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During Our Time



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THE NEXT CHAPTER OF THIS SERIES WILL EXPLORE OUR TIME IN STREATOR -- 1940 to the present -- with pictures, most of which come from the Facebook page "You know you grew up in Streator . . .  ." I'm sure all of you would find this Facebook feature fascinating, for it not only contains photos but has comments, questions and answers, and fond memories from Streator people who may now live in other parts of the country. Do check it out.
Streator: During our Time
Streator Township High School
Home of the Bulldogs
View of Main Street from the Top of the Lipton Building
Main Street Bridge

Garfield Elementary School


Anthony Company



Hamburger Inn



Grace Methodist Church



Annual Balloon Ascention on Labor Day





THE STREATORLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY has graciously granted us permission to gather bits and pieces from their fascinating publication, Unionville Dispatch, to present as a refresher course on what was happening in our town from 1940, the year many of us were born, to the present. We'll examine businesses, laws, and events, hear about people who made the news, read about the War years, and much more.

I, again, urge you to visit the historical society's museum at 306 S. Vermillion, thank them for allowing us to use their interesting articles, and consider Society membership.


Streator: During Our Time 


A colorful program was held on January 3rd to celebrate the completion of Kimes School. The building, which housed grades 3 - 6 with four classrooms, a library, a health room, faculty workroom, office and gymnasium, cost $136,500; the site $25,000 and equipment, $7,500. Not one bond was sold to pay for its construction

The Union National Bank introduced a "Curb Teller" on Park Street which permitted patrons to drive alongside and transact their banking without leaving their car.

The Streator Bulldogs dropped their 5th straight North Central conference game 71 - 65 to Rock Falls. Coach F.J. McInerney's leading scorers were Gail Erschen, 16 pts.; Ray Stinar, 16 pts.; Randy Moore, 11 pts.; and Bill Ryan, 7 pts,

Restoration of Streator's south side sewer interceptor along with the construction of new lines to the northwest quarter of the city, was brought a step closer at last week's city council meeting with the adoption by the council of a resolution authorizing acceptance of plans and specifications for the project. The plans for the $558,000 improvement were prepared by the engineering firm of Warren & Van Praag, Decatur. Mayor Ray Sopher indicated that construction would start early in the spring.

Coach Reno Nori's Bulldogs defeated Peoria Richwoods 21-20 in a thrilling wrestling match held on the local mats. Scoring pins for Streator were Capt. Bob Rubis and Marvin Carby, and scoring decisions for the Bulldogs were Mark Ingalsbe, Otto Geisholt and Bill Gotch.

Cable television for Streator and environs was assured with the issuance by the city council of a 20 year franchise to the Streator T.V. Cable CO. for the operation of a transmission system providing the community with "piped-in" T.V.

Ralph Gustafson was installed as president of the Kiwanis Club of Streator. Other officers were Leo Sternberg, vice president; Walter Westwood, secretary-treasurer; John Miller and Andy Menzie, directors.

Telephones in the Owens-Illinois Glass plant and in about 50 homes in the near vicinity were blasted out of service when a New Year's Eve reveler used a shotgun on a 26-pair cable in 1951.
(Unionville Dispatch, January 1991)


Materlal that normally would ,have become a pair of overalls or a pair of silk stockings was very scarce during the early 1940's because most of it went into the war effort. This prevailed all over the world.

Chero Grako, President of the Streator Chapter of the st. Joseph's Mutual Society urged citizens to donate unwanted clothing for the war stricken people of occupied Italy. He added that the clothing be delivered to the Grako Food Market, 419 E. Main st. or a ,simple call to him would guarantee its' pickup.

The Society was one of the many Italian-American lodges throughout the country which was co-operating in this worthy cause.

NOTE: Remember the leg 'paint the women used to use because of the shortage of silk stockings; a little rain and they looked like they were wearing stockings made of zebra skin.
(Unionville Dispatch, January, 1986)



The Green Lantern Sandwich Shop located on North Bloomington Street, was opened in the late 1920s by two residents of Princeton. One of their first employees was Alwyn "Stoney" Lonq, Jr., who had just graduated from high school.

The Green Lantern was first noted for its maid-rite sandwich, as well as for its tenderloin sandwich. The maid-rite was a concoction of finely ground beef, made barbcque style, and served on a round bun. It was a mouth-watering sandwich and probably contained a million caIories.

Art Lampson, in the early day of over 50 years in the food business, worked at the Green Lantern a couple of years after it opened, when it was owned by Chuck Brems.

During the Depression years the place was open & closed at several intervals. Its owner-operators, at separate times, were Jullis and Pete 0blcr. I remember when Pete was runnl.no it - hi co cooler had a belt-driven compressor i hat t)C.\ctt out a steady rhythm that cl sony writ·r could have Cl. (ted a melody around.

Pete liked to sing and was a qreat admirer of Henry Burr who sang ballads and hymns on the radio. Often, with your breakfast, you'd get a duet of Pete and Henry belting out a hymn together. I recall that "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder" was one of Pete’s favorites.

The lot occupied by the Green Lantern is now part of Virtz Z. Hill building.

The dining room in the Plumb Hotel, at the northwest corner of the Main & Bloomington Streets, ran for over a half century. In longevity it topped all other westend dining emporiums.

Although in the same location all of its years, the gri11 did endure changes in name, as did the hotel itself. For example, in 1920 the grill was The Illinois and the hotel was the Illinois Hotel. Later of course, both places reverted to the Plumb name.

In its earliest time, around the turn of the century, the Plumb Grill was the place to be, and to be seen. It was the locale of card parties, cIub meetings, and the place for all sorts of special assemblies.

It was my privileqe, on only a few occasions, to eat at the Plumb, usually with my grandfather who lived at the Plumb. Much more often in later times, I was a patron of the hotel basement bar in the 1950s and 1960s, when Morrison and then Booth were in charge.



During world War II, one sugar stamp allowed a person 5 pounds every two and a half months.
(Unionville Dispatch, January, 1986)


It was August and Dollar Day was at hand—and it was exactly that—items for a dollar. Here's what a dollar bought back then from businesses that are no longer here:

  • Streator Dry Goods had children's sweaters, $l
  • Cotton brassieres, $1 at Louise's
  • Union suits,$1 at Mushro's
  • Dietman's Paint had enamel paint, 1 quart for $l
  • Tom's food Centre, 10 pounds of sugar, $l
  • Gamble's had claw hammers, $l
  • Jack's Men’s Wear, belt, $l
  • Miller Jones, ladies shoes, $1
  • Roy's Prep shop had boys shirts, $l
  • Scharfenberg's, Enro shirts, $1
  • Fredman's had garment bags, $l
  • Gotch Radio had 45's, 4 for $1

(Unionville Dispatch, August 1991)


In the spring of 1945, a few coin collectors, some woodworkers and a couple of model airplane enthusiasts decided to find someplace to show their wares. Hobbyists set up their displays in the ladies parlor and lobby of the old YMCA building. Organizing the first hobby show was Ben King, the YMCA's hobbies promoter. About 500 people attended. The next year, the enthusiasts formed the Streator Hobby Council -- the same group that has been sponsoring the annual show ever since.

By 1947, the YMCA was jammed with displays for that year’s show; and additional tables had to be brought in from the Elks Club, Owens, The Streator Club and St. Anthony Church. The hall became so crowded that there was barely room for the public to walk between the displays, according to reports. When the same problems appeared during the 1948 show, some people attending the show began to complain. Arrangements were made to move to the Armory, and it has been held there since.

By 1955, the show was renowned in north-central Illinois. In 1956, a camera crew from a Champaign television station covered the event.

By 1960, the show truly was a well-organized, smooth-operating event. Road signs were erected at Streator's four entrances in 1961. The next year, "Mr. Hobby" a copyrighted cartoon figure, was adopted as the official mascot of the show. Created by Hobby Council member William Neumann, the character was used for advertising and promoting the event.

Since then, the show has continued to grow. One year, a local airplane pilot even flew over the city and other nearby communities trailing a banner advertising the event.



Jerome "Raney" Rabbitt ran a candy store and confectionery at 108 S. Bloomington St. in the middle 1920s. He also operated the upper floors of the premises as a rooming house.      .

Raney Rabbitt was an excellent candy maker, a fact I can attest to as I was a boy chum of some of his children and was often treated to some of his best.

After selling his business he was employed by Coppin's Dairy.

At 101 W. Main Street, Bill Mathieu's old corner could serve as the basis of a good book on good eating and fine drinking all by itself.           

Bill Mathieu lived in Streator as a child and through his high school days. He then moved to Chicago and resided there some years until he returned here to open his place after the end of prohibition. During his time in the Windy City, he worked in numerous restaurants and supper clubs ending up with the Pabst Blue Ribbon casino at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933-34.

On his return to Streator, Mathieu opened his old corner at Main and Bloomington Streets on a shoestring. He later told that he had free rent until he got the place going—uncle owned the building—and a half-barrel of Bud provided by Charles Trapp on credit. Business was so dull at first, Bill told, that for about the 1OOth time, he read a library book every day. -

Bill bought imported Swiss and other cheeses, imported sardines, black rye bread, and the like in Chicago. He made his [own] tangy mustard.

He was an authority on mixed drinks, at a time shortly after Prohibition, when most liquor servers and tipplers knew very little about their preparation. He made up whisky sours by the gallon for the young crowd to take along to dances, and he was noted for his superb Tom Collins. He had a "drink of the day" special—a different cocktail daily at a reduced price. Bill and his employees always shook their drinks by hand, even after the advent of the electric blender. John Zimmerman was his ace bartender; and I know that if John were tending bar today, there are those who would go there just to see him shake their drinks.

Mathieu was an even better chef than bartender. He knew steaks and other meats and how to prepare them. Anything eaten there was special delight.

Blessed with a wonderful sense of humor, Bill Mathieu was a top notch host and a great guy to be with on or off his job. He was everyone's idea of what a tavern keeper should be. He was jovial, fast with a quip, ready to listen and help with your troubles, and would offer advice only when it was sought.

Mathieu always had good help. In addition to Zimmerman, in his early days his staff included Richard "Boots" Hoffner, Tony Ragusa, Charles Berry, and Joseph "Bones" Cahill.

