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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 6-12-24

130 Years Ago

June 9, 1894

The former pupils of Smith Olney, whom he taught here a third of a century ago, met with him and celebrated the event. There were between forty and fifty of the old-time boys and girls in the old schoolroom on the north side soon after L. B. Dominy rang the old bell a few minutes after nine o'clock. A good many were tardy, just like they used to be. Mr. Olney called the roll from the old original schedule he used in the first term of 1860. From the school house, the company adjourned to the fair ground, where a picnic dinner was spread.

Harry Streeper and Jay Tyler, bicyclists, rode to Bloomington and back in one day recently, a distance of about 95 miles.

About twenty young people surprised Mr. and Mrs. Taylor Rudkin, some six miles southwest of town, on Tuesday evening. They spread a nice supper and had a good time. Most of the company made the trip on a hayrack.


120 Years Ago

June 10, 1904

The wind storm that passed over this vicinity last Friday evening did considerable damage to the eastern part of this county, especially near Charlotte where it riddled a number of buildings on the farm occupied by Albert J. Ommen, doing considerable damage to Mr. Ommen's farm machinery which was standing around the barn yard. A large double crib was completely put out of commission, the shingles being scattered everywhere and a portion of the roof being carried about 20 rods and dropped in a fair condition, only the rafters being cracked.

When Fairbury was originally laid out the surveys were made by what were supposed to be the best surveyors in the business at that time. The people purchased lots and builded their houses thereon. Since that time either the earth, the houses or the section stone from which the starting point was made must have shifted as the present day surveyors run their lines so that the property of the people who live along the streets is either in the road or the road is on their property. If everyone who is effected has to move, Bob Harris will be the busiest man on earth.

Fairbury has a new industry and is is a peculiar one for this locality. The factory is in the rear of Peter Henry's harness shop, and Asa Putnam is the sole proprietor. He is building a gasoline launch which he proposes to run on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers between Peoria and various other points. Judging from the timbers it will be as staunch a craft as ever danced upon the turbulent waters of the "Illini." It will be 38 feet long and of a corresponding width.


110 Years Ago

June 12, 1914

C. J. Claudon closed a deal this week with William Moss of Beaverville, trading his elevator and grain business for a half section of land near Martinton. Mr. Claudon intends building a large garage on the corner of Locust and Fourth Streets, across the street from the bank of A. B. Claudon.

The Baptists beat the Methodists 10-4 Tuesday evening in the Sunday School League. It was the first win for the Baptists and the first loss for the Methodists.

Cropsey — Fred Humphry has installed a gasoline light plant in his residence. Mrs. R. B. McCullough received a new player piano Monday, a present from her husband. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Pratt, of Fairbury, spent the day Tuesday with Mr. and Mrs. I. C. Pratt.


100 Years Ago

June 6, 1924

Dr. A. H. Thatcher had a close call Wednesday morning at the Second Street railroad crossing. He was in his automobile and was crossing the tracks. A box car partly shut off his view. The local freight was switching in the yards and just as he got almost onto the tracks the engine came along pushing two or three box cars ahead of it. The doctor was unable to stop the automobile, so he turned it down the tracks in the direction the train was going, and by so doing escaped what might have been a serious accident.

An auction sale in which all who wish may take part, is to be the feature of Saturday's Farmers' Market. Anyone who has any article they wish to sell at auction is requested to bring such article to the old Walton building Saturday afternoon. Col. W. L. Baily will be there to lend his services in auctioneering anything that is brought in. Last week's Market was well attended. Many wholesome and appetizing products were sold over the counters.

Of this year's graduating class, quite a number are planning to continue their studies, either at some college or university or the township high school. Those who have decided are Neale Hanley, course in dentistry at University of Iowa; James Smith, telegraph, Valparaiso, Ind.; Fanny Reinhart, teacher's training course, Normal University; Marjorie Love, Ruth Steidinger and Clara Sutter, post-graduate work at F.T.H.S.


