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Columns

Yesteryear: January in Oswego/Montgomery-area history

By the end of January 1974 Oswego High School boys basketball team (above) was leading the Little Seven Conference with an 8-1 record and an overall mark of 12-4. The team would reach the state tournament in March, the first OHS boys basketball team to do so.
By the end of January 1974 Oswego High School boys basketball team (above) was leading the Little Seven Conference with an 8-1 record and an overall mark of 12-4. The team would reach the state tournament in March, the first OHS boys basketball team to do so.

January 2004

In a 4-1 ballot at their meeting Oswego School District Board members gave the green light to start construction on the three new elementary schools later in the year. All three schools are expected to be ready to open in the fall of 2005. Two of the three schools were proposed to be built in Oswego, while the third was to be constructed adjacent to Bednarcik Junior High School in Aurora.

For two hours more than 150 parents, students, teachers and other community members explained to the Oswego School District Board why a proposed change in the district’s junior high schedule was a bad idea. After listening to the comments, the board decided the proposal should go back to the drawing board for further study.

January 1999

U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Yorkville, and a 1960 Oswego High School graduate, was sworn-in as U.S. Speaker of the House in Washington, D.C.

January 1994

Oswego School Board members were considering a request from parents to establish a girls soccer program at Oswego High School. Supporters of the request noted that there were already more than 200 girls ranging in age from kindergarten through eighth grade that were involved in organized soccer programs being offered in the community.

January 1989

The Village of Montgomery was the fastest growing municipality in Kendall County in 1988, the Ledger-Sentinel reported. Montgomery’s building department issued 94 permits for new single family homes in the Kendall portion of the village in 1988, compared to the 61 permits issued in Oswego, 40 permits in Yorkville and 40 in Plano. 94 of Montgomery’s 96 total building permits went for new homes in the village’s Seasons Ridge Subdivision.

January 1984

A grand opening was held Jan. 7 for the new Aldi food store on Douglas Road in Montgomery. A gallon of 2 percent milk was $1.49, according to an ad in the Ledger-Sentinel.

Citing an increasing volume of business, the Oswego Village Board voted to meet twice during the months of March and April. Until 1984, the board had traditionally only met once each month. “I think the Village of Oswego is at a point where we are going to have to have two meetings a month,” commented Milton “Les” Penn, village president.

January 1979

Developers of a proposed Kmart-anchored shopping center announced they had dropped plans to build the center at the southeast corner of U.S. Route 30 and Douglas Road in Oswego. Instead, firm officials said they would pursue the development of the center along the north side of Route 30 in Montgomery. The firm cited a lack of available sanitary sewer service south of Route 30 as a factor in their decision.

Montgomery Police Chief Bob White said the current tenants in Montgomery’s new police station would be moving out, and added the village’s police department would move in about Feb. 15, according to a report in the Fox Valley Sentinel. The newly purchased building, located on South East River Road (Ill. Route 25) just south of the Mill Street bridge, was to be handicapped accessible.

Montgomery Village Board members urged residents to clear the ice and snow from around fire hydrants in front of their homes. The extreme snow of the season had buried many of the village’s hydrants under feet of snow.

Western Electric officials petitioned the village of Montgomery to annex their plant, located on a 44 acre parcel along the west bank of the Fox River, to the village. The annexation request was prompted by a serious malfunction of the plant’s private water system.

January 1974

The Oswego High School boys’ basketball team was on a roll. By the end of January, Coach Steve Goers’ Panthers sat alone atop the Little Seven Conference with an 8-1 record and an overall mark of 12-4. In one of those victories, against Sycamore, Randy Carroll set an OHS school record by scoring 41 points.

The Montgomery Police Department had filed a request with the village’s police committee seeking the purchase of two more shotguns at a cost of $200 and one rifle for $75, Bud Albright, village board member, reported to his board colleagues.

Oswego Police reported they had made five drug-related arrests in a six day period.