A stickler for cleanliness, Mathieu checked to be sure all glassware was clean daily. His employees were always neat in appearance, and nobody, including the proprietor, drank on the job. He always used to say: There's no bad whisky, some is better than others. I do believe the same thing could be said of his food.



VFW rallied for a pair of runs in the 6th inning to whip Anthony’s in a hard fought encounter. Cooney Sopko's plant club took a 2-1 lead in its half of the 6th, but the vets capitalized on a pair of wild pitches, an infield error, and a walk to push across the deciding markers.

The big VFW frame got underway when Dwyer dropped Jack Barickman's pop fly near second. Butterfield walked and both runners advanced on a sacrifice by Andy Bednar. Al Hudachko then uncorked two successive wild pitches, allowing Barickman and Butterfield to tromp home.

Johnny Harmeson was the winning mound’s man, limiting Anthony's to four hits and fanning 11. Hudachko restricted VFW to five blows and whiffed a half dozen.

Two games are scheduled at the high school field tonight, The first a city league battle between Ionized Club and Parkway, and the second tilt a Central Illinois Industrial Conference scrap between Streator Farmer's Friend and Peoria Gipp's All-Stars.


IN NOVEMBER, 1969, Thompson Food Basket, 1110 East Main, was offering tom turkeys, 53¢ a pound; fresh oysters, $1.49 a pint; three pounds of coffee for $1.69; margarine, 36¢ a pound; and ice cream, a half-gallon for 79¢. (Unionville Dispatch, April 1991)

CHIEF ANDREW KOLESAR AND LT. HAROLD MANYPENNY attended a session on bomb detection and disposal sponsored by the La Salle County Sheriff at Ottawa in July 1969. (Unionville Dispatch, April 1991)

EAGLE SCOUT CRAIG ULLOM, a member of Scout Troop 70 sponsored by the Streator National Guard, attended the Seventh National Jamboree at Farragut State Park in Idaho. Ullom was the only Streator scout attending the Jamboree. (Unionville Dispatch, April 1991)

ERWIN GAUTSCHY, 1712 N. Bloomington Street, retired from his duties with the Public Service Co., after 43 years in the electric utility business in June, 1963. (Unionville Dispatch, April 1991)

ALBERT AND GRACE (SWAIN) MARTIN announced that they were the new managers of the Fireside Restaurant taking over operations from Helen Reick Killian in April 1958. (Unionville Dispatch, April 1991)

RAY EUTSEY, Streator's chief executive, won the Republican nomination for sheriff by a decisive margin. It placed him in a strong position of becoming the first sheriff of LaSalle Co. out of Streator since 1918, when the late Manley Davis rounded out a four year term in that post. (Unionville Dispatch, April 1991)

IN APRIL 1948, removal of the huge radio tower which had been situated in the southwest corner of the city park registered favorably with hundreds who had long regarded the structure as a despoiler of the park's beauty. (Unionville Dispatch, April 1991)

BERNARD AND WALTER ARMSTRONG announced that they were taking over the interests of their father, Fred Armstrong, who was retiring after 20 years of service in the general contracting business in April 1948. (Unionville Dispatch, April 1991)

IN APRIL 1958, A & P Grocery was offering a one pound tin of coffee, 85¢; bacon, two pounds for $1.09; 25 pounds of potatoes, $1.69; strawberries, 29¢ a pint; rib roast - 5th and 6th rib, 59¢ lb. or 1st - 4th rib, 67¢ a pound. (Unionville Dispatch, April 1991)

DONALD SCHNEIDER, son of Mr. and Mrs. Don Schneider, 303 Iowa Ave., received the annual Bausch and Lomb Science Award as part of senior honors Class Night in June 1963. The award is recognized throughout the U.S. as evidence of superior scientific aptitude. (Unionville Dispatch, April 1991)

THE TIME WAS IN RECENT YEARS, we've seen the tearing down of the Plumb Theatre, the Plumb Hotel, and Ralph Plumb School. We had always hoped that another structure would be erected and bear the Plumb name. Well, during 1990, Streator Unlimited did build an extended living site on the old site of Ralph Plumb School, and named it we still should be grateful enough to not let that name slip by future generations. (Unionville Dispatch, April 1991)

DESERT STORM ln February, 1991 the Society sent copies of the Unionville Dispatch to all of the Streator area men and women serving in Operation Desert Storm, along with pictures of the fantastic support walk that was held in Streator. We received a letter of thanks from S/Sgt. Torn Pavlick, serving with the Security Police unit securing an air base in central Saudi Arabia. Torn wrote," Thanks for the newsletter. It made for some enjoyable reading. I really appreciated it. The big wait now is to go home." (Unionville Dispatch, April 1991)



  • Mrs. Cassie Bronson of Streator, who witnessed the Chicago Fire of 1871, passed away at St. Mary's Hospital.
  • Ester Benning won the $1000 in the Streator merchants give-away program.
  • Lyle Bennion was elected the new president of the Civic Association.
  • The Eagles Club Minstrel, "Dixie Scandals" was agreat success at the S.H.S. auditorium. Listed as the "Streator Belles" in the show were John Rehbein, Jesse James, William Gaefke, Vern Hooper, Will Bell and Virgil McCumsey. Gypsy Rose Lee was played by John Bodznick.
  • Streator's annual Hobby Show was cranking up.
  • Mary Lee Robb, born in Streator and who was "Margie" on the "Great Gildersleeves" radio show, married in Los Angeles, California.
  • The Sisters Grill advertised beef stew, salad, potatoes, bread and butter, and coffee for just 85¢.
  • McGuire Brothers, 50/-503 E. Brdige, announced that their grocery business was for sale or lease. The store originally opened in 1892.
  • William Teberg, who had been repairing shoes in Streator since 1909, retired, and turned his favorite hammer over to Lloyd West who will manage it for the owner Arnold Teberg, son of the founder.
  • Milk was 21¢ a quart at the Streator Fruit Market, 411 E. Main Street.
  • Streatorites were looking forward to February when the Golden Gloves and the Firemen's Ball would take place.
  • Our Mayor was Albert E. Dietman and the City Clerk was Roy Rathbun.




  • Manilla was taken by the Japs.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Justin Simpson of Blackstone had the honor of becoming the parents of the first baby born in 1947 at St. Mary's Hospital. And--as a reward, the mother and child received free hospitalization.
  • January 1st saw the marriage of Miss Marie E. Fosler, dauqhter of Mrs. Pauline Fosler, Streator, to Mr. L.D. Purkis of Chicago.
  • Local police authorities received an order from U.S. attorney General Riddle to request that all enemy aliens from Germany, Italy, and Japan in Streator surrender radio transmitters, radio receiving sets, cameras, and firearms. Such items were to be turned over to the Streator police.
  • Headquarters and sewing rooms of the Streator Chapter of the American Red Cross were transferred from the LeRoy Building at Main and Monroe to the Good Will Hall.
  • More than 2000 fans filled the new Kingman Memorial playhouse in Ottawa to watch Pop Dale's Bulldogs beat the Ottawa Pirates 53-36. It was their 11th straight win.
  • 2l year old Mickey Rooney and his 19 year old actress sweetheart Ava Gardner were married on January 12th.
  • Ralph Jones, who enlisted in the Navy in October and was a talented musician, left for the Great Lakes Naval Training Station where he entered the naval station band as a flutist following three weeks of training under quarantine.
  • Walter and Ronald Weber, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Weber, 204 E. 1st Street, arrived in San Diego, California to secure employment with the Consolidated Aircraft Company. The boys, formerly employed at the Anthony Company, were met at San Diego by Richard Oertel, John Fincham, William Paton, and Thomas Sweet, all former local men employed by Consolidated Aircraft.
  • Baker's Store was offering butter at 33¢ a pound; a No. 2 can of white corn, peas, or tomatoes, 10¢; and oranges, 10¢ a dozen.

(Unionville Dispatch, January 1990)



By George (Perry) Repko

The year was 1945 and I was on my way home from the Philippines to be discharged from the Army. I was hoping to make it home by Christmas. I was in San Francisco with 5 days to go but was going through Denver on Christmas Eve. I went through Ottawa, Illinois (15 miles from my home in Streator), but I had to go to Fort Sheridan for my discharge and my $100 discharge pay. I finally got home on December 27th (my birthday).

Waiting at the station was my wife and two children - my little girl who I had never seen - and my son. I was home about a week and my brother asked me if I wanted a job. Andy was a milkman at the Illinois Valley Dairy and told me I had a job if I wanted it.

On January 3, 1946, my career as a milkman started. It was a cold winter with nothing but snow and ice for about a month.

I got introduced to my horse Kate, a big dapple grey who had a mind of her own - I was soon to find out. Learning the route wasn't too bad because the horse knew the way and most of the time would stop at the right house, but if you got a new customer, it would take a while for the horse to learn to stop. I trained with a helper for a week and then was on my own.

The day started at 5 o'clock in the morning for me. Other drivers started any time from 2:30 AM on. I went to the barn which was on Main Street across from the fire station and there was my horse - harnessed and lantern lit. She was all ready to go, taken care of by Al Bute who took care of the horses.

I then went to the dairy to load my milk. It sure was cold - I dressed for it - two shirts, two pants, two pairs of socks, boots, sweater and my Army field jacket. You also had to put on your creepers so you could walk on the ice. Some fun! Kate was also prepared with plugs in her horseshoes so they could grip in the ice. You had to be careful crossing the railroad tracks so that the shoes didn't get caught and come off.

On your way now, with the clippity clop and the jingle and rattle of bottles - sure is quiet and dark this hour of the morning. So, "milkman, keep those bottles quiet." Flashlight in hand, you look for the [empty] bottles on the porch. Where are they? By the door behind the post on the steps by the back door. There it is! You learn fast.

Note in the bottles for extras, frozen money in bottles from cash customers. Put inside the door - behind the post - out of the sun - put in the refrigerator. You knew your customers were having company during the holidays by what was ordered. We also had a colored marker that fit in the bottle to let you know what they wanted.

