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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking back: 5-8-24

130 Years Ago

May 5, 1894

Rev. W. L. Riley has been engaged pastor of the Baptist Church for another year. The church voted for engagement without a dissenting voice.

Dr. D. D. Commsock and family start Monday overland with a team for Poplar Bluff, Mo., where the doctor will practice medicine.

W. W. Shedd has bought two lots in the southwest part of town. He will build a house on them and, with his family, will move to town.

The Demorest Medal contest at the opera house last Friday evening under the auspices of the W. C. T. U. was well attended. Besides the orations there was an excellent musical program consisting of two selections by the Fairbury Band, a duet with guitar accompaniment by Misses Bertha Patton and May Huntoon, a duet by the Misses Esther Sharpless and Anita Pence, a solo by Miss Gertie McDowell and a piano duet by Misses Bertha and Winnie Patton.


120 Years Ago

May 6, 1904

Wednesday evening Alderman W. R. Bane on behalf of Mrs. L. B. Dominy presented the following proposition to the city council: To the Hon. Mayor and council – I have purchased lots Nine and Ten, Block Nine of the original Town of Fairbury and I propose to you that I shall remove the buildings and construct on said premises at a cost of $10,000 to $12,000, a brick or stone structure available for a Public Library building, all completed and heated, and suitably furnished, ready for occupancy. I will also cause the Library to be suitably stocked with books of a value of $1,500 to $2,000, catalogued, ready for use. When completed, and by May 1, 1905, I will convey all said premises and Library, as equipped, to the City of Fairbury, or to a Board of Trustees, under the provision of the Statute governing such, for a free Public Library.

Mrs. L. B. Dominy, Mrs. G. Y. McDowell and Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Powell went to Paxton Wednesday to inspect the new public library at that place. They will also inspect the libraries at Champaign, Bloomington and other points before returning home with ideas for the new L. B. Dominy library.

The annual field and track meet of the Fairbury High School will be held at the Fairbury Fair grounds, Friday, May 20, 1904. The prospects are for the best meet ever held here. Mgr. Westervelt has received assurances from almost every school in Central Illinois that they will be here. The Fairbury team is the strongest for several years and expects to win the meet.


110 Years Ago

May 8, 1914

T. D. Karnes, city clerk for the past five years, read his resignation to the city council on Wednesday evening. Mr. Karnes said he regretted taking the step, but other business activities took too much of his time. L. W. Kring was appointed street commissioner. It was voted to remove the hitch racks on the east side of Fourth Street between Locust and Maple.

C. J. Claudon claims the record for auto sales in this territory. On Wednesday he received three new 1914 model four cylinder Studebaker cars completely equipped with electric lighting and starting outfits, selling for $1,050. He sold all three the same day, plus a second-hand car.

Included in a letter from "A Tax Payer" giving 16 reasons why Fairbury should not build a township high school building, were these: The young people of Fairbury and the proposed district will not attend the township high school, but will go away to college as before. School towns are proverbially dead towns. It must be apparent to everyone that the cost of $60,000 is an extravagant and wasteful method of completing the education of the children of Fairbury. Fairbury offers no employment to men of families, who might desire to move to a city to educate their children. The building of a school will arouse the antagonism of the farmers against the city to the detriment of our merchants. The arguments in favor of the building are based on vanity and not on practical business sense.


100 Years Ago

May 2, 1924

The second week of the Farmer's Market was a distinct success. This time it was held in the old Walton building where there was plenty of room to display the butter, eggs, cheese, dressed chicken, home-made bread, pies, cakes, cookies, rhubarb, etc., that the ladies brought in from the farm. The individual ladies acted as their own saleswomen and within two hours after the market was opened most everything was gone. The ladies from Avoca took advantage of the market and held a real bake sale that was quickly and effectively patronized.

Twenty-five years ago yesterday T. W. Burns assumed the position of city engineer at the waterworks and since that time has been constantly on the job, with the possible exception of a day or two when he was called out of town on business or other pressing matters. As for taking a vacation, that is one of the things not on his list. So thoroughly is Mr. Burns acquainted with the machinery and conditions with which he works and so faithfully has he performed his duties that the best possible results have been attained throughout his quarter of a century of service. The city is to be congratulated on having so efficient a man at the head of the waterworks system.

