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Columns

Yesteryear: February in Oswego/Montgomery-area history

The new Oswego High School, Franklin at Washington street, probably taken in the late fall 1950. The grounds have yet to be landscaped.
The new Oswego High School, Franklin at Washington street, probably taken in the late fall 1950. The grounds have yet to be landscaped.

February 2004

A total of 15 firms submitted proposals to the village of Oswego to prepare a space needs analysis for the proposed construction of a new village hall, Carrie Hansen, village administrator, told the village board.

The ornamental lights hung prior to the Christmas holidays on Montgomery’s Mill Street bridge will illuminate the structure year round, the Ledger-Sentinel reported. Mike Pubentz, the village’s director of public works, said village officials decided to keep the lights on after receiving numerous favorable comments from local and area residents over the holidays. The village spent approximately $2,500 to have the lights hung under the arch panels attached to the sides of the bridge.

Kendall County officials were still hoping to sell the old county jail building in downtown Yorkville. The building has sat vacant since the new county jail opened in 1992. County officials had hoped to have the building’s sale wrapped up over the winter, but the top purchase prospect, a Naperville-based architect, withdrew his initial plan citing financial reasons.

February 1999

Contractors for the Illinois Department of Transportation began work on a two-lane bridge on U.S. Route 30 spanning the Fox River in Montgomery. As part of the project, the original two-lane bridge, first opened to traffic in 1959, was scheduled for extensive renovations.

An era ended in Montgomery when village attorney James Edwards accepted an appointment as a circuit court judge. Edwards had served as the village’s legal adviser for 32 years.

Several local governmental agencies, including the villages of Oswego and Montgomery and the Oswego School District, had all recently launched websites, according to a Ledger-Sentinel article.

February 1994

The majority of the 4,200 students enrolled in Oswego School District schools were not living within Oswego’s municipal limits. According to a school district study, about half of the district’s students, 2,100 lived in the unincorporated Boulder Hill subdivision, 522 in the unincorporated Shore Heights/Marina Terrace area and 208 within Montgomery’s corporate limits.

Oswego Public Library District and Montgomery officials were feuding over library service provided to village residents. During a meeting at Montgomery Village Hall, village officials took exception to the library board’s passage of a resolution in support of re-drawing the library district’s boundaries to where they had been prior to a 1987 referendum that had brought the Kane County portion of the village into the library district.

The Oswego Village Board voted to approve an agreement with the Aurora Sanitary District (now known as the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District) calling for the agency to provide wastewater treatment for the village. Village board members chose to get out of the wastewater treatment business due to rising operational and maintenance expenses at the village’s own treatment plant located along the east bank of the Fox River, just south of U.S. Route 34.

February 1989

Jim Detzler, owner of Detzler Pontiac in downtown Oswego, announced he would move his auto dealership from its location at Main and Washington streets to roomier quarters at Boulder Hill Pass and Ill. Route 25 in Boulder Hill. Detzler had operated his “Ugly Little Showroom” at the downtown location since 1970.

Oswego School District voters overwhelmingly rejected a referendum that would have allowed the school district to increase its utility fund tax rate.

February 1984

About 20 Oswego residents questioned the village board over its plans to remodel and expand Village Hall at 113 Main St. Among the concerns voiced by residents were the anticipated cost of the project (about $75,000) and a board decision not to seek competitive bids for the preparation of the plans.

Several homes along Forest Street in Oswego just north of Ill. Route 71 were flooded as a result of a late February thaw.

Oswego’s public works department had overspent its snow removal budget by over $4,500 due to the winter’s record snowfall.

February 1974

The Montgomery Village Board adopted a resolution in opposition to a collar county referendum on the creation of the Regional Transportation Authority. Board members said they opposed the RTA plan as proposed because they believed the village would be the last to reap any benefits from the agency.

February 1969

The Oswegoland Park District sponsored an open house at the new Oswegoland Civic Center, 5 Ashlawn Ave. Area residents of all ages were invited to attend, but park district officials also noted that teenagers were especially welcome to try out the new ping pong tables and juke box.

State Sen. Robert Mitchler, R-Oswego, said he supported a controversial plan to extend the East-West Tollway from Sugar Grove 65 miles west through the northern half of the state past DeKalb towards Dixon. Mitchler indicated he believed the extension would serve to boost economic development in counties near the tollway.

A March opening was planned for the new Oswego Post Office building at Madison (U.S. Route 34) and Jackson streets.

February 1964

Oswego High School students were rehearsing for their annual minstrel show set for March 5-7 in the school gym.

The Boulder Hill Neighborhood Church of the Brethren announced a series of four Sunday evening programs titled “The Christian in Boulder Hill—In politics, race relations, juvenile delinquency, alcoholism, and the morals of our teenagers.”

Acting on a recommendation from the Montgomery Plan Commission, the village board approved for development unit four of the Parkview Estates subdivision located just north of Waubonsie Creek.

The Ledger reported that Oswego Fire Chief Forrest Wooley would attend an upcoming meeting of the Boulder Hill Civic Association to discuss “various problems” that needed to be resolved before a fire station could be built in the sprawling, unincorporated subdivision.

A referendum on the proposed creation of a Kendall County Forest Preserve District would appear on the April ballot, the Ledger reported. “Several good pieces of land in the county have gone into private hands because such a legal organization was not in existence,” wrote Ford Lippold, Ledger editor.

The Boulder Hill Civic Association board discussed the problem of vandalism at SuzanJohn Park in Boulder Hill. The board also discussed the subdivision’s water supply. “If future plans call for more homes and the shopping center, we could be in trouble with our one and only eight-inch main from Montgomery,” board members noted.

