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Columns

Yesteryear: May in Oswego/Montgomery-area history

Montgomery officials joined with developers 35 years ago this month to break ground for the construction of the Settlers Landing shopping center at the northeast corner of Route 30 and Douglas Road. When the center opened in 1984, it was anchored by a Kmart, Dominick's Finer Foods and Walgreens stores.
Montgomery officials joined with developers 35 years ago this month to break ground for the construction of the Settlers Landing shopping center at the northeast corner of Route 30 and Douglas Road. When the center opened in 1984, it was anchored by a Kmart, Dominick's Finer Foods and Walgreens stores.

May 2003

More than a dozen residents attended an Oswegoland Park District Board meeting to urge the board not to grant a final approval for the construction of a proposed pedestrian bridge over the Fox River linking Violet Patch Park on the east side of the river and the undeveloped Marina Woods Park on the river’s west side. The residents questioned the need for the bridge and its environmental impact and warned it could create a safety hazard for children who might attempt to cross Route 31 near Light Road to reach the bridge.

Dwight Baird was sworn in as Oswego police chief, succeeding longtime Police Chief Robert Wunsch. A lifelong Oswego area resident and 1986 Oswego High School graduate, Baird joined the department as a patrol officer 1992.

May 1998

More than 700 Kendall County area residents attended an open house at the county’s new courthouse building in Yorkville.

Preliminary results of a special census placed Montgomery’s population at 5,180, a 6 percent increase over the 4,854 residents counted in a 1993 special census, according to John DuRocher, village administrator.

To honor retiring Oswego High School principal Daryl Thompson, Oswego officials announced they would name Ill. Route 71 past the high school “Daryl Thompson Way.” Village President Budd Bieber said honorary street signs would soon be installed along the highway near the school.

May 1993

Oswego School District officials announced they expected to gain another 135 students for the 1993-94 school year. (The district’s enrollment as of May 1993 was 4,250.)

Oswego Police Capt. James Bennett was honored as Kendall County Officer of the Year for his work in successfully talking a troubled teen out of jumping off the railing of the U.S. Route 34 bridge in the village.

Montgomery Village President Gary Pregel said he would attempt to meet with officials from Allsteel Inc. before they reached a decision on the future of the firm’s plant on Ill. Route 31 in the village. The company had notified its salaried and union employees it was considering moving production operations from the plant to a southern state.

May 1988

For the first time in years, Oswego-Montgomery area residents were faced with the prospect of not having a community celebration in June. The annual “Oswego Days” celebration had been canceled due to a lack of a sponsoring organization, the Ledger-Sentinel reported.

May 1983

Montgomery officials and representatives of Spatz & Company of Chicago presided over ground-breaking ceremonies for the Settlers Landing shopping center at the northeast corner of U.S. Route 30 and Douglas Road in the village. Dominick’s, Walgreens and Kmart were the announced anchor stores for the center. Among the village officials at the ground-breaking ceremony were Village President Stu Johnson and board members Ray Kozloski, Don Wolsfelt, P.O. Douglas and Doug Fanscali.

Only 14 Boulder Hill residents went to the polls at the Oswegoland Civic Center to elect neighborhood representatives to the governing board of the Boulder Hill Civic Association.

Anxious to attract new industrial firms and jobs to Oswego, the village board voted to join the new Kendall County Economic Development Commission.

May 1978

Among the advertisers in the May 25 edition of the Oswego Ledger were Grimm’s Pharmacy at the Boulder Hill Market, Bohn’s Food Store and the Paper Crate office supply store on Main Street in downtown Oswego, and Olson’s Shell at Route 25 and Route 34.

May 1973

Parking problems on Main Street in downtown Oswego were an issue for the village board. To free up parking spaces for businesses, the board agreed to send letters to tenants and landlords of downtown apartments asking tenants to park off the street during business hours.

Montgomery Village President Wayne Wells presented a valor award to former village resident Lawrence Hawkinson, who jumped into the Fox River to save the life of a woman two months earlier.

The Montgomery Village Board was continuing to study the flooding problems in the village’s Parkview Estates subdivision.

May 1968

Owners of the Oswego Dragway spent $20,000 to resurface the asphalt surface at the track just in time for the Memorial Day weekend. The resurfacing made the track “the most modern as well as the safest” in the country, according to a report in the Ledger.

