month...
"The store building at the corner of Main and Washington streets [now the Marmalade Tree] in Oswego, has been remodeled inside and out," according to the Record in July 1939. "There are two nice apartments on the second floor; a new entrance and stairway has been built leading to the apartments and the XIX Club rooms. There is a new front to the Carr's Department store, a plumbing shop to be occupied by Mr. Thompson in the rear of the store," the Record reported.
80 years ago this month...
A crowd estimated at 1,200 attended the movies given on Oswego's Main Street by local businessmen on June 27, the Record reported. "The Lost World" was the feature. The comedy was, "Mum's the Word," and the third episode of "The Indians are Coming" concluded the evening, according to the Record.
A July Diamond Ball Tournament at Grocer's Field in Yorkville beginning at 1 p.m. on July 4 was advertised in the Record. Eight Kendall County teams were to play. "Admission price of 10 cents will also entitle you to free admission to the evening game between the Ohse Grocers and the Colored Monarchs," the ad read.
"Route 34 to Route 65 (now Ill. Route 71) has been connected by a macadam road through town from the bridge to the corner of Washington and Madison streets and north to the paving near the Norris Farm," the Record reported.
85 years ago this month...
The Record published these editorial comments: "The bill to prohibit the manufacture and sale of machine guns which recently made its progress through the state assembly seem to be just the beginning of another attempt to deprive law-abiding citizens of firearms. This bill if passed will probably be followed by another to prohibit the sale of revolvers and finally those who like to hunt or try their skill at the rifle range or at the traps will have to take up checkers for entertainment.
"We are very glad to see that the state has started a survey of the Fox River the purpose of which is to see what can be done about making the river what it was before the people saw fit to use it as a sewer. We sincerely hope that the Fox will be cleaned up as it will offer a lot more to the citizens of this and other communities. Several years ago some of the folks in town owned boats and canoes so they could enjoy the river, but soon it became so offensive that there was no pleasure in being about it. Now we must drive for miles to get near a river or lake to benefit from the same thing we might have at home."
90 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent reported the steeple on the [Red Brick] school house had been taken down.
Another editorial from the Record: "A movement is rapidly gaining headway for the passage of a law which will provide for the purification of the water of Fox River by stopping the emptying of all kinds of sewage and garbage into the river. This movement is fathered by the Fox Valley Federation, an organization made up of over a hundred societies of Kane, Kendall, McHenry and LaSalle counties. The membership of the Federation is made up of delegates chosen by the different societies which are interested in the cleansing of the river and which are anxious to make the river fit for bathing and fishing as well as to protect the citizens along the river from sickness caused by pollution. The immediate business of the Federation is to father a law which will provide for a Fox River Sanitary District, give it police power which will compel the property owners and cities to cease turning sewers and like pollution into the river. It is a great prospect and should have the undivided attention of all who live in the Valley of the Fox from McHenry to Ottawa."
The Record reported: "As a step toward living down the charge that we are 'a nation of sixth graders,' many states have passed laws requiring children to remain in school until they have finished the eighth grade or until they have reached the age of 16."
95 years ago this month...
Area residents and businesses were feeling the effects of Prohibition. The Record commented: "There are 43 soft drink 'parlors' in Aurora and hard-boiled denizens of that burg can't find anything suitable to drink in any of 'em."
The Record reported: "Ignoring the plea of President Wilson, the Alabama state senate following Georgia's lead by a vote of 19 to 13 refused to ratify the federal woman's suffrage amendment. Alabama also is a state that is viciously opposed to any restrictions on child labor."
This editorial appeared in the Record under the headline "The Fox River Filth": "Some years ago there was a law passed in the State of Illinois which was to stop the use of the Fox River as a public sewer for the cities on its banks. The law provided that the cities would put in septic tanks and dispose of the sewerage. The enforcement of this law was overlooked during the war time but the state is now getting busy. The Department of Public Works has notified the cities of Aurora, Elgin, and other nearby places that they must get busy and float a bond issue to provide for a new disposal tank. If this is not done at once, the state will refuse them the right of the river and collect damages if they do.
"The condition of Fox River is such that an enforcement is necessary. In the past decade the river had deteriorated in stream value so that it is almost useless as a spot of beauty, a place to fish or swim. The water is polluted to such an extent that to use it for any purpose is dangerous. It is to be hoped that a cleaning of the stream will be affected with the state conservation and again we can catch fish we are not afraid to eat from its ripples.
