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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 4-3-24

130 Years Ago

March 31, 1894

The Belle Prairie Town Hall is in a state of dilapidation and a vote will be taken at the town election to find whether the voters desire to repair the structure or build a new one or neither.

The A. O. H. of Fairbury is a new secret society that was organized last week. The officers are: Grand Orient, C. F. H. Carrithers; grand monitor, W. W. Wonser; grand vizier, George Bennett; grand friar, T. D. Karnes; grand scrivener, J. V. McDowell; grand herald, J. W. Morris; grand almoner, John Sorg; grand inner seneschal, Charles Bradley; grand outer seneschal, Charles Payne; grand G. A. P. Ed Kermis.

The congregation of the Christian Church met last Saturday evening and decided by a unanimous vote to raise money for the erection of a new church building for that society at Fairbury during the present season.


120 Years Ago

April 1, 1904

The Walton Mines will close down shortly, the timbers are being pulled out and the mine will soon cease to be operated. The coal rights under part of the Nimmo land had been purchased by Walton Bros. recently in expectation that it would be mined, but in driving one of the entries, the miners broke into the old workings and let the water thru so bad that it was impossible to continue the work. The mine was sunk by Knight, Gibb & Co., about 25 years ago and about three years later was sold to Walton Bros., who have owned it ever since that time. A "cave-in" a few years ago destroyed part of the workings and the water has been troublesome ever since.

Forrest — Three or four Fairbury toughs came over to Forrest Thursday evening, evidently looking for trouble. The result was they found some Forrest toughs and immediately there was a fight. It cost the Forrest boys three dollars and costs.

Almost everybody in this section knows that Charlie Keck is one of the most wide awake and hustling insurance men in this part of the state, but very few know that several of the best insurance agencies in the country are after him with all kinds of offers to take a position as state agent. Moreover Charlie is worthy of any position offered him. He has built up a splendid business by his own unaided efforts and in the meantime accumulated a goodly portion of this world's goods, which only goes to show what a man can do if he gets down to business and works hard. When Charlie first landed in Fairbury numerous years ago, he was a round faced, rosy-cheeked lad with "made in Germany" stamped all over him.


110 Years Ago

April 3, 1914

C. J. Claudon received Monday, a five-dollar gold piece. It was a prize given by the Delco firm of Dayton, O. for the best answer to "Why the Delco system of lighting and starting was the best on earth."

Miss Marguerite Camp, who has been the pianist at the opera house picture show, has resigned her position and has accepted a like position at the Majestic Theatre, Peoria. Miss Anna Loughran is filling the position at the opera house made vacant by Miss Camp's resignation.

Matt Kafer shipped two carloads of cattle last Monday that brought the top market price in Chicago.

Miss Anna Mae Shepherd, who is attending college at Delaware, O., arrived here Saturday to spend vacation with friends.


100 Years Ago

March 28, 1924

Sam Fendrick, residing south of town, has purchased of the Morris heirs the residence property on South Fourth Street, occupied by Dr. and Mrs. J. C. Page up to a few months ago, when it was damaged by fire. It is now being repaired and remodeled. Mr. Fendrick does not intend to move to town right away, but bought the property as an investment.

Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Farley last night received a telephone message from the roommate of their son Harry in Chicago stating that the latter had been seriously injured in a street car accident. The message stated that his skull had been fractured, but no other information was given. Mr. and Mrs. Farley and Miss Vera left for his bedside early this morning.

The weather this week is a repetition of the one before and each week it seems the same. We begin to look forward to some future day when the sun will shine, the birds sing and all nature will rejoice that the winter has passed and the good old summertime is here once more.

To the voters of Indian Grove Township: My name having been placed on the Democratic ticket as a candidate for the office of school trustee without my knowledge or consent, I hereby announce that I am not a candidate for said office. —Ora Shanks


90 Years Ago

March 30, 1934

Upon arriving home last Tuesday evening La Verne Metz was very much surprised to find sixteen of her Fairbury and Chenoa friends, also her three teachers, waiting to remind her of her 13th birthday. A six o'clock dinner, including a large birthday cake with candles, was served after which the evening was spent playing games.

