top of page
  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 5-3-23

130 Years Ago

April 29, 1893

A deal in Chicago real estate of considerable magnitude financially ,was consummated this week whereby a syndicate composed of J. W. Beers and F. E. Odell, of this city, Jackson Taylor, of Chicago, and a Mr. Fritzie, of Peoria, became the possessors of sixty acres of land in the suburbs of that city. It lies northwest of Chicago, near Oak Park.

Work has commenced on the water-works extension this week on West Elm Street.

The plans and specifications for A. B. Claudon's new bank building have been completed and work will begin soon. The building is a two-story brick, modern in every way, and will be a fine addition to the block.

We are pleased to learn that John Milne & Son have decided to erect some fine greenhouses on their lots north of town.

120 Years Ago

May 1, 1903

L. W. Kring this week sold his foundry to Thomas Flanagan, the consideration being $800. Mr. Flanagan is a practical founder and will at once open the foundry and put it in shape to do first-class work. This is something that Fairbury has felt the need of ever since the foundry has been closed down and Mr. Flanagan will, without doubt, get plenty of work to do.

A match game was played between a team of bowlers from Chatsworth and the "Pirates" of this city on the Commercial Club alleys Thursday evening. The "Pirates" won, hands down, the Chatsworth players not being in it at any time.

Forrest — A man by the name of Roy Daniels was found badly injured in the Wabash yards Wednesday night. It seems he was on his way to Kalamazoo, Mich., where his parents reside but in some manner he was caught by the cars. He was taken to Dr. Wray's office where, with the assistance of Dr. Whitmire, his right arm was amputated at the shoulder. Supervisor Rudd took the man to Pontiac.

110 Years Ago

May 2, 1913

Last Friday morning J. C. Masters in company with Joe Dennewitz, started out to his farm northeast of town, driving the family horse. He went out the east road and in going north across the railroad track two miles east of here, the horse came in contact with two electric light wires, property of the Central Illinois Utilities Company. The wires carried 6,600 volts, and the horse was dead by the time it hit the ground. It was about 6:30 and as it was raining and somewhat dark neither man saw that the wires were down. In getting out of the buggy Mr. Masters put his hand on the steel tires and received a severe shock.

There was a special meeting of the city council on Thursday morning at 7:30 o'clock, ll members being present. The first business that was brought up was an ordinance raising the dram shop licenses from the present amount of $1,200 annually to $1,500 annually. All members voted yes, except Gerber, who did not vote. Robert Henning said he did not believe in licensing saloons at any price, but was in favor of a higher license.

The foundation for the Hannie house on East Oak Street is completed.

100 Years Ago

April 27, 1923

When the new postmaster entered upon his duties, in accordance with the government request, the combination on the big vault in the post office was changed. But when they went to open the vault the new combination wouldn't work. Thomas Googertv, an expert from Pontiac, was called, but his efforts were also fruitless. Dick Shilts and his acetylene torch were finally resorted to, a hole was burned through the steel door and the bolts removed.

The losers in a contest among the members of the Builders and Boosters class of the M. E. Sunday School gave a party to the winners in the church basement Tuesday evening. Horseshoe pitching and other contests furnished entertainment and refreshments were served.

It is the intention of the Walton Bros. Co. to open their temporary store to the public Saturday, May 12.

Next week is "moving week" in Chicago and the Fairbury teachers employed in that city will arrive home the latter part of this week to spend a week here.

90 Years Ago

May 5, 1933

Everyone has seen trees that have been struck by lightning, but it is doubtful if anyone has seen a tree that was as completely demolished as the one in the J. M. Runyon yard that was struck by lightning during the storm Monday afternoon. The tree was a large one and it was literally torn to pieces. Large branches were ripped from it, leaving nothing but the trunk, and it was torn and splintered.

Jacob Ebach, residing northeast of Fairbury, who had part of his foot taken off Monday of last week when that member became caught in a feed grinder, submitted to an operation for the removal of his leg last Saturday, gangrene having set in. He is getting along as well as can be expected.

Relatives of Mrs. Milne, from Cissna Park, had stopped at the Milne home for dinner. Following dinner the visitors left for Chenoa, accompanied by Mrs. Milne and nine-month-old son Jack. Mrs. Milne was in the front seat with Jack sitting in his mother's lap. Mrs. Milne was talking to the ladies in the rear seat and had her back against the door. The car was traveling down the center of the road about 45 miles an hour when the door flew open and Mrs. Milne, clinging to her son, went out backwards. landing on the pavement they slid and rolled a distance of approximately 65 feet, Mrs. Milne still holding on to her baby. By the time the driver of the car got it stopped and started to back up Mrs. Milne had gotten up, and with the baby, had started towards the car, both having miraculously escaped serious injury.

80 Years Ago

April 30, 1943

The family of A. A. Meeker came home on Easter Sunday to spend his birthday with him. It is a bit unusual that Mr. Meeker should have his birthday anniversary twice on Easter since in a period of 200 years, from 1801 to 2000, Easter occurs only twice on April 25, the years 1886, when Mr. Meeker was twelve years old, and this year.