The town was divided in four parts, the dividing lines being Main Street and Vermillion Street. My route was everything north of Main and west of Vermillion, including Riverside. You took half of it one day and the other half the next. The stores on your route were covered every day. You had close to 200 customers, plus all of the stores and schools. Milk was delivered seven days a week!

Kate was a good old horse, but she had her "faults." Early in the morning she relieved herself at the same place every morning. Where? In front of Elias Funeral Home! So, lose a customer or deliver from the corner.

Semi's? Hold those reins tight or off you go.

Take too much time at a store: Kate takes off through yards, over hedges. The garbage man catches her two blocks away going to the barn.

Come to a dead end street: she turns around to meet you.

The only way she would move was to get behind her ear and go click-click with your tongue and she would move.

One time she was scared by a truck. There was a. steep berm and up she went trying to get away, kicking up sod; and the wagon swaying and bottles and cases flying out of the door. There I was, holding on for dear life.

Every milkman will tell about the milk frozen and popping over the bottle cap to the dogs and cats delight -- so make sure you get that milk when you hear the bottles rattling. But, in the summertime when the kids heard the milkman coming, they all congregate and holler, "Give me a piece of ice." A bad thing to get started, because they were there every day.

The route wouldn't be complete if I did not tell you about my faithful friend - a little white dog. I never gave him a name and didn't know who he belonged to. He was there every morning and stayed with me until we finished the route. He had a very peculiar thing he did. When big dogs were around and he got scared, he would get under Kate and the other dogs couldn't touch him. He was safe under Kate.

School milk was 3¢ a pint - 15¢ a week for those who could afford it.

Janitors took care of it usually at the back door of the schools, dividing it up according to the class rooms. Milk prices in 1946 were 'for ,home delivery 12¢ a quart, 2 for 25¢; 8¢ a pint for cottage cheese, 10¢ a carton for a half pint of whipping crème; 18¢ for buttermilk and chocolate milk was 12¢. My Salary was $27.50 a week - 6 days a week - 8 hours a day!

Men who delivered milk by horse drawn wagons were Taylor Smith, Bill Smith, Gus Hansen. Fred Anderson, Wilford Beamer, Bob Babczak, Andy Repko, George Perry Repko, Tim Mehall and Pete Mehall.

So, that's the story of the last of the horse drawn dairy wagons and the cloppity clop of the old gray mare.

Repko Footnote: The new era of the Truck - 1947. A new Divco truck -- stand up and drive - more cases of milk - more customers - 400 home deliveries and 20 stores. Competition - 5 dairies in town - Illinois Valley, Coppins, Bordens, Med-O-Gold, Roszell, Pecks Super Dairy. The stand up truck drivers were Harold Zolper, Frank Jonen, Bill Evans, Phil Corrigan, Gene Murphy and Joe Yanek.

Home delivery starts to go down.' Cheaper at stores. bigger. From the wagon in 1946 with a load of 100 cases being a milkman 31 years later - over 500 cases a day or ACHING BACK!

NOTE: Mr. Repko has donated to the museum several pictures of the dairy, one of him and Kate, the Illinois Valley wooden nickels, an ice bag his delivery hat and many other items from a much slower paced time in Streator's history.)
(Unionville Dispatch, March & April, 1992)


IN THE 1950'S --                        

The 1950's began on a good note when Lawrence Welk appeared at the Indian Acres.

In 1951, we experienced the worst flood in the town's history. The present American Legion Building was built during that year.

1952 saw Little League Baseball begin in Streator.

Two church buildings were erected in 1954: The Seventh Day Adventist and the Trinity Lutheran. Oakland and Northlawn schools were also erected in 1954.

In 1956 Washko's Bargain Store opened and 'the Dew Line set up south of town.

In 1957 two major long standing businesses closed: Metcalf's Furniture and Best Foods, Inc.

In 1958 The Community Players began their trek to success,s and the long awaited swimming pool became a reality.

And in 1959, St. Paul's Lutheran built their new church at the former site of Col. Ralph Plumb's home on East Broadway.


Today was moving day at Streator High School. "And it went off like clockwork," Superintendent Lloyd Henson told the Times Press.

Starting with first classes at 8:30 am students moved from the old building to nine class rooms and a study hall on the second and third floors of the new addition - occupying the new quarters for the
first time since construction was started in October, 1960.

The transition involved an average of from 270 to 330 students hourly. There was little milling about and no confusion as the pupils quickly learned the whereabouts of their new rooms and reported on time. Supt. Henson expressed complete satisfaction with the orderly process in view of the number of students who changed locations.


STREATOR HIGH SCHOOL officially opened its doors on September 3, 1963. There was a total enrollment of 1553 students and 61 teachers. Streator Grade School also started that day with a total of 2,584 children registered at the nine grade schools.
(Unionville Dispatch, September 1991)

MORE THAN 1,000 PEOPLE attended the grand opening festivities at Bowl Mor Lanes when the alleys launched a new season under the new management of the Hudachko Brothers, Bob and George.
(Unionville Dispatch, September 1991)

THRONGS OF PEOPLE were on hand at the Vermillion Boat Club to view the spectacular fireworks display on Labor Day, 1963. All of the set pieces were designed by Robert Padgett and Larry Hitchell with the labor done by members of the boat club. The fireworks were set up across the river from the boat club to enhance the fireworks' beauty by reflection.
(Unionville Dispatch, September 1991)

NATIONAL FOOD STORES IN WESTGATE PLAZA was offering a one pound package of breaded shrimp for 79¢; whole fryers were 29¢ a pound; tomato soup was 10¢ a can; two pounds of coffee was $1.19; and seedless grapes were two pounds for 29¢ in September 1963.
(Unionville Dispatch, September 1991)

COACH RENO NORI'S BULLDOGS were ready for the first game of the season against Marquette in September 1963. Gene Daugherity was quarterback; Mike Marx and Tom Detrick, halfbacks; Tommy Woodward, fullback; Dean Scudder, end; Dale Telford and Bob Shook at tackle; Joe Hoffman and Dave (Bud) Ross at guards; Tim Finefield at center and Bob Morgan as right end. The Bulldogs were victorious 21-7.
(Unionville Dispatch, September 1991)

 ERNIE EMO OF THE FLY ALL STARS pitched an almost perfect game July 7,
 1954 as the local team defeated the Spring Valley Merchants 5-0 in the
 first round of the Pontiac Softball Tournament.
 (Unionville Dispatch, July 1991)

TOP SAVE IN WESTGATE PLAZA was having Dog Days in July 1966 with plenty of dogs to choose from: men's trousers, $1.50; ladies hose, 24¢ a pair; full size plastic drapes, 48¢; Ladies genuine madras shirts, $1.00. There was also a dog show for kids under 12, plus hot dogs and a Coke for 11¢.
(Unionville Dispatch, August 1991)

G.C. MURPHY CO. HAD A GRAND OPENING on August 11, 1966 to show off its new store arrangements of new low eye level displays and its newest feature of all, the new lunch room. It had a crew of 12 girls under manager Cheryl Ruestman and seated 42. M.C. Bridge was store manager assisted by Dorothy Killian and D.L. Spencer.
(Unionville Dispatch, August 1991)

THE CORNELL-RANSOM TELEPHONE COMPANY made the switch to modern dial telephones on August 13, 1966. The change put several veteran switch- board operators out of work. Clara Leonard had been on the switchboard for 45 years; Lela Morris, 35 years; and Mae Chester, 25 years.
(Unionville Dispatch, August 1991)

IN AUGUST 1966, ST. MARY'S HOSPITAL WAS facing rising costs in the birth rate, citing the modern need for expensive and modern luxuries and an increasing use of the birth control pill. The birth rate in 1960 was 875, dropping to 681 births in 1966.
(Unionville Dispatch, August 1991)

IN AUGUST 1956, PRIZES AWARDED AT A TWO BALL FOURSOME enjoyed at the Streator Country Club went to the following - Low gross, Lois Cronk and Robert Drysdale; Low net, Grace Drysdale, Fred Cronk, Harold Hepner, Ethel Stone; S.E. Dennehe and Noranna Dell. (Unionville Dispatch, August 1991)

IN AUGUST 1966, SILVERFROSS was advertising that it had the only hi-fi fone ordering system in Streator. As a customer's order was given, it was heard by the operator but also by the cook, thus speeding up the order. Silverfross also had their own ice-making machine that made their iced lemonade, priced at 10¢ and 20¢, very popular. It was all under the root beer tree, even back in 1966, as it is today! (Unionville Dispatch, August 1991)

CADETS RUDOLPH BENSTINE, KENNETH H. BUTE, GEORGE E. GILMAN, RICHARD B. GOODMAN, ROGER MAYERCHIN AND WILIAM J. WOODWARD from the Streator area returned from summer encampment held by the Illinois Wing of the Civil Air Patrol at Chanute Air Force Base, Rantoul in July 1956. (Unionville Dispatch, August 1991)


Beginning in the February, 1989 issue of The Unionville Dispatch a short series concerning local restaurants of 50 or 60 years ago was featured. These fun and informative articles were written by Lyle Kennedy who went from newsboy to City Editor at the Streator Daily Times Press. Lyle’s introduction and three restaurant reviews follow:

“There were a lot of great places for food in the area for a block or so from the intersection of Main and Bloomington Streets in the ‘Roaring Twenties’ and for more than a decade thereafter.

“I guess it was because I was always hungry that I hung around these various eating places from my sixth or seventh grade days until after I was marries.

“Not only were these places great for food, the people who owned or managed them, or were otherwise employed in their operation, were highly interesting too. Many were rugged individualsts and would scorn doubtful, blessings afforded by government today.”

Candy Kitchen was among the first eateries I was attracted to. Located at 106-108 E. Main Street, it was run by a partnership consisting of Eddie Hall and Charles "Jocko" Silva. In addition to being a restaurant, the Candy Kitchen was also a confectionery, serving ice cream, sodas, sundaes, and other goodies.

Meals were served at all hours at the Candy Kitchen; I recall my dad buying me a meal ticket for the place one time when my mother was away. I ordered their locally famous hot beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy for about six straight days until Eddie Hall forced me to change to a better balanced diet.

