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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 10-25-23

130 Years Ago

October 21, 1893

Five men were killed by the explosion of dynamite at Emington on Monday morning. A well was being drilled at the side of a public street in that village and had been sunk to a depth of 305 feet. At this point, not having obtained a sufficient supply of water, it was considered feasible to "shoot" the well with dynamite. The men who were to use the dynamite were preparing to lower 25 pounds of it into the well. In some unaccountable manner it exploded. This explosion set off another 25 pounds that had been left in a box in a buggy close by. The five men standing around were killed instantly. Two others were so badly injured that they cannot live. A special train was run from Forrest to carry medical aid. The train made the 16 miles in 17 minutes.

A fakir did the town Tuesday forenoon, together with a number of its citizens. His plan of operation was the placing of money in envelopes and selling the packages. When he got through he was richer by a good many dollars and so were his customers – in experience.

Master Fred Burch goes every Saturday to Chicago to receive lessons from Prof. Bernhard Listeman, noted violinist.

120 Years Ago

October 23, 1903

Joe Paternoster has secured the contract for building the foundation for the Central Opera House and began work Tuesday.

Miss Nellie Freehill was the guest of Chatsworth friends the first of the week.

William Tavener has commenced the erection of a fine new house on his lots on South Fifth street and will move to town as soon as it is completed.

J. A. Carrothers, proprietor of the electric light and waterworks plant at Pontiac, has commenced the erection in that city of what will be the finest residence in the county.

110 Years Ago

October 24, 1913

M. Kammerer was in Peoria yesterday seeing about the iron parts that go into the jail being built at Strawn.

Harley Bedell is now the possessor of an automobile, having purchased the Studebaker runabout of Miss Vann Essa McDowell.

The first snow of the season occurred Monday night. Tuesday morning it was just 22 degrees above zero, which is some cold for this time of the year. It has moderated since and everyone is looking for more Indian summer.

Weston — Joe Cooper has leased the hotel that belonged to Mrs. Ambrose. Mrs. Ambrose has moved to the residence that the Coopers vacated.

100 Years Ago

October 19, 1923

Beginning Monday, October 22, the banks in Fairbury will close at the noon hour from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. each day. Our purpose is to safeguard our business and employees as much as possible against the danger of hold-up which occurs usually at the noon hour when the working force is divided and the streets are quiet. We ask our customers to accommodate their business dealings with us to assist with this regulation. —Fairbury Bank, Claudon State Bank, Farmers State Bank.

James Hagen's pacing mare, Dorothy L. Todd, has showed up exceptionally well during the past season. Out of nine starts she took two first moneys and finished within the money the other seven times. Only once did she finish as far back as fourth. That the horse only started in nine races was due to the fact that the driver, Mr. Burris, had several other horses in the same class as Mr. Hagen's.

Thomas Salmon returned Tuesday from a 15,000-mile jaunt around the United States. "Tom" has been with the advance car of Ringling Bros. Circus during the past season. He left here last April and went to New York, where he joined the bill-posting crew, there being 26 with the car. They visited 35 states and also went up into Canada for some time. In the 15,000 miles traveled they made almost a complete circle of the United States. There were four out of the 26 in Mr. Salmon's crew who received a bonus of $50 at the end of the season for the large number of bills posted and Mr. Salmon was one of them, their outfit breaking a record in the number of sheets posted in a season.

90 Years Ago

October 20, 1933

When the Dominy Memorial Library was built some thirty years ago, no provision was made for a cement driveway. The result has been that every winter and spring the lawn has been cut to pieces when coal was hauled in. Recently when the city fathers made out their projects under the emergency relief work program they included the building of the library driveway. This has been allowed by the county committee. As in all these projects the government pays for the labor and the city has to pay for the material.

George Armbruster undoubtedly saved Frank Stouffer, residing two and a half miles northwest of Fairbury, from being seriously or perhaps fatally injured by an angry bull last Saturday morning. As it was, Mr. Stouffer received a cut over one of his eyes that required several stitches to close, besides numerous other smaller cuts and bruises.

C. A. Keir, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was here Wednesday trying to pick out some spots that would look familiar to him after an absence of more than a half century, or to be more exact, 56 years. Quite naturally those familiar looking spots were very few. Mr. Keir left here in 1877 when he was just a boy, going first to Kansas, then to Iowa and then to his present residence in Colorado. Mr. Keir's father conducted a blacksmith shop here and following his death, his son, D. B. Keir, conducted the business. The boys of the family were all blacksmiths, a trade which C. A. Keir still follows at Colorado Springs.

80 Years Ago

October 22, 1943

Due to the scarcity of replacement material and also the labor shortage, the city council at the meeting Wednesday night stressed the importance of youngsters foregoing their usual Halloween activities. Right now the wanton destruction of property is something that cannot be tolerated, Mayor Klopfenstein said, and extra precaution will be taken to see that Halloween pranks do not take place this year.

