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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 5-31-23




130 Years Ago

May 27, 1893

C. C. McDonald has just completed a 400-light incandescent dynamo at his shops. The machine is a beauty and built entirely by himself.

People who expect to visit the world's fair and want to see it complete are advised to wait for several weeks. The grounds are in a state of chaos and many of the buildings are not yet completed.

John Mammen is now using the union label on his cigars.

The city council has had the roof of the pavilion in the city park repaired.

A great many farmers have finished their corn planting and are now cultivating.

Cropsey — Caler & Culver have their slaughter house completed.


120 Years Ago

May 29, 1903

The Board of Education has received word that Prof. Baker who was to take charge of the city schools during the ensuing year cannot come as was expected. His resignation will make it necessary to employ another superintendent. Prof. G. E. Marker of Urbana, Ill. has been employed as superintendent of the city schools. Prof. Marker is highly spoken of as an educator and carries with him years of experience in his profession.

Chenoa — The new pipe organ for the Methodist Church at Chenoa reached here Sunday morning and work of installing it was commenced Monday morning. The pipe organ concert to be given on Friday night promises to be one of the finest entertainment ever given in Chenoa and no doubt will draw a large crowd.

Strawn — W. L. Quinn and wife start from here Saturday on their trip to Ireland. They sail June 3, from New York on the Oceanic, the pride of the White Star line. Their ocean voyage ends at Queenstown, from which they will go to points in Scotland and Ireland. They will be gone about three months, and we wish them a pleasant voyage.


110 Years Ago

May 30, 1913

Miss Lillie Shepherd and Lester Pearson, both well known young people of Fairbury, surprised their friends last Saturday by stealing off quietly and getting married. They went to Bloomington, where the marriage license was secured, and then went to Chenoa, where they were married at the Methodist parsonage by Rev. Williams.

The Travis 80-acre farm sold at master's sale last Saturday, was purchased by J. T. Cox of this city for $205 per acre.

Will Payne left Sunday for Rockfalls, near Sterling, and is employed in a drug store at that place. Should he like the place and position, Mr. and Mrs. Payne will move there.

Perry Keck was taken suddenly ill Tuesday morning with appendicitis, and that evening submitted to an operation at the Fairbury Hospital.


100 Years Ago

May 25, 1923

Next Sunday marks the twenty-seventh anniversary of Rev. C. S. Davies as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of this city, and in honor of that event, special services will be held during the day.

Brownsville school, taught by Mrs. O. L. Veatch, closed Tuesday with a picnic at Marsh Park, which was enjoyed not only by the pupils but by their parents also. Five pupils won places on the honor roll by being perfect in attendance and punctuality for the year. They are Harold Funkhouser, Bernice Funkhouser, May Funkhouser, Louis Kaisner and Louis Troehler. Mrs. Veatch has been re-employed as teacher for the coming year.

Strawn — The L. N. Bayne Lumber Yard at Strawn was burned to the ground on Monday night. Two cars of building material for the new consolidated school at Strawn, standing on the sidetrack nearby, were a total loss also. When the flames were discovered at 6:30 o'clock the whole yard seemed on fire. The origin of the fire is unknown.


90 Years Ago

June 2, 1933

Some time during last Friday night someone stole Chris Obergfel's Ford car from his garage. It was probably local joyriders as it was found the next morning near Marsh Park.

A couple of weeks ago a Chicago paper carried an article relative to municipal improvements that were to be made in cities and towns throughout the state. According to the article, the governor's committee had approved a waterworks project in Fairbury that would total $30,000. Mayor Franzen, when asked about the $30,000 improvement here, said the article in the Chicago paper was the first he had heard about it, and the members of the city council are also mystified as to how anything of the kind found its way into the newspapers.

Lois Elliott, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Elliott, succeeded in winning highest honors in her class in the Cropsey Community High School at Cropsey and was awarded a free scholarship in her choice of a stenographic, bookkeeping or telegraph course at the Chillicothe Business College at Chillicothe, Mo.


80 Years Ago

May 28, 1943

W. H. Slaight sold his 1912 model Cadillac car Saturday to B. J. Pollard of Detroit, Mich., a buyer of early models of any manufacture. Having been in Mr. Slaight's possession for 31 years, it was almost like parting with an old friend. He had purchased it at Waterloo, Ia., when he was living in Iowa, and Mr. Slaight believes it had its advantages to winning his wife.

