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Yesteryear: January in Oswego-area history

Published: Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 3:11 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 3:12 p.m. CDT
(Photo provided by the Little White School Museum)
Oswego School District 308 officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Boulder Hill Elementary School in Boulder Hill to mark the re-opening of the school after emergency asbestos abatement work was completed. The school board closed the school two months earlier after tests found airborne asbestos in the building. Students at the school were bused to other district schools during the closure. Among those participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony were (from left) Richard Krase, regional school superintendent; Lou Golden, school board member; Robert Wilson, school board president; Ruth Badal, Boulder Hill School principal; Roger Sanders, assistant school district superintendent; Michael Becker, school board member; and Gloria Mathewson, school board member.

January 1997

Oswego Village Board members were upset to receive notice from Jones Intercable that the firm would increase the monthly cost to its local customers for ‘tier one’ cable service, from $23.99 to $25.49. Village President Budd Bieber noted that Jones’ exclusive franchise agreement to provide cable television service to village residents would expire in two years. “If anyone out there wants to start a cable television service, come see us,” Bieber said.

The Montgomery Police Department replaced its police dog, “Brando,” with a new dog, “Zanto.” Village board member William Keck told his board colleagues that Brando had failed to perform up to police expectations.

January 1992

The Montgomery Police Commission approved the hiring of a 12th officer for the village department. The commission set the officer’s hourly salary at $12.04.

Oswego School Board members presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the reopening of Boulder Hill Elementary School. During an emergency meeting two months earlier, the board had voted to temporarily close the school to allow contractors to remove all asbestos materials from the building. The board acted after learning that tests had determined the level of airborne asbestos in the school had exceeded federal standards.

Area officials voiced support for a plan to construct the new Rush-Copley Medical Center on a 95-acre parcel along U.S. Route 34 in Aurora, just north of the Kane-Kendall county line. A year earlier, most of the same area officials had voiced opposition to a plan to construct the hospital closer to the city’s Fox Valley Mall.

Contractors for the Illinois Department of Transportation put up temporary traffic signals at the intersection of U.S. Route 30 and Wolf’s Crossing Road, east of Oswego. The project pleased local officials and several residents who had repeatedly called on the agency to put up the signals as a safety measure. IDOT acted after a Plano kindergarten teacher died in an accident at the intersection four months earlier.

Montgomery issued 63 permits for new single-family homes in 1991, the most of any municipality in Kendall County for the year. The second most active new housing market was Oswego with 61 permits issued, according to a report in the Ledger-Sentinel.

January 1987

Dennis Hastert, a 1960 Oswego High School graduate, was sworn in as a freshman member of the 100th U.S. Congress in ceremonies held on Capitol Hill.

The Oswego School District’s curriculum and financial management received accolades from an Illinois State Board of Education evaluation team in a report presented to the school board. However, in the same report, the state officials faulted the district for a lack of classroom and program space, failure to comply with federally mandated physical education program requirements and non-compliance with some school building safety standards.

Construction had started on the first buildings in Oswego’s new Kendall Point Business Center off U.S. Route 34, just south of U.S. Route 30.

The village of Oswego issued 16 building permits for new single family homes in the village in 1986, up from the three permits issued in 1985, the Ledger-Sentinel reported.

January 1981

A proposal to develop the 211-acre Fox Hollow subdivision off U.S. Route 34 (now the site of the Mill Race Creek subdivision) in Oswego was the topic of an ongoing community controversy. Many village residents were concerned that the project would double the village’s population and objected to plans to construct apartments and a shopping center as part of the development. A group of residents successfully petitioned to place an advisory referendum on the proposal on the March party primary ballot. But the residents were outraged when the village board announced plans to cast a final ballot on the project during a meeting Feb. 1, six weeks before the referendum. At the time of the controversy, the village’s population was 3,900, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

January 1977

Members of the Boulder Hill Civic Association announced plans to organize a special committee to study the possible annexation of the unincorporated subdivision to the village of Oswego. Association members noted that a survey of Hill residents had found the majority of those responding in favor of annexation to Oswego, instead of Montgomery or incorporation. Oswego Village President Harry Fuller expressed a willingness to study the possible annexation of Boulder Hill by the village. Referring to Boulder Hill residents, Fuller said, “The longer they wait to make a decision, the harder it will be to work it out.”