A garage and shed on the Hieronymus farm were burned to the ground Monday evening between seven and eight o'clock. It is not known how the fire started. Two five-gallon cans of gasoline had been left in one of the buildings. One empty can was found later some distance away, as if its contents might have been used by some visitor out of gas.

People who were awake Monday morning at about 4:30 heard quite an argument among a flock of wild geese that seemed a little puzzled as to the route they should take to reach a good corn field and a nice body of water for a morning swim. Whether they had lost confidence in the leader of their flying wedge or were just talking about the beautiful fall weather would be hard to say, but it was a noisy flock.

70 Years Ago

October 22, 1953

Frank Holland was startled on Tuesday night when he glanced up at the water tower, and in the bright moonlight saw a figure hanging from a railing high on the tower. Police Officer George Walker was summoned. Spotlights indicated that the figure was not a corpse, but a well made dummy, wearing shoes, overalls and coat. Melvin Kaisner climbed the tower ladder, in view of the many persons assembled, and cut the new rope which supported the dummy. Officer Walker took the dummy into custody, saying that he did not want to cope with it any more.

All-time heat records for this year are being shattered in the Midwest this week, and Fairbury is right in the middle of the beautiful weather. Temperatures in Fairbury yesterday went over 80 degrees for the fifth consecutive day and for the sixth time during the past eight days. The mercury hasn't gone below 52 since Saturday. The mid-summer-like temperatures contrasted sharply with those of a year ago. On Oct. 20, 1952, the temperature here was down to 26, and Chicago had three inches of snow.

Saturday and Sunday Nov. 21 and 22, have been set as the grand opening of the Fairbury Hospital. The opening will be held as scheduled, although some of the work probably will not be completed. C. C. Thompson, chairman of the hospital fund drive, hopes to have completed the fund drive by the time of the opening. The total of the current drive now stands at $11,668.

60 Years Ago

October 24, 1963

Charles Sass, formerly mill superintendent at Lincoln, Neb. for Honegger and Co., is being transferred to their Fairbury headquarters and will work in the area of product control. Mr. and Mrs. Sass have purchased the residence of Mr. and Mrs. John Huette on North Second. The Huettes are moving to the Silas Hartman residence on East Locust.

Emergency whistles sounded Tuesday morning when the T. P. and W.'s eastbound freight No. 20 ran through an open switch from the back-side between Third and Fourth streets in Fairbury's business district. No material damage was done since lead trucks of the on-coming train forced the rails into their normal position because it came into the switch from the back side. The engineer of the 70-car train had slowed appreciably after he sighted the signal that the switch had been left open after a westbound Wabash switch unit had gone through.

Mary Lynn Langstaff, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. J. H. Langstaff of Fairbury, has successfully resumed her studies at the Ferry Hall School in Lake Forest, Ill. A senior, Lynn entered the school in September, 1962. An important member of the school, she was elected president of the senior class and has many friends among the students, who come from all parts of the United States and four foreign countries. The Ferry Hall School, a college preparatory school for girls, is in its 95th year and is 30 miles north of Chicago.

50 Years Ago

October 25, 1973

The Marching Tartars of Fairbury-Cropsey High School, one of 80 bands to compete in the nation's largest parade and show band contest at the University of Illinois last Saturday, won four awards in class B competition. Sixteen class B bands marched in the parade where the Tartars won the second place trophy, first place for "Best Drum Major" and third place for "Best Color Guard." Later, in the show band competition, the Tartars were one of four bands given "First division" status among the 13 bands who took the field in Class B.

Nine AFS youths from overseas, plus three who have participated in the AFS Americans Abroad program will be guests in local homes this weekend under auspices of the Fairbury-Cropsey Chapter of American Field Service. Serving as co-chairmen of the event are Mr. and Mrs. Jim Paternoster, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Casson and Mr. and Mrs. John Wade. Four of the overseas guests will be accompanied by either their host brother or sister, or else a close friend.

Ensign Dale E. Bittner received his commission from Captain R. E. Loux, Co. NASC, upon completion of a vigorous course of instruction at the Naval Aviation Schools of Command at NAS, Pensacola, Fla. Ens. Bittner is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Merle W. Bittner, rural Fairbury, and is presently undergoing pilot training at Whiting Field, near Pensacola, Fla.

40 Years Ago

October 20, 1983

Approximately two dozen area farmers helped harvest the crops of the late Carl Taylor last Thursday morning in another example of agriculture's golden rule. Those helping included Rick Taylor, Maurice Abrahamson, Elmer Lanz, Kevin Harms, Roger Abrahamson, Warren Zehr, Gilbert Ifft, Joe Gouge, Reuben Bach, Roger Scherr, Henry Redeling, Marvin Seifert, Ken Elliott, Dale Bradford, Roger Bradford, Howard Payne, David Thomas, Curtis Deputy, Charles Scherr, Russell McGuire, Darrell Ifft, Charles Taylor, Greg Myers, Tom Ambrose and Tom Taylor.