Carl Christie, night watchman of the Colfax business district, is a patient at St. Joseph's Hospital in Bloomington. At about 3 a.m. Monday he got out of his car on Main street and his gun fell out onto the pavement. It discharged, the bullet traveling through his thigh and entering his abdomen. It lodged in his stomach. Mr. Christie was found by some youths and taken by ambulance to the hospital at Bloomington and underwent an operation Monday night. His condition is serious.

Miss Leona Dean, teacher in the Fairbury schools during the 1942-43 term, and who successfully passed the examinations for enlistment in the Woman's Army Auxiliary Corps several months ago, has been assigned to Fort Devans, Mass., for the basic training. She received the call Tuesday and left on Wednesday for Fort Devans.


70 Years Ago

May 28, 1953

A new fund raising drive for the Fairbury Hospital, to begin June 1, will determine whether the Fairbury Hospital will be completed. Bills due now total more than the money on hand. The building committee and the hospital board agreed before the final section was started that construction would continue until available funds are used. According to present estimates, $38,000 to $40,000 will be needed to complete the hospital.

Larry Bean and Leonard Rabe have been selected to represent John Joda Post #54 at Boys' State, according to Everett Sutter, Legion Commander. The boys, both seniors next year at Fairbury High school, will attend the week-long session which begins June 21 at the State Fairgrounds at Springfield.

A sign of welcome to Fairbury will be placed at each edge of town on Route 24, according to action taken at the Chamber of Commerce board of directors meeting Monday night. Pres. Si L. Moser appointed Warren Beckley, Ira Kilgus and Roy Melvin to a committee to act on the matter.


60 Years Ago

May 30, 1963

Fairbury Hospital has filed a complaint in circuit court seeking a total of $1,390.70 from Pontiac Township for payment of hospital bills. The bills were accumulated during the years 1961 and 1962 on hospitalization and treatment of a Pontiac woman and two of her children. It is alleged in the complaint that hospital authorities were informed on admission at the hospital that the family would not be able to pay for the hospital care.

Weather conditions have slowed progress on the building of Fairbury Industries, Inc., this week, to the point where the projected partial occupancy has now been set back to "at least mid-June" according to Robert Wymer, general manager. Building Superintendent John Grdinich had expected to have the roof completed before now, but intermittent showers which continued under murky skies on Monday, Tuesday and early Wednesday have limited progress. Ironworkers applying the huge roofing panels have "been up and down" as the rains came and went.

The Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company has announced that J. C. Ebach, its representative in Fairbury, has qualified for membership in the Leader's Round Table of that firm, on the basis of production and service to policyholders and the firm. He will attend the annual conference of the Round Table to hear national authorities discuss estate conservation and business risks.


50 Years Ago

May 31, 1973

Opening ceremonies for the Fairbury Community Swimming Pool are scheduled for Sunday, June 3 at 2:30 p.m. when more than 80 pre-school and kindergarten beauties will parade in the annual beauty pageant. The youngsters are each sponsored by a Fairbury business firm and will wear a ribbon denoting their sponsor. Also adding beauty will be the Fairbury Jaycees' Miss Tri-County Susan Mitzkat of Bloomington, who will be on hand to help manage the 80 juvenile aspirants for her crown a decade or more in the future.

Fairbury and Forrest-Strawn-Wing firemen sent a total of six trucks to a blaze Tuesday night in the trailer home of Joe Kallas, located on the Ed Gahm farm, three miles east and three miles north of Fairbury. Despite their effort, the trailer was completely destroyed after the furnace reportedly exploded. The alarm was sounded at 10:10, and firemen were on the scene until after 11. At midnight, the FSW Department was recalled when the blaze again broke out in the debris. Kallas, a guard at the Illinois State Prison in Pontiac, his wife and small son escaped without injury but lost all of their possessions.

Miss Betty Nussbaum, a native of Fairbury, has received an assignment to serve as Vice Consul at the United States Embassy in London, England. She has been serving as a Vice Consul in Toronto, Canada. She will leave for London about June 22. Betty has been here three weeks visiting her mother, Mrs. Marguerite Nussbaum, and her brother, the Robert Nussbaum family.


40 Years Ago

May 26, 1983

Carolyn Jo Yoder, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gene Yoder, will address the Fairbury-Cropsey commencement exercises Friday night as Valedictorian of the Class of 1983. Linda Voigt, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Earl H. Voigt, will give the salutatorian address Friday evening. FCHS officials reported Wednesday that Carolyn tops the senior class academically with a grade point of 96.47 on a scale of 100. Linda's grade point is 95.76.

The last day of school this year will be just the beginning for Dorothy Brucker. After 25 years of teaching elementary school, Mrs. Brucker will begin her retirement after a "delightful year," she said, "with a very, very fine class." Mrs. Brucker began her teaching career in a country school house in Arrowsmith. She taught there for two years, in Cropsey for two years, and then took some time out to raise her three sons. She started teaching at Westview when the Cropsey school closed.

