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Columns

Yesteryear: July in Oswego/Montgomery-area history

The commercial building at the southwest corner of Mill and North River streets in downtown Montgomery was the home to Shannon's Tap and a restaurant when this photo was taken in about 1970s.
The commercial building at the southwest corner of Mill and North River streets in downtown Montgomery was the home to Shannon's Tap and a restaurant when this photo was taken in about 1970s.

Compiled by Roger Matile and John Etheredge from articles published in the Oswego Ledger, Ledger-Sentinel, Fox Valley Sentinel and Kendall County Record.

July 2003

Interested area residents viewed the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) plans to widen Ill. Route 71 to four lanes between U.S. Route 34 and Orchard Road in Oswego during an open house held in the cafeteria at Oswego High School.

Village of Montgomery officials were concerned the village might lose another supermarket and a key source of municipal sales tax revenues. Eagle Food Centers, Inc., had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy re-organization in April, and announced in June it was seeking to sell its 58 Eagle Country Market stores in Illinois and Iowa, including the local store at 1525 Douglas Road in the village.

July 1998

Before a large crowd of concerned Montgomery residents at Village Hall, the village board voted 5-1 to approve a 5.15 percent utility tax. The tax was expected to cost village residents about $90 per year. A majority of board members backed the tax as the only way to provide the additional funding the village needed to continue municipal services. Board members, however, included a “sunset” provision in their motion to approve the tax, which called for the board to re-evaluate the need for the tax after three years.

Contractors for the Village of Oswego completed work on a new 1.5 million gallon capacity water tower in the village’s Ogden Falls Subdivision just south of U.S. Route 30 and U.S. Route 34 in the village.

July 1993

In a unanimous ballot, the Oswego School District Board voted to hire Dr. Karl Plank as the district’s superintendent of schools. Plank had previously served as the superintendent of the Blue Island Elementary School District. He succeeded Dr. Joyce Saldana whose contract the school board voted to buy out the previous April. Saldana had succeeded Dr. Terry Tamblyn in 1992 after the board had also voted to buy out his contract in 1991. Plank’s hiring meant that for a time, the school district was paying the salaries of three different superintendents.

July 1988

The Oswego Village Board voted to place a referendum on the November ballot asking residents of the unincorporated Cedar Glen Subdivision just east of Ill. Route 25 if they wished to be annexed into the village.

“Hillfest,” the Boulder Hill Subdivision’s annual community celebration was canceled by its sponsors, the Boulder Hill Civic Association. BHCA officials cited a lack of active association members as a key reason for their decision not to put on the festival. In previous years the festival had attracted large crowds to events in the vicinity of the Boulder Hill Market.

July 1983

The Oswego School District Board and the Oswego Education Association, the school district’s teachers’ union, reached an agreement on a new basic contract. The contract called for the salaries of starting teachers to increase from $13,677 to $14,000 for the 1983-1984 school year.

July 1978

Despite the objections of a concerned area resident, the Oswego Plan Commission voted to endorse a pre-annexation agreement for a proposed Kmart store at the southeast corner of Douglas Road and U.S. Route 30. The resident expressed concern about the project’s impact on traffic on Douglas Road and questioned who would improve and maintain the road. Commission members, however, cut short the resident’s presentation. One commission member described the resident’s concerns as “petty details.” The proposed Kmart was proving a controversial issue in Oswego. In a weekly photo opinion column in the Fox Valley Sentinel, three of the five local residents surveyed by the newspaper said they wished the proposed store site would remain a farm.

July 1968

Ground was broken for the new St. Anne’s Catholic Church on Boulder Hill Pass in Oswego. At the time of the ground breaking ceremony July 26, St. Anne’s served an estimated 500 families and a total membership of about 1,880. The church was then headquartered on Washington Street near Ill. Route 71 in what is now the Knights of Columbus Hall.

In an effort to limit traffic problems caused by large crowds attending races at the Oswego Dragway, county officials approved a series of new traffic regulations.

Plans to construct a new Shuler’s Drugstore at the corner of Main and Jackson streets in downtown Oswego were published in the Ledger. Completion was anticipated by 1969.

