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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 3-6-24

130 Years Ago

March 3, 1894

Mrs. Hester Lough has rented the Sherman House and will conduct it as a hotel and boarding house.

Miss Gaston will lecture on temperance at the M. E. Church on Sunday evening.

T. J. Weeks has resigned his position as pit boss at Walton Bros. coal shaft.

We are very glad to note the return of roller skating, as we believe that nowhere else can our young people, ladies and gentlemen together, enjoy themselves in a more innocent, healthy and hearty manner than at a well conducted rink.

Births — to Mr. and Mrs. Peter Kelly, Saturday, February 24, a boy; to Mr. and Mrs. L. Redfern Sunday, February 25, a boy.


120 Years Ago

March 4, 1904

Burch's orchestra of 12 pieces will give a concert in the Fairbury Opera House, Friday night, March 18th. The orchestra will put on a classical and popular program so it will please all.

The infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Ruby, of Chenoa, was found dead in bed on Friday morning and as she was sleeping with her parents, smothering is supposed to have been the cause of death. Mr. and Mrs. Ruby recently moved to Chenoa from Dwight and the husband is a coal miner. However the family are in very poor circumstances and nearly $16 was raised among the miners to help them defray the expenses of the burial of their child.

The cards are out announcing the marriage of Ray Meeker and Miss Cora Humphrey. The wedding will take place Thursday evening at 6:30 at the home of the brides parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. F. Humphrey. They will move onto the old Meeker farm, and Mr. and Mrs. Meeker, who have worked hard for many years and have earned a rest, will move into a house near G. M. Meeker. The young couple have the best wishes of a host of friends.


110 Years Ago

March 6, 1914

Manager Wade, of the Central Opera House, announced Monday to his patrons that on account of the Honeywell tabernacle meetings, the opera house would be closed from that time until March 23.

Bert Kelso loaded his car Monday night and left for Redwood Falls, Minn., where he has a farm. Tim Kelso will assist him on the farm.

Dr. William O'Brien, who has been taking a post-graduate course at St. Joseph's hHospital, St. Louis, Mo., arrived home on Saturday to spend his 21st birthday with his mother, Mrs. J. F. O'Brien.

Robert Mack returned on Monday from California.

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Stauffer, of near Colfax, were here the first of the week visiting her parents, Mr. and Mr. W. G. Bingham. They left Wednesday for Amboy, Minn., where Mr. Stauffer has a fine farm and where they will reside.


100 Years Ago

February 29, 1924

Workmen have been busy the past few days putting the new fire alarm siren in place. It has been placed on top of the tower where the fire bell hangs. It was being tried out yesterday and seems to make plenty of noise.

The Blade this month had five publication days. This is nothing out of the ordinary for an ordinary month, but February isn't ordinary in that it has only 28 days and it gives us an extra day every four years. This year the first of February came on Friday and this together with the extra day this month gave us this year gave us five publication days. It will be many years before we again have five publication days in February.

Sheriff L. M. Shugart has just received one dozen tear gas bombs. All sheriffs, police and detective offices throughout the country are now being equipped with this bomb, developed during the World war, to be used in routing out criminals and others who have sought hiding following the committing of some criminal act. The bombs are spherical and fit easily in the hand. They are of thin copper and contain three glass vials which are broken when the bomb strikes, releasing a blinding gas.


90 Years Ago

March 2, 1934

A real live baby will be given away by Central Theatre Wednesday, March 7. Everybody loves a baby and this baby is one of the cutest babies ever seen in this community. The baby is a foundling and through Mr. Nelson she has arranged to have a chance to pick her future home. She will make any home very happy, and she will be given to one of the crowd that attends the theatre on that night.

Two gentlemen from Chicago met with a number of our local businessmen on Wednesday afternoon at the Phi Chi Psi Club rooms, with the idea in view of locating a dress factory here. The gentlemen stated that the factory in Chicago had at the present time all the work they could do, but that the union "racket" in that city was making it impossible to operate in that city any longer and they desired to locate in a smaller city.