90 Years Ago

June 8, 1934

A beautiful, dignified stage wedding with minister, flower girls, music and solos rendering "Oh Promise Me" and I Love You Truly," will be conducted on the stage of the Central Theatre Friday, June 15. Who will be Fairbury's June bride? Who will be the groom? It's all a secret because the names of the young couple will not be made public until after the wedding. Fairbury's leading merchants are generously providing the bride and groom with valuable presents.

County Superintendent of Highways Glenn D. Butzer, Supervisor Glenn Antrim, chairman of the road and bridge committee and Supervisor Walter Tavener of Avoca Township, met with Supervisor G. A. Sutton at his office in this city Monday afternoon to discuss the straightening out and graveling of the water tower road three miles north of town. The gentlemen, whose land would be affected by the straightening of the road, who had been invited to attend the meeting, were not present, and naturally not much was accomplished.

Dwight and Fairbury chapters of the Livingston County Sportsmen's Club have the distinction of having killed the most crows in the county up to June 1st, Fairbury having a slight edge and consequently the Dwight sportsmen challenged the Fairbury club in a crow-killing contest during the month of June, the losers to buy the winners the eats and "what goes with it" after July 1st, the exact date to be determined later. Reports of the rivalry are that neither club is going to be outdone. Any member of the Fairbury club who wants to swell Fairbury's number is urged to do so and can have some real sport, too. All crows must be killed in Livingston County.


80 Years Ago

June 9, 1944

The moth balls were gotten out of the blankets and other winter paraphernalia which our citizens had put away for the summer, Monday night, and they have been in pretty general use since that time, although it warmed up some yesterday. The drop in temperature Monday night came after ten days of hot weather with the thermometer, during the day, showing from 90 to 95 degrees. Then Tuesday morning the temperature was down to 46 and Wednesday morning local thermometers registered from 40 to 42 degrees. If the weather man will compromise a little on the high and low everyone will be satisfied.

Edwin Brady, aged 83, a farmer residing west of this city, is in the Fairbury Hospital recovering from a bad fall he received last Saturday evening about 8:30 o'clock. Mr. Brady was sitting on an iron guard rail in front of Clark's restaurant when the rail gave way and he fell to the basement, a distance of a little over nine feet. The basement floor is of cement. He had two ribs broken and also suffered a bad cut on the back of his head.

At the regular meeting of the city council on Wednesday evening Mayor Klopfenstein appointed Clair Westervelt city attorney and the appointment was unanimously approved by the council. Previous to the appointment a resolution had been adopted fixing the salary of the city attorney at $100 per year. The city has been without the services of a city attorney since Attorney Neale Hanley entered the service of his country.


70 Years Ago

June 10, 1954

Two parcels of land belonging to the estate of the late Ella Cumpston were sold Saturday at private sale by M. E. Tarpy, executor of the estate. The south tract of 68.13 acres, with the house formerly occupied by the late Jesse Cumpston and now occupied by Herman Kilgus, was purchased by Otis Munz for $500 per acre. The east 60 acres was sold to Herman Bahler for $376.50 per acre.

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Ward received word from their son Charles that he has been promoted from Corporal to Sergeant. Charles is stationed in Inchun, Korea, and has been overseas for 16 months. He expects to return to the states the last of July or the first of August.

Stranded copper wire, estimated at a weight of approximately 2,300 pounds, is reported by C. C. Benbow, manager, as having been stolen from Central Illinois Public Service Company. The theft occurred at Gilman, Benbow stated. Officials believe that the wire was pulled from cross arms of utility poles, rolled up and hauled away. The project may be regarded as something new in the field of thievery but the wire which has been stolen was not rolled up and left standing outside a warehouse. The wires are missing from poles.


60 Years Ago

June 11, 1964

Chet's D-X will hold a grand opening Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13, to celebrate the newly remodeled service station at the corner of 4th and Locust. Owner Chester McKinley will give away several gifts both days, including one car tire, one battery, one case of oil, as well as candy bars, soft drinks and cigars. McKinley opened the D-X station September 8, 1962, with his son-in-law, Robert Trost. He purchased Trost's interest October 1, 1963. He is the Roof Mower sales and service representative in Fairbury and also operates a 24-hour wrecker service.