"Aurora and Elgin are putting up a howl about the expense. They are being answered by the residents along the river and the smaller towns where the river is looked upon as a place for diversion. The cities have dumped refuse as well as sewerage and the big chemical factories have further polluted the river. It is high time the practice was done away with forever."
100 years ago this month...
Arthur E. Roswell of Oswego announced his candidacy for Kendall County Sheriff under the banner of the Progressive Party. A number of county Republicans were supporting the Progressives, and Theodore Roosevelt, who formed it. Kendall County Record Editor Hugh Marshall chastised the Progressives, however, for holding secret meetings and not publicizing their platform.
M.F. Morse advertised that his Oswego store would deliver grocery orders free of charge to farms where threshers were working to harvest the 1914 crop.
110 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent filed this report concerning the annual Fourth of July celebration in the village: "The celebration here of the Fourth, though spread over a week or more, including Sunday, was nevertheless most demonstrative and noisy to a late hour Monday night, making the air thick with smoke and sulphurous in smell--a sort of resemblance of sheol. In the afternoon, the town had been pretty well deserted."
"The harness shop has moved into the stone building (now the American Male & Company building at Main and Jackson streets)_across from the Loran Bros.' livery stable (now the location of Oswego Cyclery at Main and Jackson)," the Record reported from Oswego in July 1904. "Clint Jackson, the former owner has now begun to operate it."
120 years ago this month...
A devastating fire struck Oswego, according to the July 18, 1894 Kendall County Record: "The Congregational Church [at Main and Tyler Street] was destroyed by fire, as was the parsonage, at 1 o'clock Wednesday morning. The fire started in the back part of the parsonage, cause unknown. Rev. J.H. Reed, the pastor, was at home alone. It is fortunate there was no wind, as the village would have been the victim of a disastrous conflagration had there been much of a breeze. There was no insurance on the church, $800 on the house. Mr. Reed had a little insurance on his furniture.
"It is claimed that the church bell was the first cast in Chicago-it being in the year 1849, and that 89 silver dollars had been collected and melted down into the metal that composed it. It was well remembered that 'Black Bill,' a large and very stout Negro, then an inhabitant here, hauled it from Chicago. He only helped unload it.
"The Congregationalists are now holding services in the vacant Baptist church just one block away."
125 years ago this month...
"Independence day in Oswego passed without accident and quiet enough after being once inaugurated; that, however took place with a very noisy demonstration first there being a loud dance in progress and the anvils and other noise producing instruments were fired all night long," the Record reported.
"The funeral of J.J. Budlong will take place Tuesday afternoon. The deceased is said to have been 58 years of age. He became afflicted with dropsy about four years ago," according to the Record.
Another report in the Record from Oswego: "Monday and Tuesday mornings when the people of this town were getting up they found the streets in the business portion lined from one end to the other with hog teams. NaAuSay and Seward were bringing in their hogs. Joe Brown's lot consisted of 75 and averaged 416 pounds."
The Record's Oswego correspondent offered this commentary in one of its July editions: "Truly the cause of equal rights and privileges of the sexes is progressing rapidly. In Wyoming, where long ago the women have enjoyed equal political rights, there they have now also advanced to the liability of equal lynching--the hanging of Kate Maxwell and the Sweetwater Police Magistrate on one limb for mavericking was given by the papers last week, which to me was rather more than ordinarily interesting."
135 years ago this month...
The following letter appeared in the Record July 26 under the headline "Mixing the Races": "The people of Lisbon have been somewhat excited and a good deal puzzled over the marriage of Lewis Tighlman of Morris, a black man, to Miss Ada Codner of Lisbon, a white woman. The marriage took place July 21st at Morris and the ceremony was performed by L.P. Lott, justice of the peace.
"The affair is a very unfortunate one. The father of Miss Codner is a well-to-do farmer, a widower, and this was the only remaining child at home; the others have married well and respectably. Miss Codner seemed to be infatuated by the man Tighlman, who at one time worked for Mr. Codner, and later worked for a Mr. Moore in Lisbon. The father offered his daughter half his farm if she would give the colored man up, but she refused and she ran away with him to Morris and was married. There is no law against it, and the girl must abide by her action. Now, she may think she will be happy, but in a short time when she realizes that she has cut herself off from all old friends, she will have days and years of sorrow. She has wrecked the life of a father and brought shame to her kindred. Not that the man Tighlman is a bad man, but because public opinion frowns upon the mixture of the races, and we are not educated up to it, and never will be.
