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Columns

Yesteryear: April in Oswego-area history

The Oswego railroad depot as it appeared in about 1910. The depot stood along the east side of the train tracks just south of Jackson Street at Adams Street in the village's downtown until the early 1970s when its owner, the Burlington Northern railroad, had it demolished.
The Oswego railroad depot as it appeared in about 1910. The depot stood along the east side of the train tracks just south of Jackson Street at Adams Street in the village's downtown until the early 1970s when its owner, the Burlington Northern railroad, had it demolished.

April 2002

An estimated 35 area residents crowded into an Oswegoland Park District Board meeting to express their opposition to the proposed installation of a pedestrian bridge spanning the Fox River in Oswego. The park district’s plans called for the bridge to link Violet Patch Park off Ill. Route 25 and Marina Park. During the meeting, the residents expressed fears that installation of the bridge would disturb migrating bald eagles that were roosting in a dead cottonwood tree located along the river near Marina Park.

April 1997

Oswego School District voters rejected two referendums, one to finance the construction of an addition to Oswego High School and a new elementary school, and another for an increase in the district’s education fund tax rate. School superintendent Dr. Karl Plank said he and other school officials would have to work to build a “new consensus” of support in the community for the school district.

The Aurora City Council approved the construction of several new subdivisions within the boundaries of the Oswego School District. A Ledger-Sentinel study confirmed that there were more new home lots slated for development in the Aurora section of the school district (1,693) than in Oswego or Montgomery. The prospect of an enrollment surge from the school district’s Aurora area was a concern for some Oswego officials.

April 1992

After five months of labor unrest and demonstrations, the picket lines came down at Caterpillar’s plant near Montgomery. The pickets were removed after both union and company officials agreed to resume stalled talks on a new, basic agreement.

The Montgomery Village Board voted 5-1 to award a contract to Speedway Inc. of Geneva to provide municipal waste hauling service in the village. The contract was unique because it contained a provision allowing for the start-up of a voluntary recycling program, the first offered in the village and Kendall County.

Oswego Village Administrator Mary Distler predicted a record year for new home construction in the village. Distler said she expected the village could issue as many as 120 permits for new single and multi-family homes during 1992, far surpassing the previous record of 69 permits set in 1991.

April 1987

The village of Montgomery became part of the Oswego Public Library District when voters in the village and the library district approved separate referendums.

By a wide margin, Oswego Fire Protection District voters approved a referendum to finance the operation of a full-time paramedic service.

April 1982

Residents of the sprawling, unincorporated Boulder Hill subdivision had apparently lost interest in the Boulder Hill Civic Association. The Ledger-Sentinel reported that just 18 Boulder Hill residents cast ballots in the association’s election of neighborhood representatives.

April 1977

In what is probably the closest election in Oswego’s history, Milton “Les” Penn won the race for village president over Jim Detzler by just four votes. Penn, a longtime village board member, received 343 votes to 339 for Detzler, also a board member. Incumbent village president Harry Fuller had decided not to seek re-election.

Voters approved the establishment of the Oswego Public Library District in a 292-132 vote. About 6 percent of the township’s residents cast ballots in the special election. The library had previously been a township library.

April 1972

An editorial published in the Oswego Ledger critical of the Oswego School District’s handling of student drug and crime problems prompted a reply letter from school board president Harley Swanquist. “The school board has never adopted or condoned a soft policy on drugs, crime or discipline,” Swanquist wrote.

Work was progressing on downtown Oswego’s “facelift.” Contractors were busy installing mansard-style canopy roofs with shake shingles on the fronts of several buildings. The project was intended to give the downtown area a more unified, modern appearance.

April 1969

Police conducted a search of the Fox River between Montgomery and Oswego. However, police declined to identify exactly what they were searching for. Kendall County Sheriff Vic Frantz told the Ledger that police were not seeking a human body. Frantz added that there was no need for fear or panic on the part of the general public.

For years food shoppers in Oswego had two grocery stores on Main Street to choose from: Denney’s Grocery-Market and Bohn’s Food Store. But the two-store era ended when Denney’s announced it would close. The grocery store was offering 30 percent off on all items as part of a going-out-of-business sale, according to an advertisement published in the Ledger.

April 1962

Plans were underway for a benefit dance to raise funds for the construction of a new Oswego Public Library. The Ledger reported the dance would be held May 5 at the Oswego American Legion Hall from 9 p.m. to midnight with music provided by the Dempsey Band.

April 1957

The contractor building the new East View Elementary School in Oswego notified school officials the facility would be completed by the first week of August. In a related matter, the grade school board voted to hold fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade classes in the new school during the 1957-58 school year.

Illinois State Police, Kendall County sheriff’s deputies, Oswego police and the Oswego Township constable all participated in a speed enforcement campaign in Oswego on Sunday, April 21, the Ledger reported. Of the 12 motorists arrested, nine were convicted. The traffic campaign coincided with the opening of the Oswego Dragway located just west of the village.

April 1952

By a 2-1 margin Oswego School District voters rejected a tax hike referendum that would have provided funding for the construction of a junior high wing at the new Oswego High School on Franklin Street (now Oswego 308 Center). The measure failed in both the district’s precincts.

Among the issues discussed during the monthly meeting of the Oswegoland Park District Board of commissioners was the possible establishment of neighborhood play groups for preschool age children. The groups would meet two or three days each week during the summer and offer supervised activities for local children, the Ledger reported.

April 1947

Bohn’s Food Store, at the northwest corner of Washington and Main Street in Oswego held a first birthday party sale. The store invited area residents to stop in and “shop the modern way: serve yourself,” according to an advertisement in the Record.

April 1922

On April 26, 1922, the Record reported from Oswego that “The Liberty garage has recently been sold by Mr. Reid to an Aurora party, who will conduct the same.” Reid sold the garage (the building now occupied by American Male & Co.) to Earl Zentmyer, a young Aurora mechanic who soon moved to Oswego.

April 1892

April 13, 1892, the Record’s Oswego correspondent reported: “Oswego has scattered along through April four elections, and as in all else, ‘too much of a good thing spoils the worth of it.’ [The election for school board] which took place Saturday afternoon may become of great importance in history, as from it will date the commencement of the exercise of women’s suffrage in this town. ... At Saturday’s election women were considered as legal voters and made liable to be called upon to help in making up a respectable vote. ... A Mrs. Hunt was listed as the first woman in Oswego to cast a ballot in a regular election. Mrs. Florence K. Reed was elected to the school board in the election, the first woman to hold public office in Oswego. ... The election passed off decorously.”

April 1877

Due to a lack of crime, the Oswego Township Board voted in April 1877 to sell the old jail. During the annual town meeting that year, the old building was auctioned off. “It was stuck off to Elder [Henry] Minard for $25.25, who bought it for a tool house for the cemetery,” the Record’s Oswego correspondent reported.

On April 5 of that same year, the Record reported from Oswego that “The C. B. & Q. has furnished a very handsome new stove for the passengers at the depot.” The depot was located at the corner of Jackson and Adams streets in Oswego.

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