January 1969

Oswegoland Park District officials were busy planning programs at the newly completed Civic Center on Ashlawn Avenue near Boulder Hill. The Ledger reported that one of the first uses of the new building would be as an evening ‘drop-in’ center for teenagers.

Featured speaker at Oswego Junior High School was popular WGN-TV weatherman Harry Volkman.

A regular weekly feature in the Ledger was a column entitled “Questions and Answers about Selective Service.” (Local males between the ages of 18 and 35 had a keen interest in the Selective Service—also known as the draft—as the Viet Nam war continued.)

January 1964

Anticipating the opening of the new Oswego High School in the fall, the Oswego School District Board voted to adopt a “K6-3-3” plan for the district for the 1964-1965 school year. Under the plan, students in grades seven, eight, and nine would attend the junior high school—the old high school—on Franklin Street in the village, with those in grades ten through 12 attending the new high school on Ill. Route 71.

Citing the unincorporated Boulder Hill Subdivision’s continuing growth, members of the Boulder Hill Sports and Social Club announced plans to disband as a stand-alone organization and sent a letter to the Boulder Hill Civic Association asking to become part of that organization. “Now that Boulder Hill is larger than most, if not all, of the other communities in Kendall County, it is looked upon far differently by its neighbors. It now becomes more important to have a group of residents concerned about annexation, taxes, school problems, zoning and other matters that affect our pocketbooks than about dances or other social events,” a portion of the letter read.

The Montgomery Village Board voted to award a contract to a private firm to install 77 street lights throughout the village. Village President P.O. Douglas also proposed the village canvass the village to determine how many dogs were licensed.

January 1959

The Oswego Village Board decided to seek voter approval of a referendum to increase the village’s property tax rate from 19 to 33 cents for every $100 of equalized assessed valuation. Village officials announced plans to explain the need for the tax hike prior to the March referendum.

Plans for a new Presbyterian Church in Oswego were presented to a large crowd of church members and friends during a meeting Jan. 25. The Ledger reported the plans called for the construction of a “new, modernistic building” on a five acre parcel along the east side Ill. Route 25 north of the village.

The Jacqueline Shop celebrated its one year anniversary on Main Street in downtown Oswego. The fine women’s clothing store marked down prices on spring dresses for the event and offered door prizes.

January 1954

Coach Ken Pickerill’s Oswego High School wrestling team was a popular attraction in Oswego. The Ledger reported Jan. 14: “Judging from the noise and enthusiasm and size of the crowd at last Monday’s wrestling match, the mat game has arrived in Oswego to stay. Grappling fans are every bit as rabid as grid and cage followers, if not more so.” Top wrestlers for OHS included Alvin Wheeler, Bill Betzwiser, Dave Gengler, Brad Smith, Duane Vickery, and David McCauley.

“I would like to use the columns of your paper to thank the Oswego Lions Club for their [Christmas] decorations over the streets. It is really an outstanding display for a small town and the Lions Club should be congratulated…It makes people from other towns take notice,” wrote “An Oswego Booster” in a letter to the editor in the Jan. 7 Ledger.

Oswego High School was offering a driver’s training course, the Ledger reported. “A new 1954 Ford is being made available for this course by Jim Zentmyer of Zentmyer Motor Sales, local Ford Dealer. Mr. Zentmyer has furnished the car for driver training courses ever since they were first instituted in Oswego High School several years ago.”

January 1949

Kendall County Sheriff Bill Hayden suffered fractured ribs in a fight with an inmate at the county jail in Yorkville, the Kendall County Record reported. When the fight broke out, Hayden’s wife summoned a neighbor to the jail who managed to beat the inmate “into submission” with a gun, the Record reported. Hayden later told the newspaper that he felt like he had been in a tough football game.