Hall and Silva ran the place for only a few years beginning in the mid-1920s. Silva was employed at the Welter & Lloyd Shoe Store, 121 E. Main Street. Hall then had an ice cream parlor at 108 S. Bloomington Street; and after that, he was employed at Jodie’s Cigar Store in the 400 block of E. Main Street. Hall was also an outstanding City of Streator Commissioner, serving in that capacity for a number of years.

Coney Island was stablished in 1925 at 112 N. Bloomington Street, with Peter Denos as proprietor. This place specialized in Coney Island hot dogs, which were a dream.  A "Coney Island" is a wiener on a steamed hot dog bun. It is topped with mustard, a chili-like sauce, and chopped onions. To a youngster not yet in his teens, they were a triumph. The essence of one of these delights was plainly discernible a distance from the source and -- for five cents -- was irresistible.          .

The Coney Island was in business here for only a few years before it was moved to Joliet. Before its tenure, 112 N. Bloomington Street was the home of a piano business and afterwards, a chicken hatchery before becoming Smitty’s Place.

Bill Schmitz and his son Dick owned the place at 112 N. Bloomington Steet. It was a tavern as well as well as an eatery and was a popular lunch stop for downtown workers after the end of prohibition. Bill Schmitz did most of the cooking and made fine lunches and sandwiches. Especially remembered is a liver stuffing which made baked fish as smooth as honey. Sandwiches leaned toward the Germanic, with spicy meats pickles, raw onions, and sharp mustard.

After Dick Schmitz sold out in the early 1970s, the place became Beaver's Tap and then Teke Lounge before becoming a victim of the "wrecking ball." The Plumb Hotel was demolished then too.      

----- LYLE KENNDY -----



  • George Ashworth, S.H.S. football mentor, was named Illinois Coach of the Year by the Champaign News Gazette. Ashworth's 1958 football team finished with the first unbeaten record in the history of the high school with nine straight wins. His best previous record was in 1952 when Streator was 7-1-1 and tied Decatur for the Big 12 championship.
  • Panno's Pizza Plaza, 2104 N. Bloomington, was having their grand opening on December 2nd and was offering a half chicken, fries, salad, and bread and butter for 99 cents.
  • John Ramza, bowling with the Rokey's Flame Room team, finished just short of a 700 series with games of 206, 230, & 249 for a 685 series.
  • Demolition of the Williams Hardware building at 115 S. Vermillion Street began on December 17th. A spokesman for the Cleveland Wrecking Company said it would take about 10 days to level the site and 3 weeks to clear the site. The Williams building was erected in 1931.
  • December 19th marked the last day of the Times Press use of the 16 page Potter Press which had serviced the paper since 1921. The new Hoe press could print 30,000 papers an hour as compared to 10,000 with the old press.
  • Theodore Drug Store was celebrating 50 years of business in December. Many floral tributes decorated the store; one was from Ruth (Haul tram) Eades of California, one of their first employees. Men now employed in the store who started working there during their high school days, graduating later from the U. of I. Pharmacy school, included Martin Eisenbart, Philip Covnot, and Rolin Cate.
  • Another building was in the process of erection in Westgate Plaza, according to Cephas Williams. The building will be occupied by National Tea Company super market when it is complete.

(Unionville Dispatch, December 1990)


Word got around that there would be nylons at the G.C. Murphy Store on Feb. 19, 1946 and that was all that was needed. At 8 AM; at least 20 women had gathered by the door; by 9 AM, no less than 600 hopefuls made up the stampede. By 9:30 AM, the crowd had dispersed with only a small percentage possessing the 144 pair of leg adornments.
(Unionville Dispatch, 1991)


THOSE DELICIOUS SWEET PICKLED BREEZES: MADE IN STREATOR SEPTEMBER 19, 1957. That was the date when all of Streator knew that the sweet smell of pickles cooking at 720 S. Bloomington Street would tickle their noses no more. Best Foods Inc. had decided to transfer all future operations to Norfolk, Virginia. The Streator plant for many years supplied the entire world market producing as many as 500,000 cases of pickles yearly, with operations starting in June and ending in the later part of September.

It had its beginnings in 1922 in the kitchen of Mrs. Eades, who each year put up cucumbers her son-in-law grew in his greenhouses adjacent to their home at 107 7th Street. The formula Irma Eades used was a simple one, used many times for may years by many housewives. It called for sliced cucumber, spirit of vinegar, sugar and salt with a mixture of spices to give it the necessary tang. Cora Fanning, Mrs. Eades daughter, was in a generous mood one day and passed out a few jars to some of her friends. They liked them and wanted more, insisting that they pay for them. Someone came up with the idea of placing them in the local grocery stores. They disappeared as soon as the grocer placed them on the shelf. Soon, came the salesmen who visioned great possibilities in the tasty product.

Neither Mrs. Eades or her daughter had any inclination that they were heading into the cucumber business -- not at first. When they considered that Mr. Fanning had a greenhouse adjacent to their home, the idea loomed as a tempting venture. They started small -- in a tiny building across from the greenhouse which housed enough room for a stove, vat and a cutting counter plus a few neighborhood women to help. The new industry was named "Fanning's Bread and Butter Pickles" with a copyright on it.

It also incorporated with Mrs. Eades, Richard Marshall, Dell Merritt, Mr. and Mrs. Fanning, Ted Eades and Guy McCloskey (who worked for Mr. Fanning in his greenhouses) as incorporators.

Business zoomed and the sought after item began to appear on the grocery counters all over town. It wasn't long before wholesalers and distributors beat a path to the "pickle factory." Needs for expansion were met as fast as they arose; and in a matter of 18 months, a row of buildings stretched several hundred feet just west of Bloomington Street.

By 1925, the plant was operating at full capacity, drawing its supply of pickles from within a 30 mile radius of Streator and giving employment to scores during the summer months. The expanding market stretched around the globe, taking the famous label and the name of Streator to all corners of the world.

In 1927, Best Foods Inc. made a fabulous offer to purchase the corporation and the stockholders accepted. The only member of the original founders to remain with the new owners was Guy McCloskey. In later years, cucumbers were shipped in from Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana, which because of shipping costs, contributed to the closing of the local plant. Local people found cucumber growing a non-profit adventure because of the demand concerning the size of the product.

(Note: Mrs. Fanning was for many years Society Editor of the Independent Times. Mr. Marshall, Mr. Eades, and Mr. Fanning operated the Ford Agency in Streator. Your Society museum has one lone reminder of this delicious business - a pickle jar bearing the label that took the name Streator to all parts of the world.)
(Unionville Dispatch, January 1992)



The following story was taken from the July,12, 1968 edition of the Streator Line 0' Nine, the weekly newspaper of Owens-Illinois Glass Co.

Frank Helander, of the Batch and Furnace Department, stopped in to tell us how an Owens-Illinois bottle made in Streator helped his brother Robert and a former army buddy locate each other.

Robert "Lefty" Helander served with the 24th Infantry Division back in the early part of the Korean War. Recently he received a letter from an old army buddy, N.L. Hughes of Sandston, VA. Mr. Hughes had lost Robert's address and could not recall the name of the town where he lived.


THE "Y" CITY-WIDE Halloween party was attended by 280 children in 1963. Taking the prize for the scariest costume for 3rd and 4th grade was Terry Goldsmith; Jill Ann Carter, most original in pre-school; Sherrill King, the prettiest in 1st and 2nd grade; and Lincoln Reed, the funniest in 5th and 6th grade. A record hop was held for 250 7th and 8th grade students, plus a dance for 300 young adults was held. (Unionville Dispatch, November 1991)

THE STAR GARAGE was offering used car bargains: a five passenger Ford, with only about 800 miles with non-skid tires all round, was just $500, in November 1913. (Unionville Dispatch, November 1991)

THE NEW PARKING LOT on the Hickory Street side of City Park was completed, offering space for 30 vehicles. The Milo Luther fountain was reconditioned, sandblasted and moved north about 25 feet. The question of free parking in this lot was the topic of discussion for the city council in November 1963. (Unionville Dispatch, November 1991)

IN NOVEMBER 1963, Rudy's Market on Oakley Avenue, was offering chuck roast for 39¢ a pound, T-bone steak was 99¢ a pound; two pounds of coffee was $1.05; two pounds of frozen French fries were 35¢; Archway cookies were three for a dollar (Unionville Dispatch, November 1991)

THE FIRST SNOW of the season fell on Nov. 7, 1953.
(Unionville Dispatch, November 1991)



During the administration of Mayor Sopher, the City Park underwent several changes, one of which was the untimely removal of the bandstand in the center area of the park. On September 12, 1963, another section of the park was carved out to make room for a' parking lot on the south edge.

The Milo Luther fountain, which had stood at the Monroe Street entrance since it was installed in 1915, was moved north where it was to be framed with colored concrete blocks and mounted overhead with a name plate bearing the inscription "City Park". The fountain was to be sand blasted to restore its original luster.

Only two trees were to be removed from the area. The parking strip, which was to be of the same design and construction as the one to the west, was to be 33 feet in width, with the entrance on Vermillion Street and accommodate 33 vehicles. Mayor Ray Sopher said the city council favors free-parking in the new area, although meters were to remain in the existing lot, the proceeds to go towards replacement of the present names on the War Memorial, with distinguishable bronze name plates. All work was done by local contractors with a finish date of October 15th.
(Unionville Dispatch, September 1991)


1949, THE YEAR THAT . . .

  • Al Jolson was 63 years old.
  • William Ross was the chef at the Club Grove.
  • 19 barbers and 24 gas stations were located in Streator.
  • There were 6000 telephones in Streator. And 4,500 homes of which were owned by their occupants.
  • Ducky Hill was pitching for the Onized Club.
  • Ralph Novotney, local boy was playing baseball with the Chicago Cubs.
  • The American people chewed 148 million dollars’ worth of gum.
  • The lights went on in Britain for the first time in ten years.

(Unionville Dispatch, June 1990)


A Streator soldier, Private William Schmitz, 22, received a special news story in the columns of the Chicago Sunday Times during World War II, as the results of.an amusing incident at his base, Camp Forrest, Tenn. was revealed. The story follows:

"They say a dollar doesn't go very far these days, but here's one that did and, furthermore, seems to have done right proud by itself.

