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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 12-27-23

130 Years Ago

December 23, 1893

G. W. Eckhart has sold the railroad restaurant to the Baylor Bros., Frank and L. M. They take possession on January 1.

Phillips is making tintypes during the holidays.

The reading room is being quite well patronized. There is a welcome there for all who come, a good fire, a comfortable seat and plenty to read.

The marriage of Miss Nannie M. Ward, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Ward, of Cropsey, to G. M. Meeker, also of Cropsey, was celebrated at the residence of the bride's parents, Wednesday afternoon, Rev. Foreman officiating.


120 Years Ago

December 25, 1903

A large number of the friends and neighbors of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Waples gave that worthy couple a most enjoyable surprise Wednesday, December 23, it being the twentieth anniversary of their marriage.

Home for the Holidays — Harlow and Emma King are home from Champaign to spend the holidays. Roy Kirby is home from Purdue. Fred Perlee, Clarence Deter and Geo. Sype are home from Champaign. Miss Mamie Lewis is home from the Wesleyan School at Delaware, O. Fred Bethard is here from Lake Forest.

Tuesday afternoon, December 22, at the John Lehman home near Strawn, Rev. M. C. Eignus united in marriage, Miss Alice L. Lehman and Joseph Farney.


110 Years Ago

December 26, 1913

Last evening, at the Fairbury Opera House, the Bon Ton Limits went down in defeat at the hands of the West Side Browns of Chicago, by the score of 21 to 24. Hanson, Joda, Wilken, Hoey, and Fugate constituted the Limits' line-up.

The house on the land owned by Dr. Lewis and located just north of the Kring greenhouse on the east side of the road, was destroyed by fire Monday evening a little after 7 o'clock, with all its contents. The house was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Chris Kammerer.

Charles Blevins, who had conducted a saloon in this city for several years, has disposed of his thirst parlor to John Judge.

Hon. James A. Smith and son, Clarence H. Smith, who have conducted the Chatsworth Plaindealer for many years, have sold the paper to P. E. Prink.


100 Years Ago

December 21, 1923

G. B. Spence's herd of Jersey cattle recently passed the federal tuberculin test, not even a suspect being found among them.

Everett Bess, who has been farming the land owned by Mrs. Charles Veatch, southeast of Fairbury, sold his stock and farm implements at public sale Tuesday. Mr. Bess has decided to give up farming and has taken the agency for a stock powder. He has rented a house on the Keeley farm and will occupy it as a residence. Roy Miller, who has been farming the H. B. Taylor farm, will move to the Veatch land and Paul Thomas will take charge of the Taylor land.

A very delightful surprise party was arranged Sunday at the Howard Brucker home in Cropsey in celebration of the birthdays of Mr. Brucker and his twin sister, Mrs. Chas. Sheppelman. A one o'clock dinner was served at which covers were laid for thirty-seven.

That we are having some exceedingly mild weather for this time of year is attested by the fact that dandelions are in bloom, while others are going to seed.


90 Years Ago

December 22, 1933

Auto accidents at the intersection of Third and Walnut Streets are getting to be quite common. Another one was added to the list last Friday evening about ten o'clock when a car driven by Clarence Hannie and one driven by Alfred Wessels arrived at the intersection at the same time. With Mr. Hannie at the time were his sister, Miss Gertrude, and Miss Esther Gunn. The Hannie car was going east and the Wessels car south. The Wessels car struck the front end of the Hannie car, the latter car turning over as it went to the curb at the southeast corner of the intersection. A few bruises and stiff joints were the only injuries suffered by those in the Hannie car.

Miss Marjorie Abbott arrived home Saturday from Ward-Belmont School at Nashville, Tenn., and Monday evening the girls she chums with had a supper in her honor at Isabelle Haag's. In the party were Ruth Tarpy, Phebe Hanna, Alice Nash, Kathryn Franger, Dorothy Thompson, Lucille Goembel, Cleo Troehler, Emilu Bartlett. Supper over, the party went to the Methodist Church to see the pageant of "The Other Wise Man."

At a meeting of the highway police of this district on Tuesday, the officers were given instructions from the state department at Springfield to notify all drivers of horse drawn vehicles to equip the vehicles with lights; and all stock must be kept off the highways.


80 Years Ago

December 24, 1943

A representative of Sears, Roebuck & Co., was in Fairbury the latter part of last week looking Fairbury over as prospective town in which to locate one of their stores. The gentleman explained that his company was contemplating putting stores in a number of the smaller cities throughout this part of the country after the war. However no store will be located in Fairbury for the present, and the Sears, Roebuck representative gave just one reason for this. That reason was that their store at Chatsworth was doing such a thriving business he did not think it justifiable to put in a store here.

Herbert Weeks is having a public sale January 6, when he will dispose of his farm equipment and livestock. Mr. Weeks, a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Weeks, was born on the farm where he lives and has spent his entire life there. He has not been in the best of health of late, but he and Mrs. Weeks will remain on the farm for the present, with their son Roger in charge.