January 1972

During their monthly meeting, the Oswegoland Park District Board of Commissioners learned that attendance for the two-year-old Civic Center pool was 51,200 for the 1971 season.

Schaefer’s Greenhouse in Montgomery and The Jacqueline Shop in Oswego jointly hosted a spring and summer bridal fashion show Jan. 30, according to an advertisement in the Ledger.

January 1967

The Oswego-Montgomery area was blanketed by a record snowfall estimated at 23 inches. “After a mild winter with very little snow, and especially after last Tuesday’s record temperatures in the 60s, the blizzard of Thursday and Friday really was a shock,” the Oswego Ledger reported.

Among the items on sale at Carr’s Department store in downtown Oswego were naped thermal blankets priced at two for $9.50 and Ideal Birdseye diapers priced at $1.69 for a dozen.

The Oswego Village Board approved an advisory recommendation in support of plans for the final unit of the Marina Terrace subdivision off Ill. Route 31 in unincorporated Oswego Township. The board’s vote was forwarded for consideration to Kendall County officials.

January 1962

The Ledger editorialized, “Too often the commendable things people do are glossed over. We think the Oswego Village Board deserves a pat on the back for the excellent job of snow removal this winter. Not only did they engineer the job, but a number of them spent a good many hours working themselves.”

The Oswego Community School Planning Committee held one of its periodic meetings to discuss problems facing the local school system. The Ledger reported that one of the immediate problems was to provide school rooms for a rapidly growing student population. The student population had more than doubled between 1956 and 1961.

The April primary election took shape with three Republicans filing petitions as candidates for Kendall County Sheriff while one Democrat also filed to run for sheriff. In a related matter, the sheriff’s department reported that it answered 572 complaints in 1961, including 29 burglaries, 194 auto accidents and two sex offense cases.

January 1957

“Operation Takedown” was the name of the volunteer community effort to take down Oswego’s ornamental Christmas lights following the holiday season, the Ledger reported. Participating in the effort were members of the Oswego Lions Club, American Legion Post 675 and the Businessmen’s Association.

The village of Oswego issued a total of 36 building permits in 1956 for projects worth a combined $207,625, the Ledger reported. Of the 36 permits issued, 16 went for new homes.

Milton “Les” Penn, chairman of the Oswego Village Board’s law and order committee, issued a notice that dog owners who let their pets roam freely in the village would be subject to $10 fines plus court costs. Penn issued the notice after three children were bitten by dogs in separate incidents over a two-week period in the village.

January 1952

The Record reported the end of an era in local transportation: “CB&Q [passenger] trains No. 133 and 134, operating between Aurora and Streator, will make a final trip on Saturday, Feb. 2, 1952. The Burlington Transportation Co. will provide service for the towns served by trains 133 and 134. That is, inbound and outbound shipments of express, baggage, and cream will continue from the Burlington Depot as in the past, but will be handled by motor truck instead of rail.” The trains had provided passenger rail service for Oswego.

January 1947

A heavy snow fell on the Oswego-Montgomery area shortly after New Year’s Day 1947. The Kendall County Record’s Oswego correspondent described the snow as “unusually heavy” and reported that traffic was blocked on local streets. The correspondent also reported that a fire at the old Major Davis farm (off Grove Road south of Oswego) on New Year’s Eve was seen for miles around.

January 1942

A headline in the Record read: “Here is how Germany Might Bomb our Mid-West Cities.” According to accompanying article, German bombers could be resupplied at Spitsbergen, Norway; Ellesmere Island; and at Hudson Bay, Canada, for their trek from the west coast of Norway. “We are vulnerable to air attacks coming over the North Pole,” the paper warned.

