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Columns

Yesteryear: October in Oswego/Montgomery-area history

A car proceeds westbound up what is today Route 34 west of Oswego on Oct. 27, 1912.
A car proceeds westbound up what is today Route 34 west of Oswego on Oct. 27, 1912.

October 2003

A ceremony attended by over 100 area officials, residents and students was held at the site of the new Oswego East High School as contractors installed the cornerstone for the $65 million building. As a bright fall sun set to the west of the school site off Harvey Road in Oswego, masons John Stokes and Ed Mucha lifted and set the cornerstone in place. The masons secured the cornerstone with brown mortar, assisted by Dr. David Behlow, school district superintendent, using a ceremonial trowel.

Oswego Village Board members said they were willing to negotiate a sales tax incentive agreement to secure the development of a proposed 510,000-square-foot Meijer-anchored shopping center on a 50-acre parcel at the southeast corner of U.S. Route 34 and Douglas Road in the village. Initially, Meijer officials had announced plans to construct the store in neighboring Montgomery.

Montgomery’s home building boom showed no sign of slowing. Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2003, the village’s building department issued 363 occupancy permits for new single-family homes, according to information presented to the village board’s economic development committee. Tim Brophy, village building commissioner, said the pace of new home construction was close to the record level set in 2002, when the village issued building permits for 664 residential units.

October 1998

The Montgomery Village Board voted unanimously to obtain contractor bids for the proposed construction of a new section of Fifth Street, extending north from U.S. Route 30 adjoining the proposed site of a Blain’s Farm & Fleet store.

A consulting firm’s plan for the redevelopment of Oswego’s downtown business district was the topic for a public meeting held at the Columbus Club in the village. Among the plan’s provisions were recommendations for a series of "streetscape" improvements such as the installation of new sidewalks with brick pavers, decorative light fixtures, and landscaping. Some of the more than 100 people in attendance questioned how the village would be able to finance the proposed improvements.

October 1993

Due to an increasing number of accidents, the Oswego Village Board voted to install temporary traffic signals at the intersection of Douglas and Fernwood roads in the village.

The Montgomery Village Board voted to approve a financial incentive package worth an estimated $48,000 in an effort to entice a developer to construct a Holiday Inn Express hotel on a site just west of Douglas Road (near the site of the village post office).

October 1988

As a small group of concerned nearby property owners looked on at Oswego Village Hall, village board members chose to table action on an annexation and rezoning request for the proposed Fox Chase subdivision at the corner of Ill. Route 31 and Mill Road. Board member Mary Distler told an attorney for the developers the village needed more time to study the feasibility of extending municipal water service to the site.

The Oswegoland Park District announced it was inviting interested area residents to attend an organizational meeting for a new annual community festival. Park district officials had earlier announced they would organize the event after the Oswego Chamber of Commerce dropped its sponsorship of the old "Oswego Days" festival. There was no community festival in Oswego in 1988.

October 1983

Due to a large number of complaints they had received about cable television service in Boulder Hill, the Boulder Hill Civic Association invited a representative of Centel Cable TV and all interested Hill residents to attend the association’s monthly meeting at the Oswegoland Civic Center. But when the meeting was held, only two Boulder Hill residents were in attendance to question the Centel representative. Ironically, a civic association member speculated that residents may have chosen to stay home to watch the World Series on TV.

Citing a lack of space for municipal offices and the police department, the Oswego Village Board voted 5-1 to hire a local architectural firm to prepare designs for the remodeling and expansion of Village Hall. Board member Lyle Johnson noted he expected municipal offices to remain at the expanded building for the foreseeable future, but said the village might one day have to consider building a separate building for the police department.

The Oswego Public Library District purchased its first two computers – Apples – for use by library patrons.

October 1978

The Oswego Village Board passed an advisory recommendation in support of a plan to construct a KinderCare Daycare Center just south of U.S. Route 30, east of Douglas Road.

The Oswego Ledger reported Oct. 5 that the newly constructed Bank of Boulder Hill at the Boulder Hill Market had received its charter. The bank joined Grimm’s Pharmacy and Boulder Hill Foods as the major tenants at the shopping center, which opened in 1965.

October 1973

Oswego’s Jacqueline Shop at Main and Jackson streets held a grand opening for its newly expanded building.

Following a public hearing, the Montgomery Village Board voted unanimously to reject plans for the Timber Crest subdivision proposed for a vacant, 31-acre parcel between Montgomery Road and Sherman Avenue. Several nearby homeowners had voiced objection to the project during a public hearing.