A brilliant orange safety emblem can help make the highways safer for farmers driving slow-moving vehicles and also give auto drivers more warning time, reports Livingston County Farm Adviser Paul T. Wilson. The new emblem is used to help identify slow-moving vehicles – vehicles moving at less than 20 miles per hour. The emblem is an equilateral triangle with a point up. In daylight, the center is a florescent orange color. At night the border reflects red in the light of head lamps. Farmers can get information on the emblem from the county farm adviser's office.

Army Pvt. Charles E. Hardesty, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey F. Hardesty of Forrest, participated in Exercise Desert Strike, a joint Army and Air Force maneuver involving 100,000 troops, held in the tri-state area of California, Arizona and Nevada, around Needles, Calif., ending May 30. Hardesty, a gunner in Company C, 2nd Battalion, 46th Infantry, 1st Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas, entered the Army in August 1963. He completed basic training at Fort Knox, Ky. The 23-year-old soldier is a 1958 graduate of Forrest-Strawn-Wing High School, and was employed by the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railroad Company, Peoria, before entering the army.


50 Years Ago

June 13, 1974

One moment he was minding his own business, and the next he was a human dive-bomber, cut loose from any and all support, plummeting 60 feet earthward, headed for certain tragedy. Fortunately for Dale Rigsby, Fairbury, the dive-bomber in this saga, the Fates spared him, leaving him alive to tell his story. Dale, who was strapped into a painter's chair, was just being lowered into one of the bins by other workers when the cable supporting the chair snapped cleanly in two, sending him hurtling towards the bottom, still strapped tightly to the chair. Horrified witnesses, sensing certain death, or at the least, critical injuries, rushed to his aid, and SELCAS was called. Upon examination by a doctor, Dale was determined to have suffered a cracked vertebrae in the lower back, a broken foot and a sore jaw, the result of having the cable hit him in the face. Dale landed on a layer of corn, about four feet thick, which helped to break his fall.

Two Fairbury youths who were honor graduates from Fairbury-Cropsey High school in the class of 1967 will both receive graduate degrees from Harvard University in Boston, Mass. The duo are Bruce Huber and John Munz, who were the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, when they led the class of '67 here. Four years later they were both Bronze Tablet honor students when they graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Huber's degree is from Harvard's Graduate School of Business Administration. Munz will get his degree from Harvard's College of Law.

Heavy rains in the McDowell area last Thursday turned one field into a vast lake, almost big enough to be used as a recreational area. Buffeted by a stiff wind last Friday morning, the lake found itself complete with waves.


40 Years Ago

June 7, 1984

Regional Superintendent of Schools Wayne Blunier has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed consolidation of the Chatsworth, Forrest-Strawn-Wing and Fairbury-Cropsey school districts for Friday, June 22. A petition containing over 500 signatures from residents of the three present districts was filed with Blunier's office on Monday. Only 200 signatures were needed for a valid petition. 

Significant improvement in Fairbury Hospital's financial position was pointed out to the Board of Directors at its regular May meeting. Scott Hart, CPA, of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., complimented the hospital management for effecting the changes necessary to stop the losses of the past four years. Operating losses for 1983 were reduced to $119,055. This represented a $180,542 improvement over the 1982 losses of $299,597.

John Wiles, chief of detectives at the Livingston County Sheriff's Department, will be the guest speaker tonight at a Neighborhood Watch meeting. The Fairbury Lions Club is sponsoring the event. Lions Club members and Fairbury Jaycees distributed information sheets door to door last week explaining the program. If implemented, the program would cover the City of Fairbury and the townships of Indian Grove, Avoca, Eppards Point and Belle Prairie.


30 Years Ago

June 8, 1994

Jennifer Salrin was named valedictorian of the Prairie Central High School class with her twin sister, Melissa Salrin taking the salutatorian honors. Each gave speeches at the commencement program Friday night in Fairbury in front of a gymnasium full of spectators.