S. C. Van Horne this week disposed of his grain elevator at Locust and First Streets to Honegger Bros. Possession will be given January first. Mr. Van Horne retains the elevator at Lodemia. Honegger Bros. will use the elevator in connection with their large feed mill here, the building to be used for the storage and handling of grain. Mr. Van Horne purchased the Fairbury and Lodemia elevators from the S. C. Bartlett Company on February 22, 1926.


70 Years Ago

December 24, 1953

The Fairbury post office is experiencing another record year in the handling of outgoing mail, F. M. Masterson, postmaster, announced this week. The number of outgoing first-class pieces of mail has averaged about eight percent higher during the month of December this year than for the same period last year, Masterson reported. For the period from last Wednesday, the 16th, through Saturday, a total of 62,000 pieces of first-class mail was cancelled.

Winter arrived here on the calendar and in fact this week, during which time a bit of just about every kind of weather visited the area. Residents awoke Tuesday morning to see snow on the ground and more swirling through the air, driven by a brisk wind straight out of the north. A white Christmas looked to be a certainty, as temperatures dropped to exactly zero Tuesday night and well under freezing temperatures were forecast for today.

For the past year or so there has been talk and agitation from one source and another regarding street signs for Fairbury, but nothing was done about it until recently, when the city council started to investigate the proposition. They got prices from firms that manufacture them, but were of the opinion they were a little too expensive for the city's finances. Then the superintendent of streets, C. C. Runyon, started experimenting, both as to construction and cost, with the result that at last Wednesday evening's meeting of the city council they voted to have Mr. Runyon start making the signs.


60 Years Ago

December 26, 1963

A veritable army of men during 1963 transformed a cornfield east of Fairbury into a throbbing, clanking complex the size of four football fields under one roof. It was the creation of the Fairbury Industries division of International Nikoh Corporation, major producer of tubing and conduit in a variety of styles and sizes. As the year closes, more than 130 persons are employed by Fairbury Industries in three shifts, with current plans calling for growth as soon as possible to some 200 employees, according to William Allison, acting general manager of the firm.

Cash position of the Fairbury Fair, which this year held its 88th renewal, is excellent, President John Wade told the recent annual meeting of the association. Some $28,000 is in the bank as the result of one of the most successful of all years in the group's history. During the year, the fair paid out more than $101,000 for all activities, treasurer Elmer Hallock told the meeting. In that regard, Wade remarked, "Of course, our cash position is made possible, in large part, by the summer racing program. We had good races, and good crowds during the entire year.

There were no injuries in a 4:50 p.m. accident at the corners of Williams and James Streets on Tuesday afternoon in Forrest. The accident occurred when a car driven by Robert Beattie, Forrest, slid into the path of a school bus driven by Joe Jost, also of Forrest. Jost had just completed his afternoon route and was headed to the bus garage when the mishap took place. Another car became involved after the impact when the school bus slid into a car belonging to Jack Page, parked in front of his home. Freshly fallen snow and ice-covered roads were the contributing factors in the accident.


50 Years Ago

December 27, 1973

Phil Thames of Prairie Industries Inc., in Fairbury, announced today that he had purchased the stock of Roger Bachtold in Huette Cabinet Company, also of Fairbury, and that he hoped to expand the operations of both firms. The Prairie Industries plant manufactures primarily kitchen cabinets, while Huette Cabinet for the past several years has been devoted to custom built Formica countertops for both new homes and remodeling projects.

In January of 1954, Duane Lee Ifft was born. His parents, the Elmer Iffts of Fairbury, of course will remember well the event, but they probably will also remember the fact that Duane was the first winner of what was to become an annual event, the Fairbury Merchants' First Baby Contest. Next week will mark the 20th anniversary of not only Duane's birthday, but the existence of the contest as well. Other winners include 1955, Kim Ann Range, Chenoa; 1956, Pam Roth, Forrest; 1957, Kelvin Colravy, Piper City; 1958, Doug Honegger, Fairbury; 1959, John Haas, Fairbury; 1960, Julia Wharton, Fairbury; 1961, Linda Schall, Piper City; 1962, Frederick Paul Salzman, Chatsworth; 1963, Gail Schove, Fairbury; 1964, Mike McCarthy, Fairbury; 1965, Lora Coyne, Manteno; 1966, Karen Smock, Fairbury; 1967, Dawn Nelson, Fairbury; 1968, Annette Hanshew, Piper City; 1969, Debora Steidinger, Fairbury; 1970, Michael Vaughn, Piper City; 1971, Eric Davis, Chatsworth; 1972, Michael Alan Schlipf, Fairbury; 1973, Eric Allen Gerth.

Walwyn M. Trezise, Livingston County public defender since April 1972, has resigned from the post due to conflicts with his private law practice. Judge William T. Caisley accepted the resignation effective Feb. 1, 1974.


40 Years Ago

December 22, 1983

South East Livingston County Ambulance Service this week received a $300 donation from former Fairbury mayor and Mrs. Roy E. Taylor, who are spending the winter in Florida. Taylor, who served as mayor for an unprecedented 40 years, earmarked the check as "seed money for a new ambulance garage." The service and Fairbury Hospital directors have been talking about plans to replace the barn adjacent to the hospital which has housed the three ambulances for the past 10 years. The barn has structural problems including a bad roof and ceiling, and is not insulated.