One of the most interesting addresses yet heard by Fairbury Rotarians was that given at the Rotary Club meeting Tuesday evening by Eddie Coveleski, known as the "hobo orator," when he gave a very intimate and detailed account of the life, habits, customs and characteristics of the American hobo. Mr. Coveleski is a real hobo, with eight years of experience, dresses to look the part, and his talk was given in the vernacular of the "jungle."


80 Years Ago

March 3, 1944

Miss Georgiana Daly, manager of the Third Street Kroger Grocery, has been off duty part of this week. Wednesday last week she slipped and cut her knee on a piece of glass, it requiring several stitches to close the wound. Later infection developed and she entered the Fairbury Hospital on Sunday. She was released Tuesday afternoon.

Mrs. Jay Downes was pleasantly surprised last Thursday on the eve of her 13th wedding anniversary to receive a call from her husband, Pvt. Jay E. Downes, at Camp Blanding, Fla. He said that he and the weather were fine. He will be located in Florida for 17 weeks.

The seniors of F. T. H. S. held a party on Thursday evening, February 24, in the high school gym in honor of the boys leaving for service. Bill Tagg has already reported to the Navy Air Corps and Glen Booker is awaiting his call to the Army Air Corps. Some of the other boys will also be leaving soon, but at present there is no definite time as to when. The evening was spent in dancing and playing various games. "Cootie" was the main attraction of the evening, being played by the whole group. A prize was given to the person having completed the most "Cooties." Refreshments were served with much delight, and thus ended a very enjoyable evening by everyone.


70 Years Ago

March 4, 1954

The Fairbury Hospital last year served more people for more money, and spent more in doing so, than in any other period, according to an audit report recently prepared by Sutter and Henning, certified public accountants. A total of 1,631 cases were admitted in 1953, compared with 1,553 in 1952. The average daily census for 1953 was 31.1 patients. Although income climbed from $127,911.47 in 1952 to $153,361.77 last year, expenses also increased from $125,535.96 to $156,664.78 in the same period. The cost of service a day increased from $13.22 to $13.67.

Fairbury High School was host to speech contestants from nine area schools Saturday morning. Team honors went to Central High School of Clifton. Dwight was second, St. Ann 3rd, Fairbury 4th and Pontiac 5th. Fairbury High School entries were as follows: Arthur Melvin, 1st in oratorical declamation; Jim Smith, 3rd in radio speaking; Gail Bruniga, 5th in play reading (comedy); Phyllis Cox, 6th in play reading (comedy); Rosemary Grace competed in Extempore Verse Reading.

Ten and a quarter inches of snow fell in Fairbury the past six days, the largest amount in such a length of time for some years. Over half that amount fell on Tuesday evening, and was accompanied by high winds which drifted roads and streets, making them impassable in many spots. Snow also fell Thursday and Saturday – 4.75 inches of it – but in both cases melted quickly the following day. Tuesday's blizzard caught a crowd of about 900 people at the regional tournament games here, but most were able to make their way home. Some, however, remained in Fairbury overnight. The grade school basketball team, returning home from Chillicothe, where they had just won the state grade school basketball championship, were forced to stop four miles out of Gridley and stay the night at a farm house.


60 Years Ago

March 5, 1964

A Colfax couple has purchased the Indian Trail Motel of Fairbury effective March 1. Merlin and Eileen Harris will move to this community later this month. Plans are being made for remodeling the 15-unit motel as soon as weather permits. Former owners, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Eide will move to Arizona as soon as school is out in May. The Eide family purchased the Fairbury motel from Roy Melvin in April, 1961, coming here from Serena. Harris will be the 24-hour answering point for fire calls, assuming the responsibility from Eide.

More than 500 Republicans overflowed the Elks Country Club in Pontiac Monday night to hear 18 candidates for state office in the April primary. Veteran workers in the party could recall no similar outpouring of interested persons. The meeting, at which Mrs. Lucile Goodrich, Livingston County superintendent of schools, presided, was sponsored by the county women's Republican Club, and the Young Republicans. In addition to citing their qualifications for the offices they sought, candidates as a group indicated that Chicago's Mayor Daley will be a campaign issue of considerable proportion this fall as they assailed him and what they termed his "puppet governor" Otto Kerner.