“It began one December on a rainy night when the soldiers, with nothing better to do, sat down to a game of cards. One of the men was Pvt. Bill Schmitz of Streator, Illinois

“Bill didn't do so well in the game and soon found himself down to his last dollar. He salvaged this greenback, had all the boys sign it, and put their outfits’ address on it. Then Pvt. Schmitz went out and spent the lonely buck.

“Recently an attractive brunette, Irene Pope, 19, of Chicago,' and a girlfriend went shopping. When she returned home, Irene began to count her change and she found a dollar bearing the soldier's names. She assumed that they were lonely, Irene and her girlfriend decided to
write to the soldiers. The effect was "amazing", she said. A reply was received forthwith from Pvt. Schmitz who wrote that the ‘descriptions you two gave of yourselves sounds too good to be true. Please send your pictures.’

“The Times gladly published Irene's pictures in connection with this story and one might add: ‘Do you blame the boys?’ Pvt. Schmitz was the son of Mrs. Kathleen Schmitz of 303 Court Street, enlisting in the Army on March 18, 1941, receiving basic at Fort Bragg, and then transferred to Camp Forrest for the field artillery.

(Taken in part from a clipping in the World War II scrapbook kept by Mrs. Mary Konchar Gochanour).


It was announced on May 10, 1946 that the graduation clocks in the Kerr Jewelry store had stopped and as a result Leslie Goslin Jr., of 103 E. LaRue Street, Streator and Delberta Wilson of Dana were the proud owners of beautiful Bulova wrist watches.

For the past 20 years Walter Kerr, owner of the jewelry store, has followed this custom for high school graduates. The clocks were started on Friday, April 26, the one containing the names of graduates in neighboring towns stopped on May 6, at 3:45 pm after running ten days. The other, containing the names of Streator graduates, ran 13 days, stopping at 8:17 pm May 9th. Graduates from Cornell, Long Point, Tonica, Varna, Rutland, Toluca, Dana, Lostant and Wenona were included on the clock for neighboring towns.
(NOTE: The Society museum has a graduation clock on display from the year 1962.)
(Unionville Dispatch, September 1991)


"Mile High" Wayman took off at the corner of Wasson and Main, went up about 2500 ft., detached himself and soared downward to the "oohs and aahs" of the crowds. He landed in the 3rd block of South Park Street and the balloon in the 3rd block of Court Street

The 2nd balloon ascension went like clock work early in the evening. "Mile High" went up again to 2500 feet, cut himself loose and floated down like a feather. This time he landed in the 2nd block of Washington Street with the balloon about 50 feet away in the. alley. That was capped off with a fire-works display that attracted 60,000 to the Braodway Show Grounds.
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1991)



  • The Streator YMCA was elected as one of the 25 most progressive associations in the country.
  • Lyle Kennedy, City Commissioner, again served as Matchmaker and A.A.U. inspector at the Times- Press American Legion Golden Gloves Tournament, held on February 11 and 12. Judges were Charles Guatschy and John Thew. Other judges included Minor Duvall, Charles Alderman, James Flynn, and Charles Trapp.
  • Miss Joyce Conner, 807 S. Park Street, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Garland Conner, was chosen "Airline Beauty of the Month" by the airline magazine, Between the Lines, for January 1953.
  • Ames Lumber, 524 E. Main, was offering oak flooring, 8 and 2/3¢ per 100 board foot; a five foot step ladder, $4.90; ceiling tile, 11¢ a square foot and 4 X 8 sheets of plaster board for $1.76.  
  • Arthur Allen and Dale Washburn, both of Streator, made it an "even gallon" when they visited the Red Cross blood center at the armory. They were presented with donor pins with gold stars attached.  
  • Ford Hopkins Tea Room was serving a chicken dinner for $1.25 and a one third pound sirloin steak dinner for $1.25.
  • After 34 years at the same location, the Piggly Wiggly Grocery was moving from 322 E. Main Street to a new building at 1110 E. Main Street.
  • Nine Streator men were inducted into the armed services during February. They were James Singer, Gene Bell, Dale G. Kozak, Chris Promenschenkel, Leon J. Williams, Walter F. Baxendale, Glenn R. Hanson, George A. Kennedy, and Gordon L. Davis.
  • James D. Green, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Green, 802 N. Vermillion, a senior at the University of Illinois, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Reserve Officers Training Corp at the University on February 15th.

(Unionville Dispatch, February 1990)


It was 46 years ago -- it was one of the greatest moments in our history - a time of celebration and joy - of family reunions and love ever after. And it was the golden age of America's popular music - the Hit Parade - the bobby soxer - used cars - ration stamps - and all the great men of our Armed Forces who came marching home to the sounds of American bandstands - The Andrew Sisters promising that I'LL BE WITH YOU IN APPLE BLOSSOM TIME -- Kay Kyser saying WHO WOULDN'T LOVE YOU and Kate Smith singing GOD BLESS AMERICA as the lights came on again - the very special melodies and words that were a part of our lives and still are. Every soldier, sailor and marine who endured the time of separation from loved ones will remember the thrill of that first homecoming embrace. It was a moment that will live forever in our hearts and in the music that helped keep the home fires burning.

Who can forget those immortal songbirds - Helen Forrest, The Mills Brothers, Bing Crosby, The Andrew Sisters, Dick Haynes, Dinah Shore, The Ink Spots, Jo Stafford, Helen O'Connell singing along with the world's greatest - Artie Shaw, Harry James Glenn Miller, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey - and many more. It was a time for rejoicing and a time to thank God for allowing us to come home to the ones we love the most. Who can forget? (Taken in part from VFW magazine)

And now, as the United States goes to war again, do not forget the men and women that are overseas. Show your support with a yellow ribbon, a flag on the porch, or a letter from home. (Unionville Dispatch, February 1991)

Arnold Greenfield announced on May 10, 1960 that the razing of the property at the southeast corner of Main and Bloomington Street, former site of the old Armory, would get underway immediately to clear the ground for a large modern air-conditioned building to be occupied by F.W. Woolworth Company. Greenfield also purchased the two adjoining buildings to the east, which were part of the LeRoy Estate. The building which it will occupy were acquired from the Kopf estate and Mr. and Mrs. L.F. Jacklin respectively. They have a combined frontage of 78 feet whereas the old Armory building and the LeRoy bulding had 75 feet.

The Armory was constructed in 1884. Its roof collapsed in July 1958 and the structure was left in ruins. It had seen several enterprises over the years including the Independent Times. Company B was on the second floor before moving to the new Armory. It also served as quarters for Company A, 3rd Illinois Volunteers which saw action in the Spanish American War. The Armory was a very popular place for dances and other social functions. (Unionville Dispatch, May 1991)


  • Horner & Jethro, WLS radio stars, who were a tremendous hit at the Streator Automobile Show in March, returned as one of the featured attractions at the Jaycee Exposition held at the Streator Armory on April 8 – 10.
  • Cpl. Billy Scott, Streator, a member of the Fifth Army Band, took top honors in a talent-studded review at Fort Sheridan March 29th as the first phase of the "All Army Talent Contest" got under way. The judges gave him the win for his vocal rendition of "Secret Love" and he became Fort Sheridan's representative in the 5th Army Talent Contest.
  • Russell Ahearn, former Streator high school athlete who coached Hebron to the State basketball championship in 1952, was hired as the Athletic head and varsity cage men- tor of the new Woodland School. Accompanying him from Hebron will be his assistant for several years, Phil Hadley, who also was names football coach at Woodland.
  • April 4th saw the dedication of the new Holy Trinity Slovak Lutheran Church with Rev. John Daniel as its pastor.
  • Larry Neumann, son of Mr. and Mrs. F. X. Neumann, 1215 Madison Street, was named Outstanding Junior Student of Streator High School. His name was engraved on a trophy presented to the school in 1951 by the Class of 1940.
  • Tom's Food Center, 405 E. Main, was offering a pound of coffee for $1.09; five pounds of sugar for 49¢; round steak, 59¢ a pound and a pound of bacon for 45¢.
  • Although T.V. was a new item, you could have seen Candid Camera, Fireside Theatre, Bar None Ranch, Sky King, Red Skelton, Milton Berle, Bishop Sheen, and Gene Autry.

(Unionville Dispatch, April 1990)


The Golden Gloves tourney was held on February 20, 1943. The winners went on to Chicago for the Tribune Tournament of Champions at the Stadium on February 22nd. Ralph Pollet, Streator's last survivor in the Golden Gloves, made it to the quarterfinals, but was eliminated from the tourney when he was knocked out by Virg Zakhi of Fort Wayne, Ind. in the second round. (Unionville Dispatch, February 1991)

The Streator P.N.A. Eagles won the Dwight holiday tournament on July 4 1964 behind the superb shutout pitching by the Massino Brothers, Gary and Joe. The Eagles blanked the Streator Red Sox, 7-0, in a first round game; and then followed up with a 5-0 conquest of Ottawa K. of C. in the championship scrap.

Gary Massino notched the triumph against Ottawa with four singles while whiffing six batters and walking two. His brother, Joe, stopped the Red Sox with a pair of hits and struck out eight to give P.N.A. the trophy.

Sharing the honors for the Eagles in the Ottawa game were Bill Ahearn with a double and a single, and Chuck Klever, a pair of singles. Ron Safarcyk was the Eagle batting ace in the championship scrap, belting three singles in as many appearances. (Unionville Dispatch, July 1991)

IN JUNE 1963, beef chuck steak was 33¢ a pound; watermelon, 69¢ each; margarine, two pounds for 59¢; Halibut steak, 49¢ a pound; butter, 59¢ lb.; angel food cake, 39¢; white bread, 1t lb. loaf for 19¢. (Unionville Dispatch, June 1991)  

THE MANVILLE COMMUNITY CLUB names its' new officers in June 1953 - Romona McDonald, Derothy Lucas, Wanda Brown, Mary Lucas and Helen Fulkerson were named. (Unionville Dispatch, June 1991)  

BARBARA MUSOVICH REPRESENTED THE Streator Bowling Lanes in the State finals of the B.P.A.A. Youth Championship at Kankakee in June 1963. (Unionville Dispatch, June 1991)  

IN JUNE 1963, the doors were opened on the nation's newest federal prison at Marion, Illinois which cost the taxpayers approximately $2 Million. (Unionville Dispatch, June 1991)   

ON MAY 31, 1953, the hands of two large clocks in the window of Kerr's Jewelry Store stopped at the names of Mary Lou Dougherty and Richard Hamman, eighth grade graduates who received pen and pencil sets. (Unionville Dispatch, June 1991)  

THE WORLD was mourning the passing of Pope John XXIII on JUNE 2, 1963.