October 1968

The Oswego Woman’s Civic Club announced plans to send copies of the Oswego Ledger to all local servicemen serving in Vietnam.

Oswego High School was the recipient of a new sign for its front lawn, courtesy of the Doris Thompson Memorial Fund. The Ledger reported the sign was designed by the building’s architect, Ken Unteed, and “it is hoped that the sign will be an everlasting memorial to one of Oswego High School’s outstanding teachers, Mrs. Doris Thompson.”

October 1963

The Montgomery Village Board authorized their engineering firm to prepare plans for the installation of traffic signals at the intersection of Route 25 (South East River Road) and Mill Street in the village. Board members acted after learning the state had approved the village’s request to use Motor Fuel Tax revenues to pay for the project.

The Ledger reported most of the original playground equipment installed in Boulder Hill’s SuzanJohn Park had been vandalized beyond repair.

Illinois Bell hosted a “Telephone Community Night” at Oswego High School. The event featured displays of past, present and future telephone equipment.

Father Jofke spoke on “The Father’s Role in the Catholic Family” at St. Anne’s Catholic Church on Washington Street in Oswego.

October 1958

The Oswego Volunteer Fire Department hosted a community open house at its station on Main Street to mark National Fire Prevention Week. Fire Chief Al Shuler also urged local residents to conduct a basement-to-attic check of their homes for potential fire hazards.

October 1953

From the Oct. 29, 1953, Ledger: “Oswego will be a deserted village Friday night if the weatherman cooperates as all the rabid Panther grid fans will be in Plainfield for the Fox Valley grid classic of the year. The championship of the conference will hinge on the outcome of the game.” (The weatherman did cooperate, but the Nov. 5 Ledger reported that Plainfield defeated Oswego 25-6.)

October 1948

Featured at the Hi-Lite 30 Drive-In theater near Montgomery was the “Green Grass of Wyoming” starring Charles Coburn and Burl Ives, according to an advertisement in the Kendall County Record. The same ad invited movie-goers to “Come early and hear your favorite records through your car speaker.”

Kendall County Republicans were urging local party members to vote a straight GOP ticket in the November election. Topping the ticket was New York Gov. Thomas Dewey, who was heavily favored to defeat incumbent Democratic President Harry Truman.

October 1943

In October 1943, the Record reported in Oswego: “The Home Economics House is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for the use of the Red Cross.” The Home Economics House, located at the southeast corner of Monroe and Washington Street, a block from the Red Brick School, was used for high school home economics classes. After the “new” high school was finished (now the Oswego 308 Center), the home was sold to T. Lloyd Traughber, the school superintendent, for use as a private residence.

October 1938

Republican candidates for county offices didn’t have to worry about competition in their election campaigns from local Democrats or independent candidates. In his weekly column just prior to the November election, Record publisher H.R. Marshall offered this assessment of the local political landscape: “As usual Kendall County has none but Republican candidates and, as usual, these candidates are of a class which prevent competition.”

October 1928

“Joesph Plaska, of the Oswego Floral Company, donated the flower arrangements for the recent meeting of the Nineteenth Century Club,” the Record reported from Oswego on Oct. 3, 1928.

October 1903

Newfangled transportation arrived in Oswego on Oct. 28, 1903, according to the Record. The paper’s Oswego correspondent reported that “Oswego has an automobile. A.P Weaver bought some of the parts, the rest he made himself and he has it now in successful running order.”

October 1893

On Oct. 4, 1893, the Record reported from Oswego that “Charlie Knapp bought another building, namely the Hall building, in the brick block.“ The space above the store at 68 Main Street became known as Knapp Hall and was the meeting space for the Nineteenth Century Club as well as other local organizations.

“Will Leigh, with one shot, killed 13 ducks, and wounded several more that got away,” the Record’s Oswego correspondent claimed on Oct. 18.

October 1888

Politics was in the news in 1888. On Oct. 18, the Record reported from Oswego that “The fore part of last Wednesday night was the first time in many years that the Democrats of Oswego were in the majority in the village – all of the Republicans had gone to Aurora for a rally.”

Then the next week, Oct. 24, the Record reported: “It was Republican Day in Oswego last Saturday and preparations were made to entertain an enthusiastic crowd at night. Business houses and residences, shops and offices, were decorated in red, white, and blue with pictures of candidates dotting the windows. Hon. Irus Coy was the main speaker. By 7:00 the town was alive with people and Main Street was thronged. All the stores were brilliantly lighted. There were marching clubs from Yorkville and Plano. The Aurora contingent, with about 300 marching men, came on a special eight-car train. A large supper was served following the speaking.”

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