Fifteen area men returned early Sunday morning from their annual 10-day trip to open the Boy Scout camp at Cache Lake on the Minnesota-Canada border. Traditional leader of the group is J. N. Bach of Forrest. Ten men from Fairbury composed the bulk of the workers who for some reason took their fishing equipment along. They were Royce Carter, Warren Beckley, Dean Moser, Ken Metz, Vern Stephens, Lyle Honegger, Mike Addis, Dennis Weber, Ross Mowery and Don Surber. Rounding out the group were Don Ringler of Strawn, Orville Yordy of Flanagan, Robert Diemer of Pontiac and Lyle Cagley of Bloomington.


30 Years Ago

May 27, 1993

Secretary of State George Ryan was in Fairbury Tuesday morning, first speaking to a group of librarians and students at Prairie Central High School and then to help dedicate the new McDonald's fast food restaurant on the west edge of town. Ryan presented the local McDonald's owner Stan "Stash" Drassler with a flag from Springfield. Accompanying Ryan was State Representative Dan Rutherford. Also present were Fairbury Mayor Lynn Dameron, Fairbury Association of Commerce President Randall Morgan and other government dignitaries.

Linda Spray of Fairbury graduated with a Registered Nursing degree from Parkland College on May 21. A pinning ceremony was also held. She will be employed by St. James Hospital, Pontiac, assigned to the Skilled Care Unit. She says her future plans involve working in the obstetrics section of the hospital. She and husband Bill are the parents of four children, Shannon, 16 and Kristi, 12, at home, and Julie and Richard Thompson of North Carolina.

The Forrest Public Library will host Channel 3's Judy Fraser Saturday, June 12, with both children and adult programs. She will present a program to children aged preschool through sixth grade from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. in the library basement. At 11:45 a.m., there will be an adult luncheon, followed by the guest speaker's talk. The adult program will be held in the Forrest United Methodist Church basement. The programs are free to the public and everyone is invited to attend.


20 Years Ago

May 28, 2003

Lexi Surber, daughter of David and Judy Surber of Fairbury, has been selected to the Illinois McDonald's/Mitsubishi All-Star Softball team which will play this June in Havana, Cuba. Lexi, a senior at Prairie Central High School, will join 14 other players and two coaches from throughout Illinois, as they travel to Havana, Cuba, to participate in the Friendship games. Head coach for the team will be another familiar face – Darren Ropp, Lexi's former softball coach. Ropp retired from coaching softball at Prairie Central two years ago. These games are an outgrowth of former Governor George H. Ryan's 1999 Humanitarian trip to Cuba. The purpose of the trip is to build a bridge of friendship between the citizens of Cuba and the citizens of Illinois.

The Cropsey Fire Department held a special "Open House" recently to show residents the new fire truck. Fire Chief Richard Brucker said that the truck is a 2003 International from AEC of Springfield. Christine Harmet created the door emblem sticker which features Alliance Grain bins, state of Illinois, County of McLean, the Fire Motif and U. S. and Illinois Flags. This is Cropsey's first new truck since 1961. A special plaque was presented to Don Hall who was the founder of the Cropsey Fire Department and also the first Fire Chief. Don stated that a group of volunteers began in 1959 and that the first fire-fighting equipment was a two-wheeled trailer with eight buckets filled with chemicals.


10 Years Ago

May 29, 2013

Fourteen ladies recently gathered in Willa Virkler's summer kitchen for lunch and reminiscing about their experiences in the Country Domestic Science Club and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the group. Originally, CDSC was a group of farm wives who shared recipes, ideas and gave programs on such things as “What is an Adequate Wardrobe for Farm Women” and Meat Substitutes,” and shared in debates such as “Should Egg and Cream Money Go For Groceries?” and “Should All Clothes Be Ironed?” Two members who have attended the club the longest are Dorothy and Alice Householder who joined together in 1954. Health issues have forced both to become inactive. LaVerne Bittner joined in 1957 and holds the honor of being the active member of longest standing.

Vaulting much like a seasoned veteran, freshman Kassadee Ifft went from her 8th place seed to a third place medal at the Class AA Track and Field Meet held at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston May 16-18. Ifft tied her second best performance of the season at 11'6” to take third. She was the only non-senior in the top three finishers at state with six of the nine medalists being seniors. The 5'2” sprinter/vaulter cleared 12'0” earlier in the season at Olympia and nearly cleared the same height on all three attempts at state.


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



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