The old fiddlers' contest at Central Theatre Wednesday evening drew a good sized crowd and the fiddlers put on a real contest. There were seven contestants – Herman Wilken, accompanied by his daughter; John Winterland, his two sons playing the accompaniment; Mac Jarvis, accompanied by Wayne Putnam; Robert Carter, accompanist, Raymond Carter; Miss Bell Vieley; W. W. Holloway, R. C. Huntoon at the piano; George Harris, with Mrs. Edna Maier at the piano. Prizes were won in the order given: George Harris, Mac Jarvis, W. W. Holloway, John Winterland.

After a comparatively mild winter in which snows were few and low temperatures a rarity, March comes along and has done a fairly good job of making up what the winter months overlooked. Her latest contribution arrived Monday in the form of a ten-inch snow. It started snowing Monday afternoon and the longer it snowed, the faster it fell until it was not long until travel on the highways was difficult. By midnight traffic was almost at a standstill. The snow was heavy and wet and windshield wipers on cars were almost useless.


80 Years Ago

March 31, 1944

Ben Kafer has contracted for the purchase from Mrs. Florida Dixon of a residence property at the extreme west end of Elm Street, and will move there soon after his sale which is being held April 4. The sale was made through the Taylor Real Estate Agency.

Eben Neal, who has operated a tavern on West Locust Street for several years, is going out of business. He is advertising his stock of goods and fixtures for sale at public auction tomorrow afternoon at 1 o'clock.

Mrs. Harry Walters Sr., who has been quite ill after being overcome by gas fumes from a washing machine, is again up and around her home.

Due to the printing of the primary ballots this week a number of our news items have been crowded out. Ordinarily we would carry enough pages to take care of any increase in advertising or legal notices, but due to the paper shortage it is not advisable to increase the size of The Blade at this time.


70 Years Ago

April 1, 1954

Officials of the T. P. and W. railroad yesterday called the derailing of two cars in downtown Fairbury Sunday  one of those "unexplained occurrences." Perry Burroughs, local T. P. & W. station agent, said it was just unexplainable luck that, where one of the derailed cars struck the concrete base of a signal light just west of the Fourth Street crossing, it rolled off the track and free of the other cars instead of causing a serious pileup. Actual cause of the accident which occurred about 12:45 p.m. Sunday, was believed to have had its beginning in Piper City about an hour before. At Piper City, a draw bar had been pulled loose, and eight or ten cars had been pulled over the draw bar before the train could be stopped.

C. B. Ziegenhorn was elected president of the Fairbury Rotary Club at its regular meeting Tuesday night. Carl Metz was elected vice-president, C. C. Thompson was appointed secretary and Herman Kilgus sergeant-at-arms. W. K. Kennedy, retiring president, is automatically a member of the board of directors. Other directors elected were Shelby Wharton, Dr. J. R. Smith, C. B. Ziegenhorn, Carl Metz and Herbert Lehmann.

Fairbury youths are learning square dancing exceptionally well, according to Mrs. William Orth, girls' physical education teacher at Fairbury High School. Those participating have already learned their fundamentals and are in the intermediate stage. Boys have won extra praise from Mrs. Orth, because they have shown a marked improvement in their grace.


60 Years Ago

April 2, 1964

Promoted to Watseka as agent for the T. P. & W. railroad, Pete Beltram of Fairbury, began his new duties there Monday. For the past 19 years, he has been second trick operator, working from 3 to 11, at Fairbury, where he started on May 15, 1945. He bid farewell to Perry Burroughs Saturday afternoon, ending a 16-year association. The Beltrams have sold their Fairbury residence and moved Saturday to one they purchased in Watseka.

Remodeling of the Fairbury Ben Franklin store, operated by Floyd and Bob McGillen, is under way this week. Workmen are installing all new counters and display racks throughout the store. Last week, new aluminum doors were installed as first step in the project.