July 1963

Boulder Hill homeowners were upset when they lost water service for a full day. The Boulder Hill Civic Association scheduled a meeting with the Montgomery Village Board’s water committee to discuss the problem. Three members of the Executive Committee of the Boulder Hill Civic Association met with the Montgomery Village Board on Monday, July 1, to discuss the water problem. It was found out why the water was shut off on Saturday, June 29. In future cases (other than an emergency) the water department will notify the Civic Association ahead of time, and they will try to get word out to the residents via the public address system on their truck.

The Sports and Social Club of Boulder Hill presented its third annual Fourth of July Celebration. Events included a children’s parade, water fight, and fireworks.

July 1958

Wayne Fosgett, chairman of the Oswego’s 125th anniversary “Oswegorama” celebration announced that Illinois Sen. Paul Douglas had accepted an invitation to be a speaker during the celebration set for Sept. 7-13. Foster also reported that invitations had been sent to Senator Everett Dirksen and to Governor William Stratton.

Oswego Village Board members learned that the roof on the village hall had been repaired and that “the old fire bell that hung on top of the village hall for a good number of years” had been removed and placed into storage.

According to a report presented to the Oswego Village Board, village police drove 1,461 miles, served 21 warrants and complaints, found seven business doors unlocked and issued 43 tickets during the month of June..

July 1953

The Ledger reported: “A lot of Oswegoans have been spending time at Comiskey Park recently and for good reason, too. The local White Sox fans are pretty hopeful at the present time.” (The surprising Sox, led by Nellie Fox and Minnie Minoso, were in second place, four games behind the New York Yankees July 16).

Ford Lippold, publisher of the Ledger, offered this comment in a weekly editorial: “The breaking of ground for the new Catholic church to be erected on Washington Street is a noteworthy event for the Village of Oswego and a good indication of the growth that the community is making and is capable of continuing to make in the future. The fact that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 families in the community who embrace the Catholic faith warrants the need for such a house of worship.”

July 1948

The Record reported: “The casketed remains of Sergeant Stuart A. Parkhurst, a World War II deceased member of the Army from Oswego being returned from overseas for final burial will be sent to the Camp Butler, Illinois national cemetery within five weeks, accompanied by a uniformed Army escort from the Chicago Distribution center of the American Graves Registration Division.

The Record reported July 21 that “a terrible tragedy occurred” on Friday, July 16, when a local farmer, met his death on the mainline of the CB&Q. “For some unexplained reason the farmer drove a tractor across the railroad tracks when a railroad engine was coming down the line that crosses his farm. The engineer was the only witness to the tragedy. He blew the whistle and tried to stop the engine, flattening the wheels but to no avail. The farmer was impaled on the front of the engine and was carried on to Bristol Station.”

July 1943

The Record reported: “Announcement has been made that Route 25 between Oswego and Montgomery on the east side of the Fox River is to be repaired and during the job will be widened. The contract for the work has been let to the Geneva Construction Company and work will commence in the near future. This culminates several months of work on the part of Mrs. Maud N. Peffers, our representative in the General Assembly, who has attempted for some time to get this road, of scenic beauty in better shape for travel. Mrs. Peffers also has been trying to get the state to connect up Oswego and Route 71 with a blacktop road and reports that she thinks this road will be done at the time the other improvement is made.”

An announcement in the Record: “Colored films of Hawaii and pictures of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway will be shown at the Presbyterian Annex Wednesday July 21. The films will be shown by Burman Etsinger with Mr. H.B. Tate, principal of the high school, in charge of the arrangements. The films have been endorsed by the Local Defense Council.”

July 1938

The Fox River remains at high levels but people are evidently becoming better educated and no deaths therein have been reported recently, the Record reported.

July 1933

The Record reported the robbery of two Kendall County banks. Gunshots were exchanged in both robberies. The Record reported first robbery as follows: “Monday morning at about 9 o’clock two bandits walked in and held up and relieved the Sandwich State bank of approximately $7,500 while a third man waited outside the bank in a black Chrysler sedan. Before their getaway, the bandits were obliged to exchange a number of shots with a number of bank guards and deputies who gave chase but failed to overtake them. It is believed that one of the bandits was wounded during the gun battle. “It is said that one of the girl employees, when ordered to raise her hands, with great presence of mind and coolness unobserved pushed the button on the counter which sounded an alarm to the bank guards.”