Fairbury-Cropsey Board of Education members Monday night began deliberating a third attempt next March to pass a tax referendum to provide badly-needed operating revenue for the school district. Two earlier attempts have been voted down by district residents, including a 100-vote defeat of a bid for a 75-cent increase 13 months ago. Clearly, some board members this week see the school system between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Veteran board member Jim Paternoster said the board must wrestle with the choice of "continuing to run at a deficit, or making more cuts than we think are good for the kids."

Fire did an estimated $15,000 to $20,000 damage Monday evening at Pittsburgh-International Corp.'s Fairbury plant. Part of the damage was calculated on lost time by all employees and machines. The blaze was confined to duct-work in the ventilating system over the plant's No. 1 mill. Tuesday, Joe Greenwell, the plant manager, said that after the fire was extinguished by Fairbury firemen, and the smoke cleared from the plant, the night shift continued operations.


30 Years Ago

December 22, 1993

Sam Koehl of Koehl Bros., Inc. in Fairbury, presented a surprise gift of ruby rings to three longtime employees last Monday at Westgate. Johnny Moore of Fairbury, a 30-year employee, is a foreman and crane operator. Herbert L. Smith of Gibson City, accountant, is marking 40 years with the business and superintendent Jim Kafer of Fairbury has been employed at Koehl Bros. for 30 years.

Prairie Central girls' basketball – from freshmen through varsity – are experiencing the best win record ever. The entire girls' high school basketball program is enjoying a 26-1 record to date. The freshmen squad is currently 9-0, sophomores are 6-0 and the varsity is 11-1. "Our lone loss was to University High, who is ranked number seven in the state. But we have since avenged that loss in the championship game of the U-High tournament," boasts head coach Joe Oprondek.

Stanley and Beulah Barnes of Fairbury, will observe their 55th wedding anniversary this week. Barnes and Beulah Cox were married Dec. 25, 1938 in Cropsey. They are the parents of Janet Kester and Sally Emberton, both of Fairbury, and the late Marianne Burke. They have seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Mr. and Mrs. Barnes are retired from farming.


20 Years Ago

December 24, 2003

As the congregation of St. Paul Lutheran has grown over this year, so has the musical talent of the congregation. This talent will be featured at the Christmas Eve Candlelight service tonight. At 6:30 p.m. a Christmas Concert of vocal and instrumental music will welcome people as they arrive for the service. At 7 p.m. the worship service will feature the vocal talents of Jamie Nowak, Jerry Bayston, Alayna Gallagher, Jerry Gentes, the Singing Shepherds and the Christmas Ensemble. Accompaniment is provided by the St. Paul Band, consisting of Steve Simonson on guitar, Gene Sorey on bass guitar, Tyler House on drums and Pastor Olbert on piano.

After little discussion on Monday night, the Fairbury City Council approved a 2.4 percent tax levy increase for 2004. The levy was recommended by the finance committee and after a hearing in which no citizen expressed their disapproval. The total of the levy for the city and library is $633,676. The majority of the council approved the increase with the only dissenting vote coming from Councilman, Darrell Rabe.

Stephanie Zimmerman, an eighth grader, is this week's student of the week at Prairie Central Junior High. She was nominated by English and Literature teacher Angie Kratochvil. "Stephanie is an excellent student, and she always works hard in class, volunteers and adds insight to our class discussions," said Kratochvil. Stephanie, the daughter of Jon and Diane Zimmerman, is involved in Scholastic Bowl.


10 Years Ago

December 25, 2013

The Chenoa VFW Post 8350 and the Fairbury VFW Post 9789 recently sponsored the Patriot Pen and Voice of Democracy contests at Prairie Central Junior High and High School. Winners of the Patriot Pen contest were Janessa Knapp, Kinzie Slagel, Britney Koerner, Vivian Walter, Seth Reed and Lauren Fehr. Winners of the Voice of Democracy contest were Kassadee Ifft, Phillip Ricketts, Mariah Moore, Stacia Allyn, Kyler Knapp and Linnea Johnson. Roger McDowell from the Fairbury VFW and Leo Embry from the Chenoa VFW made the presentations.

On Dec. 18, the Upper Elementary School conducted their annual National Geographic Bee. The contest began with 28 contestants. The winner of this year's Geographic Bee was Katie Elbert. Addie Raber was second. Katie will go on to compete at the state level by taking a written test in January. If she qualifies in the top 100 in the State of Illinois, she will go on to compete at the state level and could go on to Washington DC to compete at the national lever for a chance to win college tuition.

This years Daughter's of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution good citizenship award winners at Prairie Central High School are Laura Crane and Carter Frambes. Crane is the daughter of Brent and Paula Crane of Forrest. Frambes is the son of David and Kelly Frambes of Fairbury. The students were chosen by faculty at PCHS based on their dependability, cooperation,  leadership and patriotism.

("Looking Back" is sponsored each week by Duffy-Pils Memorial Homes of Fairbury, Chenoa & Colfax)


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