Property tax bills for many Oswego-area residents increased between 18 and 21 percent, the Ledger reported in a front page story May 16. “This means that a $400 tax bill last year will be $512 this year,” according to the report.

The Waubonsee Community College Board of Trustees approved the master plan for the development of the college’s new Sugar Grove campus.

May 1963

Several children were bitten by a stray dog in the Boulder Hill subdivision May 4, the Ledger reported. One of the victims, a 12-year-old boy, was taken to an area hospital for treatment. The Kendall County dog catcher later picked up the dog.

This reminder appeared in the May 9 Ledger under the headline “Emergency Help”: “Boulder Hill is in the Oswego Fire District. In case of fire, call 554-5121, speak clearly and distinctly, give name, house number, street and ‘Boulder Hill.’ If possible, send someone to the Route 25 entrance to direct firemen.”

The Oswegoland Community Library Building Fund accepted a donation of $400 from the Oswego Civic Club. Fund organizers were attempting to raise money to construct a library building on Jefferson Street at Main Street in downtown Oswego.

During the monthly meeting of the Boulder Hill Civic Association, president John Taylor updated association members on efforts to secure the development of a supermarket in the subdivision. Taylor said Don L. Dise, subdivision developer, had advised him May 7 that if a leading food chain would not agree to construct a store by the fall, he would proceed with plans to construct a convenience store with approximately 1,000 square feet of retail floor space.

The Montgomery Village Board received a petition seeking the rezoning of property along the east side of Route 25 in the village for the proposed Dieterle Funeral Home. Vance McCoy, the village’s attorney, announced a public hearing on the rezoning would be held June 27 at Nicholson Elementary School in the village.

May 1958

The Montgomery Village Board voted unanimously to amend an agreement that required the village to provide water service to the unincorporated Boulder Hill subdivision. The board had approved the initial agreement with Don L. Dise, Boulder Hill developer, in October 1957.

May 1953

The Ledger reported May 7: “The proposal for a six-room junior high addition to Oswego High School was approved by Elementary School District 8 voters, 480 yes to 300 no votes.”

Ralph “Deacon” Wheeler was elected president of the Oswego Park Board for the coming year, succeeding Jane Patterson.

Oswego Village President Andrew Pierce was guest of honor at a dinner held at the high school cafeteria lauding his 20 years of community service. Pierce served as a village board member from 1929-31 and served stints as village president from 1931-41 and 1945-53. Pierce was also serving on the Oswego Fire District Board, which he joined in 1935 when the district was established.

A total of 53 Oswego eighth-graders were ready to graduate from junior high during ceremonies set for May 28, and 27 seniors were ready to graduate from Oswego High School during commencement exercises set for Friday, May 29.

May 1948

The Aurora College choir was scheduled to present a concert at the Oswego Presbyterian Church on Madison Street but the event was canceled due to impassable roads. The Record’s Oswego correspondent reported that contractors for the state were building a two-lane highway along Madison Street past the church to connect Ill. Route 71 and U.S. Route 34. Heavy rains had turned the unfinished highway into mud, preventing vehicular travel.

May 1933

The Record reported from Oswego: “The road gang which has been working on the new highway connecting Naperville and Oswego moved their trucks to Evanston last Saturday to do some work there while the water lowers somewhat in Oswego township.”

In sports, the Record reported the Yorkville Orioles defeated Oswego 18-7 in the first baseball game of the season.

The Record offered this editorial comment: “The World’s Fair opened last week in Chicago in the face of a great business slump. The officials are to be congratulated for the spirit they showed in putting the thing across. The descriptions of the Fair are most alluring, the exhibits many and different. One shouldn’t find it hard to desire to attend and as the admission price is so small, all may go. The major part of the Fair can be seen for the entrance admission of 50 cents.”

May 1928

From the Record: “It has been announced that a determined demand will be made this year for a five-day working week. This means the sacrifice of older men, less keenly alert men, victims of past industrial accidents, everybody who could not stand the swifter pace. It means a few hours more leisure for the swift, though they pay at a greater nerve sacrifice and an earlier breaking point; but it means fewer jobs, with the slower worker a jobless derelict on every labor market.”