When fire destroyed the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity house on the University of Illinois campus Monday night, Sam Honegger Jr., of Forrest, was one of the members who lost most of their books and clothes. Sam was spending his vacation at the home of his parents, as were most residents, and only three members were in the three-story brick structure which was burned out. There were no casualties.

In cooperation with the Post Office Department, Jay G. Philpott, District Director of Internal Revenue, urges taxpayers to include their postal zip code numbers on tax forms being filed. The address section of all new tax forms now contains space for the postal zip code number.


50 Years Ago

April 4, 1974

An early morning rupture in a water main left a large portion of the Fairbury business district without water service Wednesday. The rupture was first noticed around 8 a.m. as it sent water gushing nearly 10 inches into the air on Locust St. between Third and Fourth Streets. Several feet away, a crack in the pavement allowed more water to escape to the surface. The broken main cut off water service to all businesses on Locust between Third and Fifth Streets. The Bell, Book and Candle reported water several inches deep in the basement, while Nolan's Tap accumulated several feet of water at the basement level.

Mr. and Mrs. James H. Roberts and Mr. and Mrs. Harvey S. Traub were guests at a White House reception hosted by President and Mrs. Richard M. Nixon in Washington, D.C., Thursday. On Friday evening they were guests at a reception in the Embassy of Kuwait. The social events were part of the program for the 13th annual Government Affairs conference sponsored by the National Newspaper Association.

A SELCAS ambulance ran out of gas Sunday morning midway between Chatsworth and Forrest while transporting a patient from Chatsworth to Fairbury Hospital. The vehicle was refueled almost immediately by Clarence Culkin, Forrest and Chatsworth funeral director, who came upon the stranded vehicle and brought gas from Forrest. In subsequent testing, it was learned that the ambulance, whose gas gauge reportedly indicated a quarter-tank at the time it ran dry, had only a 17-gallon fuel capacity although it is listed as 21 gallons in the vehicle manual.


40 Years Ago

March 29, 1984

Unit 3 board of education members have fulfilled a pledge made to district voters prior to the March 20 school tax referendum. The board members promised to reinstate $400,000 in staff and program cutbacks approved in mid-February, for at least one year, if the community passed the proposed 75-cent tax increase. The referendum passed by a 2-1 margin last Tuesday. On Thursday night, the board reinstated all the cuts with one exception, limiting the high school agriculture program to half-time to permit board members further time to study that class. Then on Monday night, at its regular March meeting, the board members upgraded the ag program to full-time status for next year.

Delmar Smith, respiratory technician at Fairbury Hospital, has been voted employee of the year by the employees of Fairbury Hospital. Hospital administrator Dereck Marshall presented Delmar a check for $50. Delmar has worked at Fairbury Hospital for two years and was credited for saving the life of a man last year using his knowledge of CPR.

Graduating seniors Val Metz and Traci Runyon, have left their legacies for future FCHS girls' basketball players to try to surpass. Coach George Fyke revealed this week that Val and Traci have established seven school records between them. Val set three career marks: most field goals, 360, breaking the old standard of 327 by Tina Bachtold; total points, 822, breaking Tina's mark of 735; and most rebounds, 411, breaking Angie Maurer's total of 319. In addition, she also set two single season records: most rebounds, 156, braking Angie's mark of 124; and highest free throw percentage, 80 percent, breaking Laura McCue's mark of 75 percent. Val was named Most Valuable Player by her teammates and was also a first-team Sangamon Valley Conference selection. Traci will leave her name in the record books in two places: most free throws made in one season, 41, topping Val's old mark of 40, set just last year; and most free throws made in a career, 113, easily topping Caryl Ricketts' mark of 59. Traci was honored as the squad's best defensive player.