A record crowd jammed Fairbury Main Street Wednesday for the 13th annual Community Sale. Threatening skies held off anticipated rainfall and temperatures hovered in the 50's to make an ideal day for both buyer and seller. Dan Schlipf, chairman of the event, told The Blade that over 2,000 items were checked in. This compares to 1,800 last year. An estimated crowd of 5,000 grouped around the 14 auctioneers. Dollar Day crowds were also heavy in local stores, seeking marked down items.


50 Years Ago

March 7, 1974

Three Fairbury businesses were hit by burglars last week. The rash of burglaries began on Wednesday night when vandals took $278 from Mr. Timber on W. Walnut St. Fifteen dollars was taken from two vending machines and an additional $263 was stolen from a cash register. On Thursday night $39 in change was taken from two vending machines at Ziegenhorn and Sons, Route 24. Fairbury police also investigated a burglary at K&S Sales, Inc., at the corner of Seventh and Locust Streets. The burglars forced open a window and took about $25 along with two tape players and two pair of leather gloves.

A fifth 100-car train of corn was loaded out of Fairbury and Weston Saturday afternoon, this one bound for Baltimore and overseas export. This was the third unit train shipped from Honeggers' & Co., Inc., of Fairbury, while two have also been loaded out by Weston Grain Company, which acquired some corn from Fairbury Farmers Grain Company to finish out one last week. Unit train shipments, which must be loaded in 24-hour periods or face penalty, are moved through Fairbury in 25-car legs, and then assembled in Norfolk and Western yards in Forrest for a non-stop run to the east coast.

Auctioneer Harvey Stork of rural Chenoa was a patient over the weekend in Fairbury Hospital after being burned on the arm. He suffered the injury Friday afternoon when grease in a popcorn popper ignited in the kitchen of their home. Alerted by a daughter to the flames which were sweeping to the ceiling, Stork grabbed the popper to carry it outside, but was thwarted by a locked door. In the confusion of getting the door open, he spilled flaming grease on himself and also on a daughter, Rhonda, 6. Both were admitted to Fairbury Hospital with burned right hands.


40 Years Ago

March 1, 1984

The early spring in which eastern Illinois residents had been baking for the past 10 days was wiped out Monday and Tuesday by a 36-hour mega blizzard. A wet snowfall of four to six inches was whipped into smothering drifts which choked transportation and closed hundreds of schools. U. S. 24 was the only east-west highway open, and it was one-lane in many places. Similarly, Illinois 47, a major north-south road, was also down to one-lane in many places. Wednesday brought bright blue skies, but the highways were still snow-packed and treacherous with police recording a steady stream of accident reports throughout the morning.

When Mae Sauder was born in 1892 they didn't expect her to celebrate many birthdays. It wasn't that she was a sickly child. No, the reason she wasn't expected to celebrate many birthdays had to do with her birthday. Mae Sauder was one of a small percentage of people born on Feb. 29. Now six children, 27 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren later, Mrs. Sauder has celebrated only 22 birthdays. It would have been 23, but leap year was not observed at the turn of the century. At 93, Mrs. Sauder maintains her own home and is preparing to celebrate this special birthday today and again on Sunday with friends and relatives.

Senior Val Metz, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Metz of Fairbury, has been named Fairbury-Cropsey High School's DAR good citizen recipient for 1984. During high school Val has participated in volleyball, basketball and band for four years. She also was in track for one year and was class officer her freshman and junior years. This year she is president of the National Honor Society which she has been a member of for two years.


30 Years Ago

March 2, 1994

The Illinois Pork Producers Association has elected Roger Brown of rural Fairbury as their president for 1994-95. Brown has served as vice president of the organization for two years. He was finance chairman for two years, on the Education Committee three years and on Public Policy for three years. He is District 8 director, which includes Kankakee, Livingston, Ford, Iroquois, Champaign and Vermillion Counties. Brown and wife Denise have four daughters, Sarah, 17; Stephanie, 16; Shannon, 13; and Shelleigh, 11. The fourth generation Brown to work on the family farm graduated from Illinois State University in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Science and Technology. He taught vocational agriculture at Reddick for three years and then returned to the Fairbury farm in 1972.

