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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 3-18-23




130 Years Ago

March 11, 1893

Joseph Walmsley and James McAllister, while at work Saturday at the Walton mine, had a narrow escape from a fall of rock. A stone, which weighed 800 pounds, caught Joe's foot, bruising it considerably and Mr. McAllister was caught about the legs and quite badly hurt, although no bones were broken.

Lumber is being hauled from this city this week for the erection of a new Amish church three miles north of Forrest.

The street commissioner has had a force of men along Main Street this week applying muscular application of sledge hammers to the spikes which stood out like the finger pieces on a typewriter. Now if the mayor could only suggest some kind of an application that would remove those innumerable knotty tumors with which our walks are obstructed, there would be some chance to distinguish between "land lubber" and the rolling gate of the seafaring man.


120 Years Ago

March 13, 1903

The merchants have made another agreement to close their stores at 6:30 until June 1. The agreement which they were closing under expired March 1. Very few people have been discommoded by the early closing and it is much benefit to the clerks.

Avoca — The river has been very high this week and the roads are pretty near impassable. This isn't news, its a fact.

A number of land owners in Cropsey Township, south of Fairbury, whose lands are adjacent to the Henline Creek flowing thru that township and subject to frequent overflows, have filed a petition in the McLean County court asking the formation of a drainage district. The object is to deepen and widen the creek its entire length by dredging and a combined system of drainage, and thereby reclaim hundreds of acres of land now seriously damaged by overflow.

Forrest — Mother Carmon was stricken with a sinking spell Wednesday morning and at this writing she is very low.


110 Years Ago

March 14, 1913

John Mowery has accepted the position of baggageman at the depot.

G. F. Sullivan was in Chicago this week buying plumbing and heating supplies for Sullivan & Hollenback. They expect to open up their new place in a short time.

Edward Longbottom has purchased the Empire Theatre on East Locust Street and is showing a fine class of pictures.

Ray Cox, who has been in the employ of the Farmers Grain Company, resigned his position on Monday, and this week moved to the Mrs. Jennie Travis-Cooper farm, south of town, which he will farm.

William Alt, who has been farming near Francesville, Ind., the past three years, has again decided to make Fairbury his home. His household effects and family arrived here the first of the week.


100 Years Ago

March 9, 1923

John Odell, Fairbury's new postmaster, has had his appointment confirmed, has received his commission and is all ready to go. However, there is a school of instruction in Chicago for postmasters and Mr. Odell may spend a week there before taking up his work. He will assume his new duties either the 15th of this month or the first of April.

Threshing machine owners will no longer be compelled to detour around hard roads if bills pending in the general assembly are adopted. Under the present law, tractor engines and farm machinery equipped with steel wheels, which have V-shaped projections to prevent slipping in soft dirt, are prohibited from operating on the hard roads and much farm machinery also is barred because of its width.

"Clean-up Week" is being agitated in this city and it is a mighty fine thing to agitate. Every one and every organization should get behind the movement and put it over with a vim.


90 Years Ago

March 17, 1933

Edwin Tetley was in Kankakee on Wednesday, where he took an examination for state motorcycle officer. Edwin has not received notice of his appointment, but while in Kankakee they took measurements for his officer's suit, and the chances are that when they took his measurements they didn't intend to put the suit on someone else.

Out of 9,640 families in Livingston County, 5,046 own their own homes, according to figures just released by the Federal Bureau of Census, based on the census taken in 1930. Of the total number of owned homes 3,851 were city owned homes. In all there were 4,484 tenant families in the county.

Efficient and hard work by neighbors saved the farm house of Mr. and Mrs. George Jessup, Jr., northwest of Fairbury, last Friday morning when it caught on fire. A general alarm was turned in and in a few minutes over 50 farmers had responded, bringing with them pails in which to carry water. A stubborn fight was put up against the flames, which had gained considerable headway, with the result that the fire was put out, but not until the entire roof on the south side had been burned and the flames had eaten their way down into the sides of the house. Some of the household effects were damaged by water, but they as well as the house was insured.


80 Years Ago

March 12, 1943

A new cold record for the month of March was established here early Monday morning, when thermometers registered 14 below zero. In some instances out through the country, temperatures as low as 18 and 19 below were recorded. It will not only set a new low temperature for March but it was the coldest weather we have had all winter. There was one nice thing about it and that was it didn't last long. And there was little wind.