The overflowing of the gasoline container on a gasoline stove, and the ignition of the gasoline therefrom caused some damage at the A. H. Mundt home Sunday morning about 11 o'clock. Mr. Mundt had filled the gasoline stove and Mrs. Mundt lighted two of the burners preparatory to getting dinner. The heat caused the gasoline in the pipes to expand and the gasoline in the container ran over. This ignited and the flames spread. Mrs. Mundt attempted to take the container out, but the flames burned her hands and she dropped it in the center of the floor, causing the flames to spread. The damage by the fire and smoke will amount to several hundred dollars.


90 Years Ago

May 4, 1934

At a meeting of the Fairbury Township High School board held Wednesday evening, the board voted favorably upon the application of A. C. Watson, of Melvin, for the position of principal of the school. Mr. Watson is a young man, 33 years of age, and attained his B. S. degree at the University of Illinois in 1924 and will have earned his master's degree from the College of Education, University of Illinois, before beginning his duties here in the fall.

The members of the Livingston County Bankers Federation played a golf tournament on the local course yesterday afternoon, and in the evening, a business meeting and banquet were held at Wing. John Gerber, of the Farmers State Bank, engineered the golf tournament while W. W. Holloway, of the Fairbury State Bank, and former Wing banker, made the plans for the meeting and banquet at Wing. The ladies of the Wing Community Circle served the banquet.

Normal service out of the local post office was resumed on Tuesday, according to Postmaster Herbert W. Greene. There are now two deliveries of mail throughout the city as formerly. The stamp, general delivery and parcel post windows in the lobby of the post office are open from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. The money order window is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The postal savings window is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and the registry window will be opened daily from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Curtailed service at the post office has been effective since March 2, at which time Postmaster General Farley issued an order placing in effect certain reductions calculated to balance the budget of the post office department.


80 Years Ago

May 5, 1944

Able Seamen Ronnie Callaby and Eric Lawton arrived here Wednesday evening and are visiting at the homes of their uncles, Will and James Waters, Harry Waters Sr. and with the Callaby families. Both the young seamen are residents of England, Seaman Callaby residing at Norfolk and Seaman Lawton at Yorkshire. Both also are members of a crew of an English submarine now docked at a port in this country, so their trip to America was not exactly what could be called a pleasure jaunt. This is their first visit to America and they are most favorably impressed. The young men will spend about a week here.

Cars driven by Ray Estep and Eddie Rapp came together last evening at the intersection of Elm and Eighth Streets, but outside of a few bumps neither driver was hurt. Both cars were pretty much damaged. The Estep car, which was going east at the time, was turned over by the impact. The Rapp car  was going north, hitting the Estep car on the front door. Each car required a wrecker to take it away.

N. S. Wright of Colfax, is out his 1940 Dodge car. Wednesday night at about 12 o'clock he picked up a man in Bloomington to give him a ride to LeRoy. Arriving at LeRoy the man asked Mr. Wright to stop at a cafe on the edge of town. When the passenger returned to the car he told the driver that some people in the cafe wanted to see him. Upon entering the cafe Mr. Wright found that there were no people who wanted to see him. When he came out he found no car.


70 Years Ago

May 6, 1954

Bounties for 214 foxes and for 354 crows were authorized during April by the office of County Clerk Ira L. Boyer. Bounties for just 121 foxes had been paid during all of the six months prior to April. Eldon Bryant, of Pike Township, presented the largest single claim for a fox bounty during April. He collected $78 for 26 foxes. The bounty is $3 per fox and 10 cents for each crow.

Ben Franklin Variety Store formerly operated by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Bashford has been purchased by Mr. and Mrs. F. R. McGillen of Peoria, Illinois. They and their son, Robert, and family, plan to move to Fairbury in the near future. Mr. McGillen states, "that with 25 years of merchandising, he has chosen the town of Fairbury for it appeared to be a friendly and aggressive community."

The Glenn and Donna Grocery Store in Weston was broken into sometime near midnight Thursday, but little merchandise was reported missing. Entrance was made through a window. Flour and broken eggs were strewn along the floor. It was the second time in the last six months that this store has been entered. Two Pontiac youths admitted Saturday they had entered it. Their ages were 16 and 17. The pair was arrested after Pontiac city police received a tip concerning the disposal of the property believed taken in the break-ins.


