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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 12-6-23

130 Years Ago

December 2, 1893

Everett Chambers has sold his interest in the city laundry to his partner, I. I. Reynolds.

Miss Jennie Smalley and Charles Weatherwax, both of Belle Prairie, were married on Thanksgiving day at the residence of L. F. Pratt.

Miss Mabel Powley, teacher of the fifth grade, spent Thanksgiving with her parents in Lexington.

A genuine cold snap on Thursday evening and yesterday. A light fall of snow Thursday afternoon and it turned cold very fast. Six degrees below zero yesterday morning.

120 Years Ago

December 4, 1903

T. R. Voorhees has practically purchased the telephone exchange in this city. He has made an offer to Receiver Heald, which is acceptable to that gentleman and all that is necessary now is the confirmation of the court which will probably be given December 15.

Miss Elgin Barnes accompanied by her brother, William, and sister, Cora, left on the noon train Wednesday for Ottawa. In that city they were met by Walter Fogle and at once repaired to the Baptist parsonage, where the pastor united in marriage Miss Elgin Barnes and Mr. Fogle.

The miners at the new west coal shaft struck coal last Saturday at a depth of 225 feet. The vein is said to be about five feet six inches thick.

Twenty years ago Thursday, Mr. and Mrs. John Ballard were united in marriage in this city by Elder Merit. Last evening their neighbors and friends came in on them unannounced and reminded them of the fact that it was their twentieth wedding anniversary.

110 Years Ago

December 5, 1913

The annual Thanksgiving banquet of the Tri-Gamma fraternity was held last Saturday evening in their fraternity rooms. Walter Gregg acted as toastmaster.

The Illinois Hotel was damaged to the extent of several thousand dollars by fire and water on Sunday morning about 3:15, and the lady employees and several men narrowly escaped being suffocated. The building is the property of Charles Blevins and was just completed about two years ago. J. H. Mohler had leased the building and bought the furniture about three weeks ago.

Fred Werling is the latest victim of chicken thieves who of late have been depleting the chicken roosts in this vicinity.

Fairbury is to have another picture show. Ed E. Powell, of Bloomington, having purchased this week the Empress Theatre in the east end, of Edw. Longbottom.

100 Years Ago

November 30, 1923

Dean Voorhees, Bert Monroe, Fred Churchill, Aaron Steidinger and Geo. Hibsch, Jr., of this city, were in Peoria last Friday, where they, with others of a class of 147, were initiated into the mysteries of the Shrine. From all reports they stood the trip across the hot sands with great fortitude, and enjoyed the refreshment of camel's milk following the long journey.

Howard Yates, who was secretary for the Fairbury Association of Commerce for a year, but who went to Hoopeston last spring, where he held a like position, returned to this city yesterday and tomorrow will again resume his old position here. Mr. Yates made many friends here, who are glad to welcome him back.

Irving Bentley, son of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Bentley, had one foot injured quite badly and the other one slightly injured Wednesday morning while at work on the Walton building. He, with others, was assisting in moving two iron I-beams, one of the beams being on top of the other. When one of the workmen used a crowbar to move the beams they fell over, one of them landing on Irving's feet. The injury will keep him off his job for some time.

90 Years Ago

December 1, 1933

Mrs. Jay Goold and the other members of the hostess committee, Mrs. William Henning, Mrs. J. A. Pittman and Mrs. L. P. Troehler, issued a proclamation to the Browning Club members and a few guests giving them notice of a mass meeting to be held at the home of Mrs. Goold on Monday, November 27. The notice read, "Thou shalt not wear a dress of silk or wool but calico instead, a kerchief around the shoulders and a cap upon the head. Bring mending, darning or sewing and come for the mid-day (12 o'clock) meal."

Glen Tipton, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Tipton, fell out of a tree yesterday afternoon and broke his arm. Herschel Butler, son of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Butler, of south of town, fell Sunday while playing in the haymow and broke his arm.