Up to noon yesterday, the Red Cross Membership and War Fund collected was $850. The quota of Indian Grove township is $3,050. This is one dollar for every man, woman and child in Fairbury and surrounding territory. To meet that we must give generously. The Red Cross is doing our armed forces a great service with blood plasma for instant use, nurses, service to war prisoners, canteens, clubs and supplies. Let's not let them down. —War Fund Committee.

Eugene Sutton has leased the Standard Service Station on Route 24 formerly operated by Robert Grusy. In connection with the service station he will also have charge of the tourist cabins.


70 Years Ago

March 12, 1953

Permission has been granted by the FCC for the building of a television station in Champaign that will serve a primary area with a 70-mile radius, and thus include Fairbury in its actual broadcasting range. This vicinity is now strictly in the "outer fringe" area of Chicago TV transmitters, and although programs are received here quite regularly, reception is at the mercy of weather conditions.

The Huette addition located at the northwest edge of Fairbury, became a part of this city last Wednesday evening when the city council approved an ordinance admitting that addition into the corporate limits. It brings into the city some seven or eight fine modern residences that are a credit to the community. The addition is a new one, having been laid out only a few years ago.

The Fairbury Hospital has been left the sum of $15,000 by Mrs. Mary Nimmo, who passed away February 4, and whose will was filed for probate February 27. C. R. Voris was named in the will as executor of the estate. The First Presbyterian Church of this city was also bequeathed the sum of $5,000.


60 Years Ago

March 14, 1963

The Kramer Publishing Company today announces the sale of the Fairbury Blade and the Forrest News. James Roberts, of Aledo, is the purchaser. Roberts, an experienced newspaper man, will assume ownership of the properties March 18. The Kramers said that Roberts' many qualifications would enable him to uphold the excellence of the publications in Fairbury and Forrest, and continue to improve them.

Gary Stevens, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Stevens, is among 11 University of Illinois students to receive Woodrow Wilson Fellowships for the 1963-64 academic year. Each fellowship covers tuition and fees for the first year at the graduate school of the fellow's choice, plus $1,500 and dependency allowances. Fellows pledge they will give serious thought to a career in college teaching, and undertake a full-time program of graduate study.

Fairbury Hospital has contracted for the purchase of the N. J. Claudon lots, located along Sixth Street, south of Chestnut. The land will be used for a new nursing home, or other hospital expansion. Price paid for the 175 by 175 foot tract was $15,000.


50 Years Ago

March 15, 1973

A pair of burglaries at Steffen Lumber Company are being investigated by Fairbury Police and the Livingston County Sheriff's Office. Friday night, Mar. 9, the firm reported the loss of $198.15 which was reportedly taken from a locked safe, which was opened and then re-locked. A back-door bolt was reportedly found open, but the police report states no tracks were found leading from the door, and officers suspect that entry was made by a key. The first incident, on Friday night, Mar. 2, involved the loss of two guns plus an antique weapon. Entry was gained by breaking out the front door glass.

The Fairbury-Cropsey school board has been advised to hire Pontiac attorney Kenneth Strong to counsel them on the dismissal of Charles Lane. In the field of school law, Strong is a recognized authority. Lane, who was not extended a contract last week, has demanded of the board a public hearing to determine the reasons for his dismissal. Some members of the board have said privately that there is some question as to whether Lane is actually entitled to a hearing. A section of the Illinois school code concerning public hearings apparently applies only to tenured teachers, which Lane is not.

Warren Olson, cashier of the National Bank of Fairbury, has resigned that post effective next week, and is moving to Florida where he will become cashier of the bank in Jensen Beach. South Ft. Pierce will be their new residence. Olson has been associated with the National Bank of Fairbury for a dozen years, and has been active in many civic functions, serving as treasurer of the Association of Commerce; on the board of the Swimming Pool Association, a Lions' Club member, and is a former president of the Livingston County Bankers' Association.


40 Years Ago

March 10, 1983

Teacher sharing and consolidation are two issues likely to be addressed tonight when the Fairbury-Cropsey and Forrest-Strawn-Wing boards of education hold a joint meeting. The FSW school system has already entered into a teacher sharing arrangement with the Chatsworth district for 1983-84. Consolidation is also a possible topic of mutual interest, although there has been no indication that either board is ready to move toward merger.