TWO LOCAL YOUTHS, John Hopkins and Eugene Eutsey, were the proud possessors of a long snouted fish, a species unknown in this vicinity, which they landed in the Vermillion River. (Unionville Dispatch, June 1991)

IN JUNE 1963, beef chuck steak was 33¢ a pound; watermelon, 69¢ each; margarine, two pounds for 59¢; Halibut steak, 49¢ a pound; butter, 59¢ lb.; angel food cake, 39¢; white bread, 1t lb. loaf for 19¢. (Unionville Dispatch, June 1991)  


Our thanks to Marcia Simpson Robertson for sending us this video about the William's tragedy. Following it is a reprint of a story that appeared quite a while ago in "Streator: During Our Time" that talks about the town's reaction to the people in need.


When the Williams Hardware Company explosion took place on Monday July 14, 1958, almost every merchant in the area did their part in making the firemen and workers tasks seem more bearable among those who rallied in this time of need were:

The Ruth Swain Restaurant, 126 S. Vermillion, opened her restaurant to firemen and Civil Defense workers, providing them with coffee, sandwiches, ice water, and soft drinks. With the aid of several friends and an employee, Mrs. Swain kept the restaurant open until 11 pm solely to help out. The Bowl-Mor Lanes at 117 S. Sterling Street opened its doors at 6pm Monday with Albert, Robert, and George Hudachko serving coffee and sandwiches to fire fighters and workers all through the night. Their lounge was put to good use with many of the off-duty firemen taking cat-naps before returning to duty. Additional supplies were brought in by understanding citizens.

The Salvation Army was also on hand dispensing food plus the traditional doughnuts. Members accompanied by Captain David Chase arrived at the scene of the fire at 1pm and set up a canteen which was kept in constant operation until 8pm. They were aided in food supplies by the Fireside Restaurant and both the Federal and Harvest Bakeries. Pots of coffee and sandwiches were also taken to the men fighting the fire from tops of nearby buildings.

Rising to the occasion were the members of the American Legion and its Auxiliary who held open house all night at the Legion clubrooms serving all emergency workers with sandwiches, coffee, and soft drinks. The Veterans of Foreign Wars opened their building to the many emergency workers with the serving of sandwiches and coffee starting at 8pm and continuing until 4am in the morning. They were aided by their Auxiliary as well as volunteer workers.

There were many deeds of kindness on that day that went unrecorded. The few instances mentioned above are proof that when a "rally day" is needed, a "rally day" it will be -- especially in Streator.
(Unionville Dispatch, July 1989)



It was announced on November 16, 1943 that one of Streator's oldest industries, The Purington Brick Company—in existence under its present name and its predecessor C.C. Barr for more than half century—was in the process of being abandoned. Most of the machinery and equipment was being sold, and other portable property was moved to Galesburg where the Purington Company maintained two similar plants at that time. Stock-on-hand was being disposed of through standing orders. The working force of approximately 12 persons, including office personnel, were retained until the property was abandoned and the stock disposed of.

Superintendent James Brennan, Sr., associated with the plant’s operation for more than 40 years, explained that the reason for abandoning the Streator plant was the company's decision to concentrate all its functions in their two operations at Galesburg.

The plant came into existence in 1892 and 1893 with C.C. Barr the owner and operator. Production in the early years was devoted primarily to paving brick, which bore the familiar "Barr" label. In later years, face brick and common brick became added lines to meet a swelling market throughout the United States. Although the peak payroll was never more than 150 men, its operations until the outbreak of the war were fairly steady, with a prevailing force of no less than 50 men the year round. In the last years of operations, with priorities on material, building, and the growing manpower problem, the plant had operated on only a part-time basis, with production on a decidedly limited scale. Mr. Brennan, who had served in an executive capacity for more than two score years, said his plans for the future were indefinite. He planned, however, to remain in Streator.
(Unionville Dispatch, November 1986)



JANUARY: Thirty-seven taverns had television; McGuire’s Grocery, the oldest in Streator, was for sale.

FEBRUARY: Hopkins and Arthur Hill sold their business to John Matas and Ted Promenschekel . . . Super Dairy began home delivery.

MARCH: Streator Auto Show was held at the Armory . . . Thatcher Glass was advertising for help.

APRIL: Guns were stolen at a break-in at Zwang Furniture Mart . . . The State Police Chiefs Convention was held at the Elks Club and the State Retail Liquor Dealers met at the Eagles.

MAY: Hudachko Brothers purchased the Bowl-Mor Lanes on Sterling Street.

JUNE: Jack Wissen was chosen Streator's Father of the Year by the Streator Merchants . . . The new swimming pool was in the planning stage.

JULY: William Rokey of Mendota purchased the old Streator House building . . . For the first time in 20 years, Streator was without a Fourth of July Celebration.

AUGUST: Dr. George Dicus, physician in Streator for 63 years, celebrated his 90th birthday . . . Lack of rain threatened the water supply and the wading pool in the park was emptied.

SEPTEMBER: State license plates with the new "Land of Lincoln" theme were to be on sale soon . . . There were no Labor Day Festivities . . . WIZZ Radio began operation . . . The 5,OOO-pound timepiece was mounted in front of Kerr Jewelry.

OCTOBER: Streator was given a warning by the state to clean up the sewerage problem . . . Jerry Holtopened a fruit stand on South Vermillion  Street.

NOVEMBER: Eleven cases of polio were reported in Streator . . . Streator High School closed its football season with a 2 win, 9 loss record.

DECEMBER: A new Studebaker cost just $1,792 at Streator Motor Company . . . Lowell Dale was chairman of the Elks Crippled Children's Fund.  


Streator's first cyclone in a quarter century struck a devastating blow to the southeastern section of the city at 8:30 P.M. on July 6th, causing inestimable property damage at two industrial plants. That cyclone struck the same area as the last such storm of violence in 1928 when it completely destroyed greenhouses and other buildings in the area.

A torrential downfall accompanied the winds which ranged from 50 - 75 miles an hour, the total rainfall measuring 3.44 inches. That exceeded the fall of 3.38 inches of July 8, 1951, date of the disastrous flood in which Streator went without drinking water for more than a week.

Suffering the brunt of damage in the narrow path of the cyclone was the G. & D. Manufacturing Company and Streator Manufacturing Company, occupying adjacent buildings in the 1200 block of East 12th Street.

At the G. & D. plant, a large warehouse, leased by Thatcher Glass was blown apart. Part of the roof of the machine shop was tom off and was hurled against the office next door, damaging twelve windows. All buildings damaged sustained heavy water damage.

Damage at the Streator Manufacturing plant was similar -- a large storage barn was completely destroyed -- a warehouse used to store new lumber, veneer and cartons for television sets was hard hit, having part of the cupalo blown away -- at least 20 skylights at the main plant were blown out, causing heavy water damage.
(Unionville Dispatch, October 2010)


Mackey Cemetery is located about three and one half miles north and
about one and one half miles west of Streator, near what was once known as Heenanville.

Inasmuch as the first settlers located on or near Otter creek and the
Mackey family comprised a large percentage of the pioneers in this section,
the cemetery took its name from that family and was probably donated by a member of the Mackey family. According to information this land was
originally deeded to the Mackey family by a man named Dimmick, who had
taken a family to the spot as a place where he should be buried, but as far as can be leaned his desire was never realized, as he was buried elsewhere.

The first person to be buried at this place was probably Norton Gum, and
the tombstone shows his death to be in 1835. According to Baldwin's
History of La Salle County, Norton Gum came from Rockingham County,
Virginia in 1834 and died September 6, 1835. His sister, Mrs. Agnes
Mackey was the mother of the Mackey clan.

William Morgan, one of the pioneers of this section is another early burial
in this cemetery. In the winter of 1835-1836,when returning from Green's
Mill, at Dayton, he was benighted on the prairie, and the next day was
found frozen by his neighbors within two or three miles of his home.

Another old stone bears on "N. M.", is probably that of Nortonl Nathan
Morgan, brother of William Morgan, a bachelor who came in 1835 and
who died in 1836.

Norton Mackey, in 1836, in company with his brother, Samuel Mackey,
and with John Morgan, laid out the town of Van Buren on his farm but
like may others laid out about that time now exists on paper only -- the
blocks, lots & streets all having been obliterated by the farmer's plows. In
company with his brother Samuel, he built a sawmill on Otter Creek, which
was the first in that locality.

Since these remote times, there have been many interred in the burial
grounds. The Mackey family and its progeny make up most of those who are perpetuated in this life only in the memory of the older residents and the tombstones that have been erected in the quiet lot.

(Unionville Dispatch, March 2000)



  • The clatter of marching 'feet were heard in Streator's nine public schools as 1700 Streator kids trekked back to their classes.
  • At the Halcott home, Susan Halcott and Robert Brandes were united in marriage by Rev. E. Smith of the Park Church. 
  • Grand Ridge had their annual homecoming and Sandwich was host to the 61st DeKalb County Fair.
  • At the lunch counter at Goslin Drugs, a roast, turkey sandwich, cranberries and dressing cost just 65¢.
  • Midget auto racing was featured at the Streator Speedway while the 3rd Street Raceway promoted motorcycle competition. 
  • The Capital Tavern, 121 N. Bloomington Street purchased a television set to the delight of their many customers.
  • At the Granada Theater, Gene Autry in Robin Hood of Texas had everyone sharpening up their spurs.
  • Dick Jurgen's orchestra appeared at the Armory.
  • At the Chicago Grocery, Prince Albert pipe tobacco was 10¢ a tin and salmon was 25¢ a can.
  • Indian survivors of the 1876 Custer massacre said they would do it all over again if it would mean getting their land back. 
  • George Duder erected a building at 517 James Street. He was in the manufacturing end of playground equipment. 
  • Mr. and Mrs. J. H.  Williams celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at the home of their son, Cephas Williams.
  • The S.H.S. class of 1938 celebrated their 10th at the Pines, 100 attending.
  • Kankakee stunned Streator in the opening football game.
  • Tickets were selling fast for the Wayne King Concert to be held at the high school in October.
  • It was Ball Room Dancing and “Tip Toeing through the Tulips” at the Club Grove, end of W. 2nd Sreet.
  • Dell Tire was celebrating the opening of their new store. It was formerly Streator Tire and Battery.
  • In baseball, Boston was leading the American League and Boston was leading the National League.
  • Butter prices were declining; coal sales were picking up.
  • Harry Truman and Thomas Dewey were stepping up their Presidential campaigns.
  • The beautiful autumn was just around the corner.  
  • Our City Clerk was E. Hultman and the City Attorney was .John Berry.