A car driven by Owen Householder, residing southeast of Fairbury, and another one driven by a man from Farmer City, came together on Route 8 Sunday evening, the accident occurring opposite Graceland Cemetery. At the time of the accident Mr. Householder was going home and the Farmer City car was headed west. Mr. Householder stated he saw the other car coming towards him and turned out to try and avoid the accident, but the other car kept coming towards him. The Farmer City man is assuming all responsibility for the accident, so we understand.

80 Years Ago

December 3, 1943

W. W. Holloway, Cropsey banker, returned home Saturday from a two weeks' vacation spent near Iron River, Mich., hunting deer, and Sunday was exhibiting a fine 8-point buck at the Abbey Confectionery on Main Street to an excited group of youngsters and some older folks as well. Mr. Holloway, who is president of the local community association, has promised to serve a "venison barbecue" at the next meeting, at which there will probably be a 100% attendance.

Mrs. Sigrid Bastion, who has been at the head of the Walton Grocery Department for the past few years, has resigned her position there, her resignation to become effective December 24. She has accepted a position as accountant for Steidinger Super Service, taking the place of Miss Emma Schmidt, resigned. To take over Mrs. Bastion's place, Walton's have been fortunate in securing Carl Metz, a well known experienced grocery man, who had for many years managed chain store groceries.

A car driven by Earl Martin, of this city, hit a large steer that had wandered onto Route 47 last Saturday night, injuring the occupants of the car, but none seriously. The accident happened north of Dwight. With Mr. Martin were Mrs. Martin and daughter, Jean Ann, and Paul Kohl. Mr. Martin received chest and nose injuries and minor bruises; Mrs. Martin, cut on eye and minor bruises and scratches. Jean Ann and Paul were uninjured, except for minor bruises and scratches. The car was badly damaged, but can be repaired.

70 Years Ago

December 3, 1953

Governor William G. Stratton, speaking before the Springfield Optimist Club the other evening, predicted 82 more miles of Route 66 between Mt. Olive and Chenoa will be expanded to four lanes in 1954.

Just 12 days left to plan and put into execution your Christmas home decoration. Decorations in place by 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, will automatically be entered in the third annual Home Decoration Contest being sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club. Prizes totaling $100 in cash and the handsome yuletide trophy will be awarded to six winning decorations in two divisions. Decorations with religious themes will compete in Division I. Division two will include displays representing the lighter side of Christmas, such as Santa Claus, fireplaces, illumination scenes and the like.

W. B. Decker, 90-year-old Fairbury Mason, is now the second oldest Mason in the world. Fairbury Masons are planning a dinner to honor him, to be held at the Masonic Temple on Monday, Dec. 14. George Wilbur Bell, eminent grand captain general of the Grand Commandery, of Chandleville, will serve as toastmaster. Numerous high-ranking grand officers or their representatives are expected to attend the dinner. Mr. Decker was born Nov. 27, 1854, at Ghent, N.Y. Ten days after his 21st birthday, he received his first degree in Masonry, followed by the Fellowship degree on Dec. 21, and the Master degree Jan. 21, 1876. Mr. Decker received his 75-year masonic pin at the local masonic lodge at a well-attended dinner and meeting.

60 Years Ago

December 5, 1963

Santa Claus arrives in Fairbury on Saturday at 1 p.m. via a flashy red helicopter. The "whirlybird" will land in the parking lot immediately south of Central Park where the old T. P. & W. depot once stood. Word has been radioed to The Blade from Santa's headquarters at the North Pole that he will ride his sleigh through the sky as far as the Jim Langstaff farm west of Fairbury. There he will quarter his nine reindeer (including Rudolph with the red nose) until later Saturday afternoon when he will again be on his way for other communities.