July 1928

The Record contained this announcement from NaAuSay Township south of Oswego: “The married men will play ball against the single men in the Wheeler pasture Wednesday morning.”

In an editorial, the Record warned readers: “The people should not be blinded to the menace of multiple ownership of newspapers or what might be called chain store journalism.”

From another Record editorial: “Sandwich, in a referendum vote, instructed the city council to repeal the ordinance preventing Sunday movies in that municipality. The working men who are employed by the Burlington at the Aurora shops are said to be responsible for the vote. But it strikes us that Sunday is being made too much of a day of pleasure. Even cutting out the religious argument, which is a great one, the mere ‘day of rest’ should appeal to the people. We are living too fast and should make up our minds to stay home once in a while and recuperate.”

July 1913

The Record reported: “John. B. Baumann, a former Kendall county farmer, died at his farm near Montgomery Sunday after suffering ill health for about two years. His homestead is well known to travelers on the Fox River branch of the Burlington--the big white house east of the tracks as they cross the bridge beyond Oswego. Mr. Baumann lived in the vicinity of Montgomery for 35 years and was a prosperous farmer and stock raiser. The funeral will be held from St. Mary’s church, Aurora.”

Another report: “One of the most severe thunderstorms that ever visited this community passed over Tuesday evening beginning about 4 o’clock. The streetcars were held up for power, none getting to Yorkville until 7 o’clock. Many were stranded at Yorkville and many of our Aurora visitors used the more reliable Burlington train to get home.”

From Oswego, the Record reported: “The village board in special session Thursday night passed the ordinance granting the Western United Gas and Electric Company the franchise for supplying gas for commercial purposes to the village for 50 years.”

The Record also reported: “Mrs. A.E. Rowswell died very suddenly at her home in Oswego Monday, June 28. She had been in her usual good health and retired feeling well on Sunday night. She was, however taken sick early Monday morning and died in the evening. It is thought that her illness was caused by Ptomaine poisoning.”

July 1908

A headline in the Record read: “Rowdy Conduct at Riverview Park,” followed by this report from Montgomery: “Charles Dyer of Yorkville and another man by the name of Gilliam of Oswego got full of old rye while in Aurora Saturday afternoon and started out looking for trouble of which they got plenty before they had finished. This morning they were tried before magistrate Klees who fined Dyer $15 and costs and Gilliam $25 and costs as an example for others to take heed. After procuring a regular holiday “bun” Saturday afternoon the men boarded the car for Oswego in a drunken condition and became disorderly. After being asked by Conductor Banker, who was in charge of the car, to stop smoking and spitting on the floor, the two became ugly. Near the stove works the conductor stopped the car to put them off when Gilliam struck him in the face, which was badly swollen when the conductor appeared in court this morning. Several similar cases have happened before but the offenders have managed to escape. The foul language used by the men was disgraceful and as many women on the car were forced to sit and listen to it, the men escaped with only what they deserved. Dyer was not fined so heavily as Gilliam as the latter provoked the trouble.

July 1893

The Columbian Exposition (World’s Fair) had opened in Chicago. The Record’s Oswego correspondent reported that the fair “now the absorbing topic” of conversation.

July 1883

The Record reported: "Aurora is getting metropolitan: Sunday games at base ball park, beer garden, and other non-Puritanical notions."

July 187

A news item from the Record: “Several men from Oswego, Yorkville, and Bristol figured in the Aurora Police Court as having taken too much patriotism on the Fourth. They took it out of a tumbler. $5 and costs.”

The Record also reported: “Because there are so many Oswegos in the U.S. and the mail keeps getting mixed up, U.R. Strooley suggests that the name be changed. ‘Oswego,’ pronounced in ordinary conversation, the first two syllables are generally merged into each other. One of our correspondents, who doubtless got the name by merely hearing it spoken, always directs his letter ‘Swego.’ This is the case with other places such as ‘Rora’ instead of Aurora. So he suggested in that issue that the name of the town be changed to Swego. Evidently it did not happen.”

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