60 Years Ago

May 7, 1964

The most beautiful and talented girl in Illinois and a weatherman with an "eye" for forecasting, will be among the highlights at the Miss Livingston County Pageant, sponsored by the Fairbury Jaycees, to be held in Fairbury on Saturday, May 16. "Mr. Roberts," well-known WCIA-TV weatherman, will be master of ceremonies at the Fairbury pageant, while Miss Judy Schlieper, winner of the coveted 1963 Miss Illinois title, will reign over the festivities. Miss Livingston County 1963, Dorothy Kohlman, ISU sophomore from Weston, will crown the winner at this year's pageant.

Oscar Hannie, for 21 years as chief of the Fairbury Fire Department, on Monday night retired after a 21-year term. Illness forced the decision, and Mayor Roy Taylor said that Hannie will serve as "Chief emeritus," but not be active in fire fighting except in an advisory capacity. Monday was Hannie's official day of retirement, and he went "out in a blaze of glory," so to speak, as the department was called to assist the Forrest firefighters in containing a blaze at Honegger Farms.

Fairbury's Ben Franklin store this weekend presents the results of a month-long face-lifting project as they hold a formal opening sale. The store, owned by Floyd and Bob McGillen, features the latest in self-service design. All new counters have been installed for eye-level shopping ease, and new speedy checkout counters have been added. The aisles have been re-tiled and all new lighting added as well as new entrances, to give the establishment the latest in decor and customer convenience.


50 Years Ago

May 9, 1974

Vandalism is at an all-time high at Marsh Park, according to Fairbury City officials. Wednesday night at their regular meeting at city hall, council members objected vigorously to the misuse of the park facilities by area children. "I'm not sure I would want my kids to even go down there," said alderman Sam Runyon of the park, as he and aldermen E. W. Flint and Everett Sutter told of various abuses. Sand was stuffed down into the water fountains, plugging them up until repairs could be made. They also complained of rock-throwing incidents involving children playing at the park. The latest incident, involved the breaking open of the doors on the restrooms and damage that was inflicted to the interior.

Mrs. Betty Callaby announced today that Miss Barbara Traub, 16, a junior at Fairbury-Cropsey High School has been selected to attend American Legion Auxiliary Girls' State, to be held at Jacksonville in June. Barbara is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Traub of Fairbury. She plans to attend college.

It will be a summer in Argentina for Robert Nussbaum II, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Nussbaum of Fairbury. Word was received by Mrs. Pearl Jeffries, Americans Abroad coordinator for the local chapter of American Field Service, this week that Bob will be spending June to August with Mr. and Mrs. Miguel Angel Anchea and their 18-year-old son Miguel in Formosa, in the northeast part of Argentina. Bob, who is a senior at FCHS, has a brother, Greg, age 16, and a sister, Deanna, age 11.

The Fairbury Blade, 101 W. Locust, is one of 17 local structures cited as historical monuments by the Illinois Historical Society. The home of Fairbury's weekly newspaper was built in 1887.


40 Years Ago

May 3, 1984

George Weber announced Wednesday morning that he is closing his grocery store, Weber's IGA. Weber told The Blade he anticipates it will take two to three weeks to sell out the inventory. He said he will start moving some of the equipment out of the store next week. Weber hopes to sell his building, adding that he has had some prospects. Weber bought the store on July 4, 1970 from Harv Baer, who opened it in the 1961-62 time frame.

Service Award recipients at Monday night's Association of Commerce annual meeting included John Gerber, National Bank of Fairbury, 54 years of banking in Fairbury; James Steidinger, on behalf of Steidinger Tires, opened in 1926; Bill Freed, for his two decades of promoting the Christmas Spirit for children of all ages; Bob Nussbaum, for 43 years at Nussbaum Plumbing and Heating, which opened in 1920; and John Ziegenhorn, on behalf of Ziegenhorn and Sons farm implement which opened in 1940. Not present were Herzog Distributors and Zimmerman's Hardware, both also awarded plaques. Jim Paternoster received the "For A Better Community" plaque for his many contributions during the past 15 years since he returned to Fairbury to join his father, Bud, at Paternoster Motors.