The Prairie Central Hawks won the boys Class A Regional Championship Saturday. The regional crown is the sixth won by PC boys basketball teams in its nine-year history and the third title win under Coach Tom Posey. Composure was the key to Prairie Central's 68-65 win over Ridgeview according to Posey. Coming from behind – the Hawks were trailing 33 to Ridgeview's 37 at the half – Prairie Central took the lead in the first seconds of the third quarter and only lost that lead once by one point the rest of the game.

A son was born Feb. 26, 1994 to Doug and Dorothy Wessels of Forrest. He weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces and was 20½ inches long. His name is Mitchell Douglas Wessels. He joins a brother, Daniel, age eight, and a sister, Rachel, five. Maternal grandparents are Harold and Evelyn Freeland, Forrest. paternal grandparents are Otis and Ruth Wessels, rural Strawn. Great-grandmother is Virginia Freeland, Saunemin.


20 Years Ago

March 3, 2004

It's almost over. The annexation of Chenoa Community Unit District #9 into the Prairie Central School district moved one giant step closer to fruition last Tuesday when a judge threw out a lawsuit that has been blocking the move. This action will allow the successful union of the Chenoa and Prairie Central School districts, barring an appeal of Judge Donald Bernardi's decision.

Milder temperatures Sunday night and early Monday certainly had to have played a role in the apparently safe aftermath of an accident for a Fairbury woman. Marguerite S. Bauer, 86, Fairbury, driving a 1999 Chevrolet, was southbound on County Road 2300 East, one quarter mile south of 1700 North in Owego Township at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Police said where 2300 East becomes gravel Bauer lost control of the vehicle. The car went into the west ditch of the roadway and flipped over onto its top. Bauer's vehicle, with her trapped inside, was not found until almost 10 hours later. A delivery man saw the vehicle and heard Bauer's cries for help at 3:22 a.m. Monday. He reported the accident to LIV-COM and Saunemin Fire Department was dispatched to extricate Bauer from the vehicle. She was transported to OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center, where she was treated and later released.


10 Years Ago

March 5, 2014

The Prairie Central Penguins team, comprised of 69 individuals from Student Senate representatives, high school students, teachers and community members, were part of the more than 900 people who got uncomfortably cold for charity on Saturday, Feb. 22. They were participants in the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge at Miller Park Lake that collected more than $135,000 in pledges to benefit Special Olympics Illinois Heartland/Area 6, which serves athletes with intellectual disabilities in DeWitt, Livingston, Mason, McLean, Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford Counties. The water was 35 degrees around 10:30 a.m. and the air temperature was 36 degrees. The Penguins' initial goal was to raise $10,000 so that high school principal Dan Casillas, would plunge with them. Unfortunately, this goal was not quite reached, but they proudly raised over $8,500 for Special Olympics Illinois!

Senior night for high school basketball players, cheerleaders and dance team members was held at the final regular season basketball game at Prairie Central on Feb. 14. Senior basketball players honored included Corban Plenert, son of Brian and Denise Plenart; Ed Shafer, son of Tim and Becky Shafer; Bryce Nowak, son of Scott and Jami Nowak; Cole Fairley, son of Paul Fairley and Tammy Fairley; and Darren Raby, son of Chuck Raby. Senior dance team members honored were Savanna Ifft, daughter of Mark and Brenda Ifft; Lexi Smith, daughter of Angela Prawl and Matt Kovach; Madeline Enderli, daughter of Jeff and Lori Enderli; and Rebecca Schelling, daughter of Tamela Hunt. Senior cheerleaders honored included Katelyn Kafer, daughter of Kevin and Heidi Kafer; Keeley Haberkorn, daughter of Lenny and Patty Haberkorn; Kenadee Stork, daughter of Gary and Jamie Stork; Leslie Zimmerman, daughter of Jon and Diane Zimmerman; Lydia Jeffries, daughter of Keith and Elaine Jeffries; and Kacey Short, daughter of Brian and Joellen Short.

(Looking Back is sponsored each week by Duffy-Pils Memorial Home with locations in Fairbury, Chenoa and Colfax)

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