“Citizens!” a front page ad read in the Record. “Our country having been forced into a war and now being subject to attack from within as well as from without, it is imperative for every loyal citizen to stand ready to render assistance in case of an emergency. In order to utilize your efforts to the best possible advantage, it is necessary that our Local Defense Councils have full information as to what work each of you is able and willing to do, if necessary. Accordingly, Thursday, Feb. 5, has been designed by the Kendall County Executive Board as Registration Day. Each community will have a committee in attendance at one of the places listed below for the purpose of registering everyone possible. Remember Pearl Harbor! Let it not happen here!”

January 1927

The Record contained this editorial comment: “Finland votes out prohibition and there are some, undoubtedly, who would like to see the United States tag after her in the matter. Most of the people, however, would prefer to have our country continue truly American on this as well as other points.”

The Record’s Oswego correspondent reported, “A 1927 model Chrysler sedan fully equipped and the gasoline tank partly filled with gasoline was abandoned in front of Scott Cutter’s pharmacy in Oswego last Tuesday, Dec. 29. The owner has not yet put in his appearance nor been located.”

January 1922

Another editorial comment from the Record: “Sheriff L.L. Urich of Kane County is to be complimented on the effort he is making to close the road houses of Kane County. The eradication of slot machines, punch boards, and illicit liquor will work a real achievement for Kane County. The county has been looked upon as the loosest county in the state outside of Cook for a number of years. It has been the ‘playground’ for Chicago with plenty of road houses and lots of freedom.”

January 1912

The Record’s Oswego correspondent reported on Jan. 10, 1912, that Rudolph Knapp sold his meat market to Eugene Moyer. Then just a week later, Moyer sold the meat market to A. O. Rebel and A. Nengebauer. The meat market was located at 67 Main Street.

January 1907

On Jan 9, the Record reported that “The scarlet fever has broken out in the German settlement [on Wolf’s Crossing Road]. Four children of the Fred Bower family were reported to be down with it. Some members of the John H. Hafenrichter family are also affected, and both the houses are quarantined. Emma, a daughter of the latter family, had gone to Colorado for her health but died there.”

January 1902

“New Year’s Day here passed quietly; business was suspended, all but what was considered actually necessary for the well-being of the community,” the Record reported from Oswego on Jan. 8, 1902. “Everybody was after a good dinner, either at home or elsewhere. There were gatherings of relatives and friends at the houses of Frank and Colvin Pearce—and numerous others not heard of.”

January 1897

The Oswego Woodmen and the Knights of Pythias were reportedly sharing a meeting room over Scott Cutter’s drug store in downtown Oswego. The drug store was located at 68 Main Street.

January 1892

“Esch Brothers & Rabe commenced the filling of their ice houses from off the mill bond,” the Record reported from Oswego in January 1892. “The creamery ice house was filled partly from there and partly from the stone quarry. Charles Roberts and some other private parties filled their ice houses from the Hopkins’ quarry–the ice from the quarries is very clean and nice.”

January 1882

“Street lamps; yes, indeed, Oswego has street lamps,” the Record’s correspondent reported on Jan. 12. “This radical step toward greatness was taken Saturday afternoon when posts and lamps were erected on the corners at Henry Helle’s and Frank Van Doozer’s, and that foggy night the people of Oswego, for the first time, enjoyed the pleasure of street lights. They are lamps burning naphtha and were put up for trial.”

On Jan. 19, the Record’s correspondent reported that Peter Cooney and his wife and youngest daughter “were found in a precarious situation and unconscious.” The family’s stove had been left open and gas escaped into the room. “The windows were thrown open. Doc Van Doozer was sent for in a hurry, and in a day or two all were okay again.”

Scandal at the Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville was reported on Jan. 26. Reported the Record: “Last Thursday, the grand jury petitioned Judge Kellum to have their foreman resign because he was too drunk to attend to business.”

January 1867

“For the first time this winter, we have good sleighing and anything that will slide is on the road,” the Record’s Oswego correspondent reported on Jan. 17, 1867.

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