Kendall County Civil Defense Director Clyde Phillips announced that Oswego High School on Franklin Street had been surveyed and licensed as a public fallout shelter, and had been stocked with food, water, medical supplies, radiological instruments and sanitation supplies. However, Phillips noted there was only space for 129 persons in the shelter. “Due to the limited number of buildings in Kendall County which can provide fallout shelters, it is evident, Mr. Phillips advises, that families must make provision to protect themselves,” the Ledger reported.

February 1959

The Ledger reported that U.S. Olympic track star Jesse Owens would address members of the Oswego School District PTA during a meeting in March. Owens, who gained international fame in the 1936 Berlin Olympic games, was serving on the staff of the Illinois Youth Commission.

Denney’s Supermarket on Main Street in downtown Oswego was offering free home delivery of groceries daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to an advertisement in the Ledger.

The Oswego Village Board voted to experiment on a Dutch Elm disease control. Cather’s Landscape Service, Oswego, was hired to treat elm trees in the three block area of Park Street with a new control method at $5 per tree.

February 1954

The Montgomery Village Board voted to have the village’s typewriter and adding machine serviced. In another ballot, the board transferred all authority concerning fire inspections from the village to the Montgomery & Countryside Fire Protection District.

Ford Lippold, editor of the Ledger, reported that the Oswego Village Board was “Endeavoring to get the state highway department to erect a stop sign for westbound traffic at the intersection of Routes 25 and 34, several sharp-curve signs, and orange no-passing stripes on the Washington Street hill. It is a mighty fine plan and if successful will do much to keep Oswego accident-free.”

Lippold also editorialized on the behavior of some fans at Oswego High School athletic events. Lippold wrote, “Remarks made by adult spectators at high school athletic events are often extremely abusive and uncalled for both when directed at local players and visitors. … Spectators who behave in an unsportsmanlike manner are defeating the very purpose that underlies all high school athletics, the development of character and citizenship training through competition.”

February 1949

Oswego Lions Club members were busy installing new concrete street markers on corners throughout the village. To help raise funds for the new signs, club members played members of the Oswego Volunteer Fire Department in a benefit basketball game at the Red Brick School.

The Record’s Oswego correspondent reported, “There was some excitement in the village Saturday when smoke issued from the register in the dining room at the Masonic Hall (on Main Street).” Firefighters were called and quickly put out the blaze.

February 1934

This item appeared in the Feb. 7 Record: “Any person suffering from deafness, or who is deaf and dumb, may register with the field representative at the Aurora CWA headquarters, in Illinois Free Employment office on Island avenue, for possible employment in Civil Works administration.”

“Many enjoyed sleighing parties last week. Seven bobsled loads of pupils and teachers from the Oswego school were out one evening, returning to the schoolhouse for lunch and games…the town streets were smooth and slippery but the snow had blown from the country roads forming deep snow banks on the sides,” the Record’s Oswego correspondent reported.

February 1914

In an editorial, H.R. Marshall, Record publisher wrote: “There should be no new apportionment of the state of Illinois till the new constitutional convention has been held and the new constitution outlined. If we reapportion now, Cook County will get more congressmen and a larger representative in the state. This will give them the balance of power over the down state districts and will place Chicago as the capital of the state in reality."

February 1899

An advertisement from Oswego in the Feb. 8 Record stated: “I wish to call attention of the public to my curious collection of waxworks. This collection contains a large number of costly and beautiful figures including the Chinese Giant, the Two-Headed Girl, the Siamese Twins, and others. I will have them on exhibition at Woodman’s Hall Wednesday evening, Feb. 15. Admission, 10 cents. Don’t miss it!”

In that same issue, the Record’s Oswego correspondent reported that “Addison Walker, once an Oswego boy, and who is a cousin of Seth Walker’s here, has got himself elected state senator for the state of Washington.”

A pioneer death was reported on Feb. 15: “Early school teacher, one of the first, Joan Dorcas Schram, died Tuesday, Feb. 7, 1899. The family moved to Oswego when she was a mere child and it was her home for 50 years. There she taught school when but 15 years old. That was way back in the days of goose quill pens, slab benches, and puncheon floors. She belonged to the Hopkins family.”

February 1889

The Record reported a new technological advance available to Oswego residents in late February 1889: “Oswego now has weather signals. We can tell what the weather will be for the next 24 hours. These signals are displayed on the flag staff by the [roller-skating] Rink [on Main Street] six days a week.” The Star Skating Rink was located at 60 Main Street in Oswego’s downtown.

February 1879

This report appeared in the Feb. 5 Record from Oswego: “The greatest event of the past week was the burning of Wm. S. Bunn’s residence—one of the finest in town—early Thursday morning. Mr. B. had been up and started the fires and returned again to bed, but shortly after heard some kind of noise upstairs and going to ascertain the cause found a chamber all on fire. It originated, as supposed, from a defective flue. But little of the furniture and other effects were saved as the building burned very rapidly. The property was insured in the Agricultural, which promises to pay $1,900 of the damage just as soon as their paying agent can get around to do it.”

February 1869

“The dance at Chapman’s Hall on Friday night was a pleasant affair but there was an afterpiece of a quite contrary nature,” the Record’s Oswego correspondent reported in February 1869. “It seems Mark Chapman refused to sell a ticket to Bob Jolly. Bob, being highly incensed at not being able to dance and share in the fun, provided himself with a club and waited for Mark outside. As he came out on the sidewalk, he was set upon by Bob and pretty severely beaten. Bob is under arrest.”

Also in the Record from Oswego: “Geo. Haag was in town Saturday night and got drunk, not an unusual thing, but on this occasion he rather overdid it. It affected him peculiarly, stimulating his business faculties. He just delighted to do business—a horse trade was the consequence—it proved to be (to him) a damaging one.”

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