"The affair is a very sad one, and no man should attempt to lay it to party or politics. It is not even a case to be funny over-the girl has committed an error, and if she was the only sufferer, it would not be so bad.
140 years ago this month...
"Some of our young ladies have made a beginning in dress reform," the Record's Oswego correspondent wrote. "They are now wearing the regular men's straw hats; the next thing they will have is our trouserloons if we don't watch out."
Expressing moral outrage at the Oswego area's youth, the correspondent complained the next week, "If those boys swimming under the bridge on Tuesday afternoon have no common decency, their parents should incorporate a little to them by the means of a switch. They took special pains when a lady and young girl were crossing the bridge to swim out and by various contortions, indecently expose themselves."
A late July baseball game was also in the news: "Last Saturday afternoon the boys from Yorkville played a ball game against Oswego. Mr. George Seeley was selected as umpire and the mercury stood at 104 in the shade. At the close of the fifth inning the game was closed with a score of nine for Oswego and fifteen for Yorkville; the Yorkville boys having to take the train to get back home. Mr. King of the Yorkville club, caught a ball handsomely in the right eye, and a little later an Oswego boy got one in his left eye."
145 years ago this month...
The Record's Oswego correspondent filed this report: "The past week has principally been spent in grumbling and fault-finding, not only were chronic grumblers busy, but everybody else was more or less grumbling; the general cause for grumbling was the weather, but there were also numerous special causes furnishing food for grumblers."
Another Record report from Oswego:_"Probably owing to the approach of the 4th, a good deal of hilarity, stimulated by whiskey and lager has been manifested among a certain class during the week; on one occasion, young Aleck Dano got his countenance disfigured, caused by bringing it in contact with Earl Sutherland's fist or boot. Some boys more patriotic than honest broke during last night a light out of Coffin's store window, and stole some fire crackers. A large flag is suspended across the street from the Drug store to Coffin's and the cannon is fired on the old National lot."
Record publisher John R. Marshall wrote the following report on activities in Oswego: "On Monday afternoon we drove up to Oswego to see how our neighbors were prospering in these dull times. On the road, special attention was paid to the growing crops. We could see nothing anywhere to discourage the farmers between Bristol and Oswego. The corn looked very fine, as clean as it ever is. Wheat appeared to be better than average and we hear of no rust to injure it.
"Driving into Oswego we saw the head of A. B. Smith at a window in Union block, and called at his office to hear the news. A. B. complains of dull times, is sanguine the railroad will soon be through the town and the land will be worth more. He took us down to see the 'learned hog' on exhibition there but the show was closed and we couldn't see it. A clerk at Hall's drug store suggests that learned hogs could be seen most anywhere without going to that show. Nothing personal.
"Ran into see Levi Hall, but he had gone to attend a funeral of Mrs. Frank Barry. His store looks as neat as usual. His stock is unsurpassed by any druggist.
"Looking into Kenney's we found the same quiet, gentlemanly man of old, who is one of the most affable people in Oswego and an excellent merchant as well. His store looked well.
"Haight has had a big rush of business judging from the front windows. Several panes are broken, caused probably by the fall in prices that has been inaugurated at this store. He undoubtedly does a very large trade.
"Saw a man going about with a handkerchief tied around his neck, and his head inclined to one side. It was Rank, the postmaster, who has a carbuncle on his neck, and was afflicted greatly. He did not look cheerful.
"The saloons were driving a good business.
"Down the street further we saw Mr. Young's warehouse well filled with farm machinery of all kinds. He has the finest assortment in Oswego and is liberally patronized by the farmers thereabouts.
Kimball, the liveryman, looked fat and hearty, and is doing a good business.
"The wagon makers and blacksmiths were all busy at work, and seemed to have plenty to do."
The Record published this notice:_"Lowry's minstrels, representing American citizens of African descent, are advertised to perform here next Saturday evening."
150 years ago this month...
On July 21, the Record reported that "Three boys from Oswego crept into one of the school houses in NaAuSay (Township south of Oswego) and tore up and destroyed" a large amount of books. The three were arrested and held in the jail at the then-new county courthouse in Yorkville to await trial.