January 1904

An inventive Oswegoan got some recognition in the Jan. 13, 1904 Kendall County Record. “Mrs. Haight (D.M.) has patented a griddle greaser, a device for facilitating the baking of pancakes,” the Record noted. Her husband, David M. Haight, owned a grocery and general store in downtown Oswego at the southeast corner of Main and Washington.

Also in the news that month was a small crime wave. “Burglars visited the depot and the barber shop Thursday night,” the Record reported on Jan. 27. “They got about 60-70 cents in nickels and pennies.”

The Record also reported in January 1904 that the Oswego Herald newspaper, a weekly, had begun operations in the village. In addition, a bank opened in the Schickler Building at the corner of Main and Washington streets, the building occupied today by The Marmalade Tree.

January 1894

History was in the news in the Jan. 17, 1894 Kendall County Record. “Waish-Kee-Shaw was an Indian woman of the Pottawatomie Tribe,” the Record’s Oswego correspondent wrote. “Her husband was a white man named David Laughton. By a treaty with the Indians of Fondulac, Wis., certain lands were set off by our government to individual Indians and called reservations. What is now the Charles T. Cherry place [on Grove Road in NaAuSay Township] was given to Waish-Kee-Shaw, and is known today by her name. A half section just north of this in the township of Oswego was given to one Moahway and is down on the plat as Moahway Reservation.

“On June 15, 1835, Waish-Kee-Shaw conveyed this land to Joseph Lafrombois, a Frenchman. This deed was acknowledged by Isaac Townsend, Justice of the Peace, Cook County, Ill. Following this record is a deed from Joseph Lafrombois to Isaac Townsend and Charles A. Davis dated Dec. 18, 1835. Later the land as deeded to the Cherry family.” Part of the land is today part of the Henneberry property proposed for development, while other parts of it are occupied by Waa Kee Sha Park and existing housing developments along Reservation Road.

January 1889

“The Congregational people will hold a donation reception at Collins Hall Tuesday evening for the benefit of their pastor,” the Record’s Oswego correspondent reported on Jan. 9, 1889. “It is to be an old-fashioned free-for-all affair; that is, free for everybody to go there, free to shell out, and free to have a good time.”

January 1879

On Jan. 16, 1879, the Record reported from Oswego, “The town has been very quiet the past week. Most of the spare men are employed in the ice harvest (about 75 of them); great efforts are being made to fill all 14 houses this season.” The Esch Brothers Ice Company’s ice houses were located near North Adams Street along the east bank of the Fox River just north of today’s Troy Park.

January 1869

On Jan. 7, 1869, the Record reported from Oswego: “Oswego has quietly drifted through the holidays…We have passed into the year ’69 without effecting any apparent change. Our people look, act, and live just about the same as they did in the old year. A few boys resolved to quit chewing tobacco on New Year’s day and nobly did they stick to their resolution until late in the forenoon of the day; one even resisted the temptation to take a chaw until after dinner. A general revival of the school took place the three days previous to the holidays, which I understand was very satisfactory to all concerned. The high school also had an exhibition which was much enjoyed.

H.R. Marshall, Record publisher, wrote Jan. 21: “One reason why I am in favor of woman suffrage is that it would stimulate them for a more practical education, it would direct their thoughts into new channels, open a field of new scenery, it would create in them new desires and new aspirations; all this would follow from sheer necessity.”

The Record reported the following week, “There seems to be a great deal more noise connected with the liquor traffic than there used to be. I have participated in a great many drunks, and of all sizes, but never have heard such noise as now-a-days. Whether this owing to the people or liquor, I am not prepared to say; think there is something explosive in the liquor; wonder if it is not mixed with nitro-glycerin.

Another report from the Record, “Late on Saturday night, a scene of the practical workings of woman’s rights was exhibited—a street row—those engaged…in the thickest of it were two ladies showing just as much courage as anybody. There was no striking. All conducted on the pulling and hauling order; for this reason I could not say whether or not ladies can fight, but can vouch that they can make a heap of noise.”

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