Beaulah Fitzgerald of Fairbury will observe her 90th birthday on June 12. She was born June 12, 1904 at Piper City, the middle of three children of A. W. and Sarah Jane Robinson Morris. She married Marshall Fitzgerald on April 17, 1924. He died Oct. 26, 1992. She is the mother of Lois Simpson, Fairbury, and E. Ray of Enterprise, AL. She has three grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and three great-great-granddaughters.

Baseball award winners for the 1994 season went to, Jason Whitfill, first team All-Conference Designated Hitter; Eli Rigsby, first team All-Conference First Baseman; Jim Marzula, first team All-Conference pitcher and Most Valuable Player; Lander Laraudogoitia, Most Improved Player; Sean Quigley, first team All-Conference left field and highest batting average; and Jeff Wills, first team All-Conference pitcher.


20 Years Ago

June 9, 2004

Citizens Bank of Chatsworth took top honors at this year's Chatsworth Heritage Days parade on Saturday. "Big Top Bank" was the theme for the float. Monetary rewards received by the bank were returned to the Heritage Days committee to be used for future celebrations.

The Livingston County Farm Bureau Young Farmers/Leaders' Committee adopted Liz Dyrst's fourth grade classroom at Pilsen Academy of Chicago at the beginning of the 2003-04 school year. The purpose of the program was to bring agriculture into the urban classroom and teach children where their food originates. On May 25, approximately 100 fourth grade students, parents and teachers arrived in Forrest to embark on an agricultural learning experience. The students were greeted by farmers at the park in Forrest and treated to milk and cookies. One bus departed for the Paul and Matt Kilgus dairy farm near Fairbury while another bus went to the Stan and Kent Blunier hog farm near Forrest. Following lunch back at the park the students switched farms. Members who participated in the farm visit were Jason Bunting, chairman; Darin Weber, Pontiac; Kent Blunier, Forrest; Matt Kilgus, Fairbury; Dustin Wright, Farm Credit Farm Services; and Mark Austin, Emington.

Congratulations to the PCJH Band for their performance at the Music in the Parks Festival on Saturday, May 29, in Evanston. Both the Jazz and Concert bands received a superior rating which was the highest rating possible. In addition, the Concert Band was named top Concert Band of the festival and the Jazz Band received the highest score of any performing ensemble at the festival. Tim Aberle, eighth grade trombone player, was given an Outstanding Soloist award for his performance in Jazz Band.


10 Years Ago

June 11, 2014

Memories of Westview Elementary School in Fairbury were shared during a 50th anniversary open house for the school on Saturday,  May 31. All students, parents, former students and community members were invited to attend the celebration to relive memories. Being inside the school brought back memories for the retired teachers in attendance, like Cathryn Frisby. “I guess it's making me a little sad. It was a good experience and I loved every minute of it,” recalled Frisby. “I was sorry to quit teaching, but life wears out.” Open house attendees were treated to cake and punch from 10 a.m. to noon.

Harold and Mary Lu Haab of Forrest will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary and Harold's 90th birthday with a family dinner. Haab and the former Mary Lu McFarland were married June 12, 1949. Their attendants were Betty McFarland and Wilbur Haab. They are the parents of Dr. Roger (Kathleen) Haab, Sycamore; and David (Cathie) Haab of Hudson. They also have four granddaughters and nine great-grandchildren. He will be 90 on June 21 and is a retired farmer and carpenter. She was a dental assistant for Dr. Lloyd Shaddle and later worked at Fairbury Hospital, retiring in 1992.

The PC boys won two games on Saturday, May 17, putting them in the semifinals of the Bloomington Renegade Red Spring Classic. On Sunday, May 18, they beat Renegade Blue 11-1, landing them in the championship game against the Mahomet Diamond Dogs. PC won the championship 6-3. Team members are Patrick McGreal, Nolan Bressi, Parker Mashburn, Reese Lewallen, Jadyn Lewallen, Nathan Reed, Payton Dunahee, Rylie Vaughan, Rafael Macias, Daniel Ortega, Landon Whitfill, Cooper Palmore, Jacob Davis and Trey Bazzell. Coaches are Chuck Vaughan, Mike Lewallen, Darin Bazzell and Sean Palmore.

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

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