(Unionville Dispatch, September 1985)



Summer Fun When Boys Made Do
By C. Reagan

I watch my twelve year-old grandson in Dallas, Texas racing his radio-controlled model car and playing soccer in a snappy uniform on a team with a paid coach and a schedule that includes traveling to San Antonio for a two-day weekend meet. I see my three-year-old grandson in Wichita, Kansas racing around the backyard of his home in a Power Wheels battery-powered 4 x 4; and I am convinced of how much recreational opportunities have improved since my generation grew up in the '30s,

“Those were the best of times and the worst of times.” The best of times because we were young, and the worst of times because we were broke most of the time and nearly so, the rest of the time. But, youth is inventive.

Baseball was very big in our small Ohio River town in southern Indiana. Mostly, we played in pastures and sometimes in the schoolyard where some conveniently located trees served as bases. Some players of each team played barehanded because there weren't enough gloves to go around, and the owner of the ball got to make the rules. The really macho position was catcher because we didn’t have a mask. Our players suffered more than a few black eyes and knots on the head from foul tips. My own painful experience was running into a thorn tree while pursuing a fly ball in center field.

One of our other child pastimes was marbles. Each player put one inside a large circle drawn on the ground. We took turns trying to knock the marbles out of it. We played "for keeps," and a bag of marbles represented a sizable investment so it was difficult when we lost. In the toughest of times, we played with “peewees," marbles made of baked clay.

A primary l source of my limited spending money was "turtling," catching snapping turtles in farm ponds. Lines about ten feet in length were staked to the bank and baited with sunfish to lure the turtles. They brought a nickel a pound in town.

Another personal fund-raiser involved roaming the hills and fencerows to pick wild blackberries. A one-gallon molasses bucket could usually be peddled door-to-door for fifteen cents. There was, however, one hazard associated with this activity: snakes. They have always considered berry patches a favorite place of residence.

Not too often, but once in a while when a day was dull and our spirits were daring, a few of us would engage in what seemed exciting at twelve and thirteen but from the vantage point of age sixty-three can only be described as stupid. We would arm ourselves with homemade wooden paddles and go to a thicket outside town where some abandoned car bodies were overgrown with vines. They usually were inhabited by colonies of wasps, yellow jackets, and bumblebees. We would shake these old hulks; and when the residents flew out "mad as hornets," we would battle them with the paddles. We were proficient enough to score quite a few hits; and when things got too hot, we did some running! You can be sure we remembered the errors.

When I was thirteen years old, the prized result of an entire summer's work as a hod carrier on a building project--at 15 cents per hour--was my first bicycle. With it, I could join the cruisers of that day, a group of boys who pedaled through town on summer evenings with girls perched (rather uncomfortably) on the frame between the handlebars and the seat.

At that time, high-school track meets included such events as the standing broad jump and chin-ups on a horizontal bar. There were relatively few high-school football teams; only the large schools had enough money to buy the equipment. In fact, no one in our community even owned a football when I was growing up.

In that pre-television era, the winter evenings were spent working jigsaw puzzles and playing card games, like euchre and rook. A few of the more privileged families owned carom boards.

Viewing those Depression years in retrospect, I remember that times were hard, but for a boy, some of the times were golden. Thinking about that part of it and my little river town, brings to mind selected words from John Boyle O’Reilly’s poem “The Cry of the Dreamer”

“And I long for the dear old river,
Where I dreamed my youth away,
For a dreamer lives forever,
And a toiler dies in a day.

            *   *   *

“From the sleepless thoughts endeavor,
I would go where the children play,

For a dreamer lives forever,
And a thinker dies in a day.“ 

(Unionville Dispatch, September 1986)


Streator High School wrestling made its inception in the year of 1953 under the auspicious guidance of Coach Ralph Ganzer. There were 18 wrestlers on the team. They wrestled three opponents twice each. They ended up winning 4 and losing 2 for the year. In the Big 12 tournament three wrestlers, Al Delong, Jim Schmitz, and Jim Yuhas won 4th place medals. Ray Gautschy took 4th place in the sectional at Pekin.


Wrestling for Streator that year were Louie Glowicki, Jim Yuhas, Bill Farrare, Ray Gautschy, Jim Schmitz, Bob Sandine, Richard Morgan, John Edwards, Jack Clark, Ray Erler, Harold Hagi, Emmanuel Guyon, Dillon "Ned" Prendergast, Roger Kimber, Ralph Davin, Virgil McCumsey, Phil Gautschy, Al Delong, and Pat Prendergast, manager.

From this humble beginning, Streator has come up with many winning teams, state qualifiers, NCIC Champs. and Big 12 champs. The high school team is still carrying on its tradition in 1990 under the guidance of Coach Jeff Dillman.
(Unionville Dispatch, November 1990)


WAR YEARS  (Unionville Dispatch, January 1986)

DURING WORLD WAR II, one sugar stamp allowed a person five pounds every two and a half months,

MATERIAL THAT NORMALLY WOULD HAVE BECOME A PAIR OF OVERALLS or a pair of silk stockings was very scarce during the early 1940's because most of it went into the war effort. This prevailed all over the world.

CHERO GRAKO, President of the Streator Chapter of the St. Joseph's Mutual Society, urged citizens to donate unwanted clothing for the war- stricken people of occupied Italy. He added that the clothing be delivered to the Grako Food Market, 419 E. Main Street. Or, a simple call to him would guarantee its pickup.

The Society was one of the many Italian-American lodges throughout the country which was co-operating in this worthy cause.

REMEMBER THE LEG PAINT the women used because of the shortage of silk stockings? A little rain and they looked like they were wearing stockings made of zebra skin.

Probably surpassing all local New Year's eve celebrations, both in elaborateness and gaiety, was that staged by the Streator Elks on December 31, 1941, where fifty couples bid farewell to the old year. Dancing was enjoyed to the music of Verne Richner's orchestra from Champaign.

A feature of the evening's festivities was the floor show presented by pupils of Miss Rosalind Hupp. The guest artist was Billy Chatham, a former student of Miss Hupp who had been dancing at the Roxy Theatre in New York during 1941. The young man presented a tap number and responded to an encore with an eccentric number. The floor show featured line numbers, in which twelve girls participated. They opened with a parasol number and ended with a V-for Victory number. Streator girls participating were: Polly Barickman, Jane Poor, Phyllis Carpenter, Eleanor Harrison, Jeanne Scharfenberg, Martha Proud, and Benna Bartells.

The party concluded at 3:00 a.m.

The committee in charge included Carl Johnson, Don Johnson, Pete Evans, and John Forgach, exalted ruler of the lodge.
(Unionville Dispatch, January 1990)


The Kaiser and Henry J. line of automobiles? During their short careers (around 1950), they were sold in Streator by the Glenn Beckman Motor Company, 118 West Main Street. Nationwide, very few were sold; and for that reason, they are probably on the ten-most-wanted list of the auto buffs in the United States.
(Unionville Dispatch, May 1990)


On or around May 16, 1956, one of Streator's landmarks, the Plumb home at the corner of Broadway and Wasson Street, was being razed to provide room for erection of a new religious edifice. The residence, once one of the finest mansions of this entire section of Illinois, was built in the early 1870s by Colonel Ralph Plumb less than a decade after he came here from Ohio. During its existence, it was a residence for three generations of the Plumb family before being converted to an apartment building in 1918.

The home was built of red brick with a stone foundation. An iron fence, typical of the era, protected the' front lawn. Few were left, that remembered the grand mahogany staircase, the massive crystal chandeliers with their multitudinous prisms, the imported textured wall coverings, and the over-all spaciousness which is almost non-existent in homes today.

There were over eight rooms on the main floor, and the second floor housed eight bedrooms and four baths. There were also four smaller rooms with two baths considered to be servant quarters.

The basement was a maze of fifteen rooms—all used for storage of kindling, coal, and food supplies. Laundry facilities were also in the basement which was said to have contained a large cistern. One room in the basement originally held a billiard table and was the mecca of the teen-age friends of Ermin Plumb.

Many memories were created by visitors to the home. It was the custom for many years for the children of the neighborhood to observe the birthday of the Colonel by presenting him with bouquets often picked from his own garden, which was rampant with wild flowers. Social events held there were largely of the reception type, mostly of the musicale type, but others were either literary or religious in theme.

The passing of the Plumb home was viewed by many with distinct pangs of nostalgia and regret since it marked the end of an era of elegance and gracious living so authentically typified by the red brick mansion at 506 East Broadway.
Unionville Dispatch, May 1990)



  • Work on the new Kroger building at Hickory and Sterling Streets was almost completed. Harry Anderson was the owner of the new building. One of the innovations was a huge concrete surfaced parking area to the east.
  • Frederick Hupp announced that he had sold his sixteen year interest in the Ace Hardware Store, 404 E. Main, to W.J. Stone of Grays Lake, Illinois.
  • Everett Dirkson, candidate for the U.S. Senate, was in Streator to address a joint luncheon meeting of the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs and their guests at the YMCA gymnasium on September 5th.
  • Streator's first fatality in the Korean War was announced by the War Department which listed Cpl. Walter D. Rowatt, 42, as dying of wounds suffered in the line of duty on September 3rd. Attached to the 64th Field Artillery Battery in Korea, Rowatt, a career army man, would have been eligible for discharge and pension in January, 1951.
  • Hundreds of children attended the two free "Back to' School" shows held at the Plumb Theatre, sponsored by Coppin's Dairy.
  • Children were treated to a free magic show as part of the Labor Day festivities. Jerry Anderson, magician, used many children in his act. The free prizes for the kids included Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers guns, shirts, and hats; Dick Tracy cameras; Spanish hats; and comic books. The entire "give away" program was arranged by Harold "Buzz" Floore, master of ceremonies for the celebration.
  • The S.H.S. football field was boasting a new press box on the east grandstand, providing excellent facilities for newspaper and radio coverage.