Miss Lola Range, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Range, of Weston, has enlisted as a nurse in the United States Army. She will receive her commission as second lieutenant and leaves May 1 for Camp McCoy., Sparta, Wis. Miss Range was employed on the nursing staff of the Fairbury Hospital the past six months. She graduated in 1942 from the Methodist Hospital School of Nursing, Peoria.

The monthly pay of a hired man on an Illinois farm this season, taking the average for the state, is $61.25 and board, according to state and federal departments of agriculture. Last year the hired man was getting $48.25 a month – ten years ago he was getting paid only $27.25.

70 Years Ago

April 30, 1953

Livingston County landowners and tenants will be given a ride over their farms Sunday by the Livingston County Flying Farmers. Joe Kuenzi, Flying Farmer wingman, stated that he hopes for good flying weather next Sunday so the land owners and tenants will enjoy seeing their farm from the air for the first time. Approximately 20 planes will be at the Chief City Airport at Pontiac, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to take all farmers over their farm or farms.

A marine monster was taken from the Vermilion river Thursday by Dean Williams, who used an imported bait for the task. The monster was a three pound, 14 ounce channel catfish, which measured 21 inches, according to Bill Morris' accurate tape. Dean had fished for an hour using liver, without luck. Finally, he discarded the liver, put a small smelt on the hook, and cast his line into the water in front of Knoll Lodge. Within a minute, the smelt was seized. The fight that followed was not much, but when the fish was ten feet from the bank, Dean discarded the rod and reel for the hand-over-hand method. The poor fish, tricked by his imported relative, was dressed on the spot by Bill Morris, Ora Shanks and Willard Barclay, ably advised by Lloyd Borngasser.

Forres t— The Sew and Rip 4-H Club met on Friday evening at the Home Economics room. Girls' measurements were taken and patterns discussed with the leaders, Mrs. Phil Rieger and Mrs. Clark Stanford.

60 Years Ago

May 2, 1963

E. F. Dickey, President of Honeggers' & Co., Inc., of Fairbury, announced Saturday morning that he will retire from that firm on June 30 of this year. He has turned over active management of the company to Sam R. Honegger, Chairman of the company's Board of Directors, who he will assist on a part-time basis as may be required, until that time. Dickey has been with the Honegger firm here for a little over 14 years. He has not announced plans beyond June 30, except to say that he expects to take a long rest after which he may do some part-time consulting work.

Mayor Roy Taylor told the Blade that Fairbury intersection widening is approximately one-third completed. H. J. Eppel, a Pontiac contractor, is doing the job. Eppel has done every intersection down Maple Street from First through Sixth Streets. The mayor said that the Pontiac contractor is presently working on fifth and Ash now. Taylor noted that engineers picked intersections that had sunken intakes. He added that he hopes every corner in town will someday be widened. Money for this project comes from motor fuel taxes.

Forrest — On Easter Sunday the contributions completed the funds necessary for the Forrest Church of God to provide and have installed a new electric organ. Formerly only a piano was used in the church. Money for the new organ came from private donations, Women's Missionary Society, food sales, rummage sales and lunches at farm sales. Organists who will serve are Mrs. Robert Karcher and Mrs. Milton Farney, both daughters of former pastors in the church, and Mrs. Harry Fry, wife of the present pastor, Rev. Harry Fry.

50 Years Ago

My 3, 1973

Fairbury's Man of the Year is Mayor Roy Taylor, cited Monday night at the annual Association of Commerce banquet in Westview school before a record attendance. New association president Virgil Kyburz made the presentation to the mayor, whose record includes long presidency of the Fairbury hospital board; major work in organizing the South East Livingston County Ambulance Service, Inc.; and "taking an awful lot of static through the years about everything that can go wrong in running a city's many services, including sidewalks!"

Perry Burroughs, executive secretary of the Fairbury Association of Commerce, tried to resign this week, in view of his upcoming retirement as local Agent for the T. P. and W. Railroad, but he's now started another term despite his objections. Dean Broquard, retiring association president, turned the trick by presenting Perry a plaque, in appreciation of his meritorious services "for the past eight years." "I guess you've got me," Perry said. "I've only served seven, so in order to keep this plaque, which I'm not going to give back, I guess I'll have to serve another year!"

Monday, April 30, 1973, was a milestone in the life of L. B. "Bud" Decker of Fairbury. On this day he closed out a 40-year career as Fairbury city clerk and officially presented the ledgers and keys to the town hall to Mrs. Gerald (Ruth) Runyon, newly elected city clerk. Decker began his duties as city clerk on September 21, 1932. Mrs. Runyon said Monday that she will work five and one-half days a week. Her husband, Gerald, is employed at Moser & Son Downtown Mobil Station, Fairbury. They have two daughters, Valarie, 9, and Traci, 7.

40 Years Ago

April 28, 1983

In recognition of 40 years service as a teacher, agricultural banker and civic leader, Bob Maurer was named as Fairbury's "Man of the Year," receiving the "For a Better Community" plaque from Association of Commerce President Lynn Dameron. Maurer produced many state and national FFA award winners at Fairbury-Cropsey High School before moving on to the National Bank of Fairbury as farm manager where he also led many Association projects.

Fairbury mayor Jim Steidinger escaped serious injury Wednesday morning when he was pinned against a work bench by a service truck inside the plant of Steidinger Tires. The truck was accidentally started while in gear by another employee. A SELCAS ambulance crew took the mayor to Fairbury Hospital's emergency room at about 7:30 for x-rays and observation. He was released at mid-morning, although severely bruised.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture recently designated the farm of Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Craig of rural Fairbury as a Centennial Farm. This distinguished classification is awarded farms that have remained in the same family for 100 years or more. Owners of Centennial Farms receive a two-foot square green and white metal sign that identifies the farm as a Centennial Farm and a hand-lettered Centennial certificate signed by Gov. James Thompson and Director of Agriculture Larry Werries.

30 Years Ago

April 29, 1993

K & S Sales, Inc. of Fairbury, has been awarded Ford Motor Company's highest honor for customer satisfaction, the "Chairman's Award." The award is presented each year to dealers rated exceptionally high in customer satisfaction by their customers. K & S Sales ranked among the top 136 out of 5,200 in the country. This is the third time K & S has won the award.

Pin Breaker, Inc. of Lockport, will soon begin a new venture for the company of producing state-of-the-art bowling balls at a recently purchased Fairbury facility, according to the company's president George Zelinski. Pin Breaker Inc. will be located at 300 Calhoun St., in a 15,000 square foot facility which formerly housed Rieger Coil Co. The company plans to begin operations at the Fairbury facility in June. The manufacturer will employ from eight to 12 people.

Chatsworth — If you'd like a good helping of Southern charm and hospitality, dished out with lower food prices than previously seen at the store, then, by all means, you should stop in to J & J Foods in Chatsworth. New store managers, John and Helen Brown, are currently renovating the former Dick's Market. The Browns say the store will feature a full service delicatessen – in the future – with cake decorating and party trays available. The couple plan to hold a grand opening in May. Brown says he has been in the grocery business 52 of his 57 years, beginning as a potato bagger for his dad in Rantoul.

20 Years Ago

April 30, 2003

The Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association announced award winners at its 33rd annual all-state banquet on Sunday, April 27. The banquet had over 325 in attendance, to honor all-state wrestlers and teams in addition to coaches, officials, administrators and members of the media. Prairie Central's Joe Cliffe, was named the Class A Coach of the Year, after guiding his team to a fourth place finish in state competition. Senior Jordan Broquard was named the Class A Scholastic Wrestler, and also received the Ken Gerdes III Memorial Foundation Scholarship.

Warren Gillett retired as a Forrest Board Trustee at Thursday's meeting. Gillett has been a board member for the past 22 years. Joyce Gulliford was appointed to take his place. Gillett, who attended school in Chatsworth has lived in Forrest for 30 years, as long as he and his wife, Melody, have been married. They are building a new house in Fairbury and will be moving within a few weeks. Mayor Richard Sanders presented Gillett with a watch, a memento of the years served.

Bill Schmidgall of Fairbury will be installed as postmaster of the Fairbury Post Office on Tuesday, May 6 at 10 a.m. The installation will be conducted by Mark Ford, manager of post office operations. A postal open house at the Fairbury facility will be held in conjunction with the postmaster installation. The public is invited to attend and meet employees. Refreshments will be provided.

10 Years Ago

May 1, 2013

The jubilation felt by two area residents who completed their first-ever Boston Marathon evaporated with the tragic turn of events on April 15. Ray Popejoy of Fairbury, and his niece, Abby, a student at the University of Illinois, had both finished the race well ahead of the two bombs detonated near the finish line, which killed three and injured hundreds more. “Abby had finished 40 minutes earlier and I had finished 20 minutes earlier, but we were still at the marathon when the bombs went off,” Ray Popejoy said. “We were about two blocks away, and when the bombs went off, the ground shook – there was no mistaking what had happened. There was a lot of smoke coming from around the finish line and it was chaos.”

The area has a new bulk foods store with the opening of Country Cupboard recently. The business, owned and operated by Dale and Elaine Dotterer, is located at 24479 E 800 North Rd., Fairbury, in the former Moorman Feeds building along Route 24 between Fairbury and Forrest. The Dotterers moved to the area from Ohio about six years ago after residing in Ohio for about 27 years. Mrs. Dotterer, who is a nurse, is formerly from the Forrest area. After his retirement, Dale Dotterer did some seasonal work for area farmers and then worked part-time at a custom woodworking business until he decided that he wanted to bring something unique to the area.

("Looking Back" from Kari Kamrath is sponsored each week by Duffy-Pils Memorial Home in Fairbury, Chenoa and Colfax)

139 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


DAVES LOGO larger.jpg
bottom of page