30 Years Ago

March 30, 1994

Fairbury Hospital Administrator Dick Shelton announced last week that Kim Coomber of Fairbury has been named Director of Nursing at the facility effective March 21. Coomber worked at the hospital in the early 1980s as a Licensed Practical Nurse. She then returned to Illinois Wesleyan University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. She and husband Paul have three children, Kristy, 15, John, 14 and Breanna, 11.

Twins Damaris Lee Moser and Silas Robert Moser were born March 14, 1994, at Saint James Hospital, Pontiac. They are the first children of Kevin and Kara Moser, rural Forrest. Damaris Lee weighed three pounds, three ounces and was 15 inches long. Silas Robert weighed two pounds, 14 ounces and was 16 inches long. Grandparents are Robert Kaisner, Fairbury; Colleen Loschen, Ogden; and Lloyd and the late Myrna Moser, rural Fairbury. Great-grandparents are Merle and Marge Kaisner and Persida Moser, all of Fairbury.

T.J. Posey, former Prairie Central basketball standout, has earned his first basketball letter at Illinois Wesleyan University. The 6' 3" sophomore guard played in all 27 Titan's games this year and was a starter in one. An outstanding long-range shooter, 17 of his 35 baskets were three-point goals. For the season, Posey made .393 percent of his field goal efforts (35 of 89) and was 11 of 17 (.647 percent) from the free throw line. He made 17 of 57 three-point attempts (.298 percent). A business administration major, he is the son of Tom and Pam Posey of Fairbury.


20 Years Ago

March 31, 2004

Workers are constructing a new pavilion at North Park in Fairbury. The new shelter was made possible through a grant from the Prairielands Foundation, and is expected to be completed by May 1. Several businesses and organizations, including the City of Fairbury have volunteered and/or offered services and material in order to complete the project. The enclosed facility is to be equipped with rest rooms.

Superintendent John Capasso said Monday afternoon, "I am very disappointed with the motion filed in the Fourth Appellate Court in Springfield on Friday." Capasso was referring to the latest move by those opposed to the Prairie Central/Chenoa school merger. He said he was disappointed but not surprised. The opposition to the merger had until April 15 to file another motion to stop a merger with Prairie Central. 

An open house is set for Saturday, April 17 at the Chatsworth fire house to give the public an opportunity to take a look at the department's new rescue/pumper unit. The fire truck was purchased by the fire district with the assistance of a federal grant. The fire department was notified last fall that the grant had been approved and that it would receive funds in the amount of $191,610 to apply toward the purchase of a new truck. The CFPD added $30,000 to buy the truck that is capable of pumping 1,240 gallons of water per minute.


10 Years Ago

April 2, 2014

Prairie Central senior volleyball player Katie Kupferschmid, daughter of Mark and Anna Kupferschmid, will attend Illinois Central College in the fall to major in nursing. She will also play volleyball for the Lady Cougars, coached by Sue Sinclair. Kupferscmid was a three-year varsity player at Prairie Central High School and had a total of 866 digs in those three years. PC head varsity coach Kim Hasty referred to Kupferschmid as a very dedicated and hard-working player, saying that it was a pleasure to coach her and watch her grow over the years.

Sarah Henderson of Wheaton and Daniel Schahrer of Fairbury are announcing their engagement and approaching marriage. The bride-to-be is the daughter of Jack and Lori Henderson of Wheaton. The future bridegroom is the son of Shelley Schahrer of Fairbury and the late James Schahrer. The couple is planning an April 26, 2014 wedding in Charleston.

Prairie Central High School students have conducted two projects to help others through The American Red Cross. Shortly after the tornadoes in Washington, Ill., FCCLA, National Honor Society and Student Senate collected monetary donations and bottles of water to aid those affected by the disaster. A total of $876.97 was collected from students and staff and at ball games. On March 21, FCCLA hosted their annual blood drive. Students and staff participated during the pre-spring break event. Eighty-eight usable pints of blood were collected that day. Jessica Cooley and Bryce Nowak served as co-chairs of the event.

(Looking Back from Kari Kamrath is sponsored by Duffy-Pils Memorial Homes)

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