The white peacock which appeared on The Blade's front page last week, is back in his rightful home. "It's the power of the press," remarked Mrs. Les Mies Monday when she reported that about 11 p.m. Thursday, Dennis Slagel had called to claim the bird after seeing the photo. Since the Slagels live about six miles northeast of Fairbury and the Mies farm is about three northwest, the bird had traveled about six miles as the crow flies or the peacock walks, over some pretty rugged country. At least, it's considered rugged for here, where in the pre-Columbus vernacular "the world is flat."

The First Presbyterian Church of Fairbury climaxed the celebration of its 125th anniversary, last weekend, with a banquet at Westview School Saturday night and an open house at the church Sunday afternoon. Two hundred members, former members and friends of the church attended the evening affair, highlighted by the return of four former pastors and the descendants of Rev. Martin Gregg. John P. Wade was master of ceremonies. He chronicled the history of the church, starting with the gathering in 1858 of ten people who called themselves the Presbyterian Society, with Rev. I.T. Whittemore as pastor.

30 Years Ago

October 20, 1993

Rains that began Friday night and continued through early Sunday morning brought a drenching 5½ inches of moisture to some areas of southeastern Livingston County. The deluge put the South Fork of the Vermillion River at its highest of the year and caused water-on-pavement warning signs to sprout up on both state and county roads. Most of the golf course at Indian Creek Country Club, Fairbury, was submerged Sunday morning following the heavy rains.

Katherine S. Gorman, daughter of John and Susan Williams Gorman of Washington and granddaughter of Velda Gittinger, Fairbury, graduated from Southern Illinois University Law School in May. Recently, she passed the Illinois Bar Exam and is now practicing with Prusak, Winne and Wombacher in Peoria.

Prairie Central football has a promising future, if the current undefeated record of the sophomore team is any standard by which to judge. Monday night at U-High, the Hawks took care of their hosts by defeating them 15-12. That put the Hawks' record at 67 wins, no losses and one tie. "It was a real good game," said Coach Dick Vaughan. Helping Vaughan with coaching is assistant Dan McDonnell.

20 Years Ago

October 22, 2003

Margie Hedrick, librarian at Dominy Memorial Library for the past 29 years, is retiring at the end of October. An open house will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at the library. The public is welcome to stop by and wish her well. Hedrick said she is looking forward to spending time with her family, but that she will miss her co-workers. Hedrick and her husband, Sam, who retired several years ago as Fairbury's Chief of Police, plan to do some traveling. A new librarian will be named within a week, according to Hedrick.

A unanimous vote Thursday by a regional board of education cleared the way for the dissolution of the Chenoa School District and its merger with the Prairie Central Unit District. That merger is expected to be in effect for the 2004-05 school year. The Prairie Central board will soon appoint two ex-officio members to represent the Chenoa District. Chenoa will continue to operate until June 30, 2004.

At the end of the year (2003) Fairbury Echoes Museum will have a new home. Work has begun on the interior of the new location at 126 W. Locust St., and the steering committee hopes to have everything moved to the new museum by December. It is hoped that the museum will be open at its new location in the spring of 2004. The museum, located at 105 E. Walnut, closed permanently on Friday (Oct. 17) due to the deteriorating roof problem. This problem, coupled with another major problem involving the structure's foundation, prompted the steering committee to begin looking for a new location.

10 Years Ago

October 23, 2013

Members of the Fairbury City Council approved the resignation of a police officer at Wednesday night's regular council meeting. Evan Henkel has accepted a position with the McLean County Sheriff's Department and his last day was Friday. Mayor Lynn Dameron said Henkel is an excellent officer and has been an asset to the Fairbury Police Department.Alderman Jon Kinate made a motion to post the police officer position in the newspaper, saying it is “money well spent.”

Judy Chin of Chicago and Matthew Ambrose of Plainfield were married at 1 p.m. at Assumption Catholic Church in Chicago on Aug. 3, 2013. Parents of the couple are Chunyau Chin and the late Qj Rong Bao-Chin of Chicago and P. Thomas and Linda Ambrose of Fairbury. The couple will take a wedding trip over Christmas to Australia and Thailand. The bride graduated from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and received bachelor and master's degrees from DePaul University. She is an IT Consultant for Ernst & Young, LLC in Chicago. The bridegroom graduated from Prairie Central High School. He received a bachelor's degree from Illinois State University and a master's degree from Governor's State University. He is an assistant principal at Plainfield Central High School.

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