1917 – 100 YEARS AGO
Fire completely destroyed the buildings on the Robinson farm, three miles southeast of Genoa which is tenanted by Frank Kissinger and family. The fire broke out this morning and it was first noticed by the family at three o’clock. The barns, sheds, milk house, corn crib and other dwellings were destroyed, with the home of the Kissingers’. They noticed the fire barely in time to escape with their lives. Livestock was destroyed as well and the origin of the fire is not known.
The light committee, together with Mayor Wagley and Electrical Expert Cravath, the latter having been here for some time past working on DeKalb’s street lighting system will go to Marengo tonight to investigate the lighting system in use there. It is understood that the city has the identical system that is needed here, and it is the purpose of the committee’s visit there tonight to give the lights a careful inspection. The old lamps now in use here will be sold and it is probable that a new system will be put in at a later date.
The large cement mixer to be used in the work on the cement road connecting the present strip of cement road from the C. M. &. G. crossing around the Electric Park corner and the pavement of Sycamore started work today and from now on the road will gradually near completion. When this road is finished that is now in course of construction there will be practically a paved street from Sycamore to DeKalb, and it will be one of the best improvements imaginable.
The DeKalb city authorities have had men at work the past week or ten days trimming up the several hundred trees about the city, and the streets are now beginning to show the results of the work. The entire south side of town has been given attention, and the men are now at work on the north side, being in the neighborhood of Seventh street. One can stand at any corner in the city now and look down the sidewalk for any distance, and there are no low hanging limbs to obstruct the view.
Mayor Brown of Sycamore was returning home last evening in his Buick car at about 10:30 when he endeavored to run over one of the poor, unprotected “silent cops” in the county seat. Whether he thought the Buick would go home without further attention or not, we do not know. Nevertheless, the cop resented the treatment and entangled itself with the mechanism of the machine to such an extent, in fact, that they had to stop and carefully carry him from under the machine to his former dignified position on the main thoroughfare, slightly the worse for the accident.
1942 – 75 YEARS AGO
Resurfacing of four blocks of Sycamore streets, which has been in the mind of Mayor Frank Ashelford for many months was started when State Street from Main to Somonauk was closed to all traffic and actual preliminary work started.
Although picketing is still in progress at the Wurlitzer Company in DeKalb everything seems to be quite and work is continuing on the war contracts at the plant. The picketing was started on Saturday and has continued since that time. The Department of Labor Conciliation Service is attempting to settle the dispute at the present time and it is hoped that an agreement will be reached in a short time. The work at the plant has not been seriously affected by the picketing.
While there is somewhat of a hullabaloo in Sycamore about several homes being built here through the FHA Plan, there seems to have been quite a drop in the enthusiasm and several inquiries in many places have failed to bring out any information as to the progress of the work. It was known weeks ago that several homes were to be erected in Sycamore and also Genoa, but since the first announcement, there has been nothing further talked about.
The Waterman Municipal Band is scheduled to participate in the fourth annual invitational “Tournament of Music” at Riverview Park in Chicago, Bandmaster M. D. Clinton announced.
The 4.7-inch field piece which has stood at the west entrance of the Sycamore Community Park for some time and is a 1908 model, has been brought to the business section and at present is in front of the Sycamore Community Center building. The field piece will be disposed of for junk, while the rubber tires, which are said to be of the best German rubber possible, will be added to the rubber scrap drive. The American Legion and the Legion Auxiliary will dispose of the World War I relic and war bonds will be given to those who guess nearest the weight of the gun.
1967 – 50 YEARS AGO
Better turn on the headlights of your car and then walk around in front and see if your headlights, both sets, are burning properly. Because if they are not, Sheriff Melvin W. Shaw had some news for you. The entire force of deputies has been ordered to crack down on cars with only one headlight burning.
Apparent low bids for construction of Northern Illinois University’s Montgomery Hall for biological sciences and nursing education total $3,533,801. The building which will have a total area of 112,442 square feet will be located in the wooded area on NIU’s East Campus.
A fun filled Hinckley Homecoming Festival was shattered when a swinging chair carnival ride overturned, injuring five area youths.
The long-awaited sidewalks along North First Street in DeKalb are in the process of being constructed. Workmen are constructing the forms at the present time with the cement soon to be poured.
Fairview cemetery is now being entered by a new drive. Located a bit south of the former entrance. The two driveways are on each side of an ornamental stone marker. Under construction for some time the new feature has been in use for the past few weeks.
1992 – 25 YEARS AGO
The DeKalb City Council approved the sale to the highest bidder of phase III of the city-owned Wurlitzer property on the northeast side of the city.
Work continues as bulldozers, graders and scrapers prepare the site of the new Nestle distribution center along Fairview road in DeKalb.
A 55-gallon drum filled with an unidentified substance sits on the DeKalb parkway at Protano’s auto parts yard on Industrial Drive. For a week, the drum has sat there, roped off by the DeKalb Fire Department, awaiting a representative from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to show up, test the liquid inside and determine if it is a hazardous material.
Northern Illinois University evacuated Faraday Hall for a few hours after an “ironic” chemical spill but reopened the building for night classes. The student cleaning shelves in Faraday’s third-floor physical chemistry lab reportedly knocked over a bottle of bromine, which released harmful fumes. Ironically, the spill occurred during efforts to clean the lab in order to prevent such accidents.
– Compiled by the Joiner History Room, DeKalb County Archives.