Army Pvt. Melissa Brown, daughter of Donald L. and Joyce Brown of Fairbury, has arrived for duty in Nuremberg, West Germany. Brown, an equipment records and parts specialist with the 2nd Support Command, was previously assigned in Bloomington.


30 Years Ago

May 4, 1994

A powerful thunderstorm with high winds, last week brought down a tree on a Colfax home, right in front of the eyes of its owner. Leonard Krieg says he was standing on his front enclosed porch, checking the intensity of the 8:45 p.m. storm on April 26, when he heard a loud cracking noise. He said he glanced up and saw what looked like a large tree limb falling in his direction. "I turned and ran," said Krieg. While midway through his living room, he heard the tree land above him on the roof. It was not until later he discovered it was not a tree branch, but the entire tree, which caused extensive damage to his roof. The storm also caused electrical problems in the area, as Cooksville and Colfax were on reduced power for about four hours.

The cafe setting at Prairie Central's After Prom was a popular "meeting" place for the nacho dippers in the crowd. Joe Beck provided musical entertainment, while various games and Sumo Wrestling kept the night hoppin'. Prizes purchased with donations received from over 250 businesses and individuals in the county included two color TVs, a VCR, a 15-speed mountain bike, a CD cassette stereo, a Polaroid camera, a Nikon 35mm camera, two cordless phones, a pair of binoculars, two graphing calculators, gift certificates and 20-dollar bills.

Anticipation and appreciation filled the faces of representatives of various area non-profit organizations last Thursday morning, as they assembled at the Homeshield Fabricated Products business offices in Chatsworth to receive charitable contributions from the company. Homeshield donated over $8,000 to nine area non-profit organizations.


20 Years Ago

May 5, 2004

Barb Taylor of Fairbury, chairperson of the blood program for the Fairbury Service Center of the American Red Cross of the Heartland, has received the 2004 Volunteer of the Year Award. She was presented with the award at the annual luncheon and awards celebration at the ITOO Hall in Peoria on April 1. Taylor was nominated for this honor by the Advisory Board of the Fairbury Service Center. She has been a Fairbury Red Cross volunteer for over 35 years, and has chaired the blood program in Fairbury for well over 20 years.

Deidre Gillette, granddaughter of Loren and Betty Gillette, and the great-granddaughter of Dorothy Ashman, all of Chatsworth, danced in the 2004 World Championship of Irish Dancing in Belfast, Northern Ireland on April 4. The North American Champion dancer, with trophies half her size, received the greatest birthday gift of all when she placed at the world championship. Deidre was one of a few Americans who made it to the final round and finished 26th overall.

The state fire marshall is investigating a fire at the Grand Ole Bar in Chatsworth, which started shortly after 8 a.m. on Monday. The interior and contents of the building sustained heavy smoke and water damage. The Chatsworth Fire Department received mutual aid from Cullom, Saunemin, Piper City and Strawn fire departments.


10 Years Ago

May 7, 2014

On April 12 Michael Brand was officially inducted into the U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame in Indianapolis, Ind. He was presented with the Diamond Life Award for his many years of service to the martial arts. Brand started training when he was very young and has been studying his entire life. He has earned several black belts including his 5th degree in Ryuki Do (Dragon Ki) and another in Tae Kwon Do. Brand has been an instructor for over 10 years and has had his own dojo for the last seven.

Prairie Central High School senior Maddie Bounds, daughter of Brian and Becky Bounds, has committed to play volleyball at College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, Ga. For the past four years, Bounds has played middle hitter for the Prairie Central High School Hawks under coach Kim Hasty. She has also played club volleyball for Illini Elite in Bloomington for the past three years. She will attend CCGA this fall where she will major in American Studies and Communication.

Marine Lance Corporal Dustin Parrish, son of Ron and Cindy Parrish and a 2011 graduate of Prairie Central High School, was promoted to his present rank on March 3, 2014. Parrish graduated from Marine Corps boot camp on July 19, 2013 and graduated from Marine Combat Training in Camp Pendleton, Calif., in late August. He reported to Cherry Point, N. C. after his graduation from Data Network Specialist training in 29 Psalms, Calif. on March 10, 2014.

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

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