Larry Ifft, a Fairbury-Cropsey High School freshman and son of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Ifft of Cropsey, remains in fair condition today in Fairbury Hospital with severe injuries to his left leg. The youth slipped into a silage augur while doing chores last Wednesday night. His knee was broken and the muscle in his thigh was described by attending physicians as being "actually chewed up." The extent of the damage has not yet been fully determined.

Local realtor J. C. Ebach reported to The Blade today that real estate activity continues in the Fairbury-Forrest area at an unusually fast pace for this time of year. The latter part of October and the entire month of November has produced a total of 17 home sales, 3 farm tracts, and 7 building lots, Ebach states. Included in the 17 home sales are seven new homes either under or about to get under construction; several homes in Forrest; and the balance are existing homes in Fairbury. The three farm tracts that sold consisted of 40, 35, and 120 acre tracts.

50 Years Ago

December 6, 1973

Here comes Santa Claus...well, after a while. But first there were nine bands led by the brilliant Fairbury-Cropsey Marching Tartars; then there were floats, clowns, six-pony hitches, and finally, the old gentleman himself, making his annual appearance Saturday under sponsorship of the Fairbury Association of Commerce as several thousand people lined the mile-long parade route.

Sky-borne greetings viewed by the entire community as they trailed from one of Norm Rittenhouse's helicopters reminded Fairburians Friday that fellow townsman Dudley Fultz was 100 years old. First of several celebrations, as Dudley, retired Fairbury businessman, reached the century mark was a coffee gathering at the Grey Goose, for which his grandson brought a cake. Prior to an open house honoring Dudley on Sunday, members of his family gathered for a portrait.

Nearly one-half of all retired women are getting monthly social security checks on their own work records, according to Arild W. Werner, Social Security district manager in Bloomington. Twenty years ago, only 5 percent of all women 65 and older were getting monthly benefits on their own record. Women reaching 62 this year can get monthly retirement checks after 5½ years or more of work under social security, the district manager said.

40 Years Ago

December 1, 1983

Melissa Moser and Brian Ladeairous will reign as Miss Merry Christmas and Jack Frost Saturday during the Fairbury Association of Commerce Christmas parade. Rounding out the Miss Merry Christmas court will be Kelly Kurth, Erin Ficklin and Julie Cress. The Jack Frost court includes Benji Wharton, Kevin Eisenmann and Ryan Harms. Fairbury attorney Neale Hanley, who has devoted his entire 52-year legal tenure to his practice here, including more than 30 years as city attorney, will serve as Grand Marshal of the parade.

Plans to retire "completely" on Jan. 30, 1984 after a 37-year career with Walton's Department Store in Fairbury were announced this week by W. W. "Dude" Wessel. He joined the 115-year-old Fairbury firm in 1946 after he was discharged from the U. S. Army following World War II. "Dude" has been manager of the firm since 1969 when he took over after the death of his brother-in-law, the late Bill Butcher. Prior to that time, Wessel, had managed the furniture and appliance divisions. Also retiring at the same time from the store's advertising department is his wife, Marie, who originally joined the firm's dry goods department in 1956.

Airman Jeffrey C. Hammer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Hammer, Fairbury, has been assigned to Chanute Air Force Base, after completing Air Force basic training. The airman will now receive specialized instruction in the fuels specialist field. He is a 1983 graduate of Fairbury-Cropsey High School.

30 Years Ago

December 1, 1993

An open house marking the beginning of two new services at Fairbury Hospital is being held today, Dec. 1, at the hospital. Twenty-four-hour, seven-day-a-week emergency care, as well as the addition of an Urgent Care Center will now be permanent services offered at Fairbury Hospital. Fairbury Hospital's new administrator said the cost of the 24-hour emergency service will compare to that of a visit to a doctor's office, rather than what one usually expects to pay for emergency room service.

The world of Shaker furniture has now been opened in downtown Fairbury for those who would like to glimpse and purchase pieces from a simpler lifestyle. The Shaker Loft is open and located in the mezzanine area of Hammer True Value Hardware store. It was Bob Hammer's idea to use his store as a display area for Shaker woodwork done by Fairbury's Marty Travis.

The Fairbury City Council called a special meeting Saturday afternoon at the old Honegger's building at the corner of Second and Locust Streets. The purpose of the tour was to assess the building's potential in aiding the space crunch at the current city hall at the corner of Third and Locust streets. The Honegger's structure has been unoccupied for more than four years, ever since Honegger's and Co., Inc., closed its livestock feed operation on June 30, 1989. The council has made no decision at this time regarding possible use of the building.

20 Years Ago

December 3, 2003

The Prairie Central Hawks football team took second place in the Class 4A final Friday night, but the reception the team, coaches and cheerleaders were given Sunday afternoon was anything but second-best. A multi-vehicle caravan left the high school in Fairbury at 2:30 p.m., led by police cars, fire trucks and the SECLAS ambulance units, traveling through the towns of Fairbury, Forrest and Chatsworth, before returning to the high school for a 'welcome home' reception. The Hawks finished the season with a 13-1 record, after dropping their final game 37-21 to Addison-Driscoll Friday night.

Kevin Williams, editor of the Amish Cook, a weekly column running in The Daily Leader and The Blade, will visit Fairbury on Monday, Dec. 8. Williams will speak on the column and how it originated, as well as Amish culture in general at 7 p.m. at Dominy Memorial Library.

Terry Vance of Fairbury is the grand marshall for this year's Fairbury Christmas Celebration parade. Vance, who is Veterans of Foreign Wars State Commander, also serves as quartermaster of Fairbury VFW Post 9789. Born and raised in Cropsey, Vance was inducted into the United States Army in 1966, medically retiring in 1969 after sustaining combat injuries while serving in Vietnam. He served in the U. S. Army from September 1966 until October 1969, serving in Vietnam 1967-1968 with the 51st Airborne Infantry Long Range Patrol Company "F" Special Operations. A combat veteran, Vance was awarded the Silver Star, which is the nation's third highest medal for gallantry in action, the Purple Heart, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Good Conduct Medal and Parachutist Badge.

10 Years Ago

December 4, 2013

Abigayle Nimbler, daughter of Matt and Erin Nimbler of Fairbury, is this year's Miss Merry Christmas, and Landon Cottrell, son of Cory and Rendy Cottrell of Fairbury, is this year's Mr. Jack Frost for the Christmas parade at Fairbury. They will ride with Santa Claus in the annual parade on Saturday, Dec. 7 in downtown Fairbury. Also in the Christmas Court are Kyla Stephens, daughter of Clint and Crissy Stephens of Fairbury; Abbey Bachtold, daughter of Joe and Cathy Bachtold of Fairbury; Makenna Mashburn, daughter of Troy Mashburn and Sara McDonald of Fairbury; Justin Nimbler, son of Matt and Erin Nimbler of Fairbury; Cole Weber, son of Todd and Jennifer Weber of Chenoa; and Jackson Zapp, son of Mike and Kristin Zapp of Forrest.

The Vermillion Valley Show Choir performed a 15 minute musical skit, a parody of “Young Frankenstein,” in Hawaii recently in international competition with choruses of similar size. The chorus came home with second place medals and are proudly displaying their prized ribbons as the audience choice, “Most Entertaining Chorus” of the ten choruses eligible for their votes.

Prairie Central Hawks went with a high-octane offense in the championship game of the Prairie Central Turkey Tournament Saturday afternoon and came away with a convincing 66-34 rout of Peoria Central. Tournament MVP Laura Crane completely took over the game in the second quarter as she singlehandedly outscored the Lions 12-7. She finished with a game-high 29 points.

(Kari Kamrath's "Looking Back" is sponsored each week by Duffy-Pils Memorial Homes with locations in Fairbury, Chenoa & Colfax)

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