The city of Fairbury still has not received an explanation from N. I. Gas Company about a $1,200 bill for one month's service at the city garage. At the council's previous meeting two weeks earlier, Dameron reported the bill, saying it was one of their estimated readings. He also said that the meter had been damaged earlier and that the company had been notified. He suggested that if the problem is not rectified that City Attorney Paul Mason would contact State Rep. Tom Ewing and the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Continued business prosperity by Fairbury merchants has not only kept the downtown area alive and vibrant, but has had a carryover effect directly tied to the taxpayer's pocketbook. The City of Fairbury has been able to utilize revenue generated by the city's one-cent sales tax to finance the cost of many municipal services. Fairbury merchants generated $285,066.13 in city sales tax during the 1982 calendar year, up 5.68 percent over the $268,869.62 raised the previous 12 months.


30 Years Ago

March 11, 1993

Someone could be $5,000 richer if they come forward with information that would lead to the conviction of the man who has twice robbed an elderly Forrest resident at knifepoint and who might possibly be the same man who robbed an elderly woman over a year ago along a village street. Forrest Village Board members agreed Thursday night at their regular meeting to donate enough funds to the reward account at the First State Bank of Forrest to total $5,000. That amount would be paid to an informant "when and if someone is convicted for the robberies."

The Fairbury City Council approved a motion last Wednesday to support a Department of Commerce and Community Affairs loan for $100,000 for a new business that wants to locate in Fairbury. The new business is a bowling ball manufacturer based in Illinois. The company plans to hire 12 skilled workers in the beginning and eventually increase to 50 or 60 employees.

When hundreds of Hawks' fans made the long trek to the Mahomet-Seymour gymnasium for the sectional championship between Prairie Central and the Bulldogs, they knew the Hawks would need to play their best basketball so far this season. The varsity boys' Hawks went into their fourth game this season with Corn Belt rival Mahomet trailing the series 2-1. Not only did the Hawks even the series, but they erased the two previous losses by eliminating sixth-ranked Mahomet from the IHSA state tournament series. The Hawks' 52-51 victory improved their record to 23-5, while Mahomet bows out with a respectable 24-4 record.


20 Years Ago

March 12, 2003

The Prairie Central High School Math Team will advance two teams and two individuals to the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) State Math Contest on Saturday, April 26 at the University of Illinois. Advancing is the junior-senior eight-person team, the freshman-sophomore two-person team and individuals Rudy McMinn in the Algebra II written competition, and Phil Dray in the Algebra I written competition. The eight-person team consists of Jessica Salinas, Aaron Knauer, Amanda Slagel, Jordan Walter, John Gerber and Rudy McMinn. The two-person team is Jeremy Dasso and Julie Slagel.

Senator Dan Rutherford visited residents at Fairview Haven Nursing Home in Fairbury last week and presented a new American Flag to the nursing home. Fairview received a new Illinois state flag as well, as the old flags were beginning to show considerable wear and tear.

Four Prairie Central Hawks were selected to the Corn Belt Conference all-star team this year. Senior C. J. Wrede made the first team; junior Dylan Ward earned second team honors and seniors Trevin McCulloh and Brad Frye received honorable mention.


10 Years Ago

March 13, 2013

Two people were injured Monday afternoon, March 4, after a van drove through the front doors of the Dollar General Store in Fairbury. According to Fairbury Police, a 71-year-old female driver, for unknown reasons, drove her van through the front doors of the store at approximately 3:05 p.m. The details as to why the accident happened are still under investigation. The driver, along with a store employee, were taken to OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac, where both were treated and released. The front doors of the store were knocked down and the van also did considerable damage to half of the checkout area as well as knocking down three shelves of food items.

A contest is looming in the City of Fairbury for the Consolidated Election on April 9. Incumbent Fairbury Mayor Robert P. Walter Jr. is being challenged by a former mayor, Roger Lynn Dameron. Walter, who has served as Mayor of Fairbury since 1997, is seeking his fifth term. Dameron served two terms as Fairbury's mayor, from 1989 to 1997. Both Walter and Dameron served as Aldermen prior to being elected mayor.


"Looking Back" from Kari Kamrath is brought to you each week on Fairbury News by Duffy-Pils Memorial Homes with locations in Fairbury, Chenoa and Colfax.



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