(Unionville Dispatch, September 1989)




IN NOVEMBER 1954, R.F. GOODRICH'S VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH HOBAN predicted that within five years the inner tube would be as obsolete as car fenders. All 1955 model cars were coming with tubeless tires. The tire would provide up to 12% more mileage than their older tires.
(Unionville Dispatch, November 1989).

THE SERVICE MEN'S CANTEEN AT THE SANTA FE DEPOT, during the week of October 25, 1944, was visited by screen and radio stars Claudette Colbert, Shirley Temple, and Amos 'n Andy.
(Unionville Dispatch, November 1989)

T. EARL MCNAMARA WAS NAMED CHAIRMAN for the War Bond Drive in LaSalle County which started on November 20, 1944.
(Unionville Dispatch, November 1989)

ON OCTOBER 29, 1954, in commemoration of their 39th year of business, the Walter H. Kerr Jewelry Store held an open house at which a rare collection of diamond jewelry was on display. Persons visiting the store were served birthday cake into which had been baked 39 capsules, each containing a gift certificate. Kerr’s was established in 1915 at 315 E. Main and moved to 308 E. Main Street in 1935.
(Unionville Dispatch, November 1989)

The November 1944 Issue of The Thatcher Manufacturing News carried an interesting story about the career of Dr. Roy Arandale, former Streator man, who was technical adviser to the company.
(Unionville Dispatch, November 1989)

STREATOR DECORATING COMPANY, in continuous operation for 68 years at 120 S. Bloomington Street, had its formal opening at its new location at 115 E. Main on September 16, 1950. Purchased by Willis Wilcox in 1945 from the late L.O. Lorenz, Wilcox continued a third generation in the paint business. The store closed its doors in 1981.
(Unionville Dispatch, September 1989)

BRANDT'S JEWELERS AT 104 E. MAIN STREET, was offering the crash-proof, kid-proof Hopalong Cassidy radio for $16.95 in 1950. The first 500 children with their parents who came in to see the Hopalong radio received 1 package of Hopalong Cassidy picture gum.
(Unionville Dispatch, September 1989)

JOE, THE WATERMELON MAN, 721 S. BLOOMINGTON STREET, was offering watermelons for 50¢ and a bushel of tomatoes for a dollar in 1950. Plus, those who spent $5.00 got a bouquet of flowers free.
(Unionville Dispatch, September 1989)

This story appeared in the Oct. 11, 1952 edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune:

"This story began several months ago in Streator, Illinois, progressed to Chicago, then to Kalamazoo, Michigan, [and finally] back to Chicago and Streator. It began when Louise Pierides, a long term employee of the Streator Plant of Owens-Illinois, was selecting bottles on the line. She discovered at lunch time that her diamond engagement ring was missing.

"After reporting the loss to her supervisor, he set aside all of the many cartons that had been packed by the ladies on that particular line. The search was in vain. The selecting department head then made his phone calls which brought him to the purchaser of the ware, the Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo. All of the workers were alerted at Upjohn as to the missing ring. Placards were posted along each packaging line: 'WATCH FOR DIAMOND RING.' But, as the weeks wore on, the search grew more routine; the shipment was nearing the end; and the ring was not found.

"Four months after the ring was lost -- nearly 5,000 boxes and 350,000 bottles later -- it was found. Shirley Waldorf, who worked in the fluids packaging division of Upjohn, was emptying boxes of bottles and found the ring in a tray. She could hardly trust her eyes.

"To make a long story short, phone calls were made, and the ring was returned to Miss Pierides by registered mail."

So, who says there isn't romance in business? Even Shirley Waldorf was determined not to lose hers!
(Unionville Dispatch, October 1990)


Topping all records for Streator fishermen was a catch made by Ensign R.O. Sopher in the South Pacific in May, 1944, where he had been serving almost a year. Sopher, an ardent fisherman, always had a baited hook dangling from a line on the PT -48.

On May 4, Sopher noticed a tug on the line, which he had baited with barracuda meat; and with the help of six other men on board, they landed a nine foot 350 pound shark. Sopher also noted that the men had been swimming in the water only an hour earlier.
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1990)


The world's largest glass plant had its beginnings when the city of Streator was 1 year old when the Streator Bottle and Glass Company was completed in 1879 at Broadway and Adams Street. In 1890, as our nation entered the "Gay Nineties" Era, a second plant was started near LaRue and Illinois Streets. In 1967, the plant covered 88 acres with 38 acres under roof, employed about 2,600 people. The annual payroll in 1967 was 16 million dollars.

The plant manufactured glass containers from tiny pill bottles (a bear to select!) to gallon jugs. Food containers were the biggest business followed closely by beverage and pharmaceutical ware. For each 24 hour day an average of 26,000 gross (3,744,000) glass containers flowed from 32 automatic machines. Shipments totaled about 2,000 rail cars and 24,000 trucks each year. This equaled a freight train 18 miles long and a caravan of trucks reaching from Streator to Key west, Florida. To ship and warehouse these millions of containers, the corrugated department manufactured 192,000 cartons each day. If this paper used in one year was converted to 6 inch wide strips, it would circle the earth more than 25 times.

In 1960, the Streator plant batch department mixed 1,170 tons of raw materials each day to produce its glass products. It used an average of 797,257 gallons of water each day with a yearly water bill of $69,212.00. In 1960, the electric bill was $544,720.00, with a fuel bill (gas, oil, propane) of $1,711,502.00 per year. In 1945, Owens Illinois, Streator employed 1,500, reaching 2,500-people in 1960 with an annual payroll of over $10,000,000.

Today, less than 1,700 people are employed by both glass plants in Streator, a marked decrease that did affect the economy of Streator. The glass container still remains a perfect container for food products and is very easy to recycle.

(Taken in part from Owens-Illinois literature.)

(Unionville Dispatch, September1990)



  • Four Onized men, James Bowman, Joseph Brooks, James and Berard Cotter'were among the 47 who were to receive their 25 year award in October.
  • 8l pints of blood were collected by the Red Cross Bloodmobile on their monthly visit to Owens.
  • lrene Burris has taught her nine month old child a few swimming lessons.
  • Beatrice Chalkey, Mary Alberts, and Jo Smith went to Chicago for a shopping trip.
  • Lois Hutchcraft finally figured out the· switchboard maze thanks to Joan Pozzi of General Telephone.
  • About 20 Onizers went out to the Onized Lodge for a spring clean-up project. The job was done in less than four hours.
  • A farewell party was held for Chuck Fitzsimmons who was leaving the Quota Boosters.

(Unionville Dispatch, May 1989)




LEONARD'S CREDIT JEWELERS AT 104 E. MAIN STREET marked their grand- opening on April 15, 1944. Proprietor of the business was M. F. Shane. Mrs. Norma Holman was the manager; she was assisted by Mrs. Effie Hawdon and Mrs. Maxine Good.
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1990)

TECHNICAL SARGEANT DONALD J. MORRIS, 21, OF STREATOR, won the good conduct medal for "superior conduct in the performance of duty" while stationed at the Eighth AAF Flying Fortress base in England in June 1944.
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1990)

JIM THOMAS, ONE OF STREATOR'S MOST TALENTED BOWLERS, set two all-time records by posting a 749 series total in a three man match with Toluca at the Streator Lanes in February, 1953.
(Unionville Dispatch, February 1990)

THE GOVERNMENT WAS ASKING AMERICANS, in June 1944, to spend vacations at home and not to travel on railroads or inter-city buses as that means of transportation was needed for transporting servicemen and women.
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1990)

BEN KRISTAL, a 6 foot 2 inch Streator High Forward, was named to the third team forward in the Champaign News-Gazette All State team on April 17, 1944.
(Unionville Dispatch, April 1990)

BAKER'S STORE AT 517-21 E. MAIN STREET was offering two pounds of tomatoes for 25¢; two pounds of Velveeta cheese, 69¢; a 38 ounce jar of apple butter, 29¢; and a quart jar of dill pickles for 25¢ in June, 1944.
(Unionville Dispatch June 1990)

THE ARCHWAY COOKIE FACTORY IN WENONA was swept by flames on March 11, 1963 and only the walls of the concrete block structure remained standing. Thirty-five persons, mainly women, were made idle. The L-shaped structure had undergone extensive remodeling in 1962 when the latest in baking equipment was installed.
(Unionville Dispatch, February 1990)

SIX STREATOR HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLERS REMAINED in the running for sectional tournament titles following victories in the preliminary rounds at Champaign in February, 1958. They were: Tom Wonders, Jack Clark, Jon Sampson, Joe Lamagno, Brian Wheatland, and Ron Missel.
(Unionville Dispatch, February 1990)

A TOTAL OF 8,642 SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN traveling on the Santa Fe were served coffee, sandwiches, and cookies at the Streator Canteen in April of 1944.
(Unionville Dispatch, April 1990)

THE FEDERAL BAKERY WAS OFFERING fruit-filled and crème pies for 25¢; Cream horn, 3 for $1.00; 13 egg angel food cakes, 37¢; and cookies, 20¢ a dozen in May 1940. All products were union made.
(Unionville Dispatch, April 1990)

HOWARD FLETCHER, selected as "athlete of the year", from this district, was honored by the Illinois Valley sports writers at the new Starved Rock Lodge on April 23, 1940. Howard won all-state positions on the A.P. and U.P. teams and won the Cullen Keefe trophy at DeKalb as outstanding member of his team in 1938. Howard was a graduate of the Streator Class of 1933.
(Unionville Dispatch, April 1990)