The Record reported: “Saturday afternoon and Sunday were marked by flights of airplanes from the new Yorkville airport located a mile north of the river. Every test was made to make sure that the location was fit and every indication is in favor of the site. The company is known as the Chicago Airways Corporation. The classes in aeronautics will be started about June 1 with a restricted class of about 20 pupils.”

May 1923

“Prosperity is here and will continue for a good while if business men and financiers keep their heads, production is not curtailed, and prices are not advanced unfairly, Frank A. Vanderlip, formerly of Oswego and now leading New York financier, states,” the Record reported.

An obituary from the Record: “Cecilia E. Lucas, colored, formerly of Oswego, died yesterday morning at the home of her father, Edmund H. Lucas, two miles north of Lily Lake after a lingering illness. The deceased was 23 years of age and was born in NaAuSay township March 20, 1900. She lived near Lily Lake for the last three years. She is survived by her father and one sister, Mrs. Edmund Douglas of Aurora; and seven brothers, Charles, Edmund Jr., and Theodore of Lily Lake; Jerry, Robert, and Alfred of Chicago; and James of DeKalb. The funeral will be held Sunday from the home of her sister, Mrs. Edward Douglas in Aurora from St. John’s AME church. Burial will be in NaAuSay cemetery. Services will be in charge of the Colored chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, of Aurora.

May 1918

The Record offered this editorial comment: “Negro troops are holding a sector in the trenches west of Verdun and it is said that two of them have been decorated for distinguished service. Colored troops were valiant fighters in the Civil War and helped save Col. Roosevelt at San Juan. The negro is efficient when given training and opportunity.”

A new report from the Record: “The latest draft orders sent to the local board make a demand for 72 more men to be drafted into the National Army between now and June 4. Eleven men who registered in Kendall County last June have disappeared and their whereabouts are unknown. This is a small number from the total number registered, 947. Nine of them are Mexicans who were working on the Burlington at Plano at the time of registration and are not citizens of the country. One is a Norwegian and one is a Russian, both of whom were working on farms.”

May 1913

From the May 14, 1913, Record: “The Record wants to give its many Oswego subscribers the very best service that a local weekly paper can give. We have a large list of readers served from the Oswego post office and many who get The Record at other offices who are interested in Oswego affairs. We would like to have items concerning the churches, the schools, the social affairs, the village doings officially, and anything that pertains to news. Not long dissertations on any matter, but brief, snappy paragraphs that will make up a column or two of Oswego doings. Miss Florence White is the Oswego correspondent of The Record. We cannot pay her enough to do a great mount of work and it will help her and the publisher if you will write your notices and give them to her or send or keep her posted on local news. She is a competent, business woman and a good itemizer for whom The Record printers have regard because of her well-written copy.”

May 1908

“Sixty years ago [in 1848] the village of Oswego had three hotels, seven stores of general merchandise, two groceries, several blacksmith shops, the wagon shop, the cooper shop, the cabinet shop, two tailor shops, two shoe shops, a sawmill, a brewery underway, the burning of bricks and lime and other industries, besides carrying on the courthouse business,” the Record’s Oswego correspondent reported on May 22, 1908.

May 1893

“The saloons are shut up,” the Record reported from Oswego on May 3. “The town is dry.” But on May 31, the Record added: “The dryspell in Oswego came to an end Friday when the truly legal village board met just long enough to grant licenses to two saloons.”

An Oswego pioneer’s death was reported on May 3, 1893: “A.J. Wormley was born at East Painted Post, Stubben County, N.Y. With his parents he arrived in Oswego on the morning of July 4, 1838, taking possession of the farm the following spring where he has continuously resided until his death this week.”

May 1883

“The report in circulation that Burkie caught a 41-pound buffalo fish was a fish story,” the Record’s Oswego correspondent glumly admitted on May 24, 1883. “The figures were turned about and the fish only weighed 14 pounds. A 5-pound eel was also caught lately.”

May 1873

“The Shoger house on the [northwest] corner of Adams and Jackson (one block) is nearing completion,” the Record’s Oswego correspondent reported on May 15, 1873. (The house, restored several years ago by Dennis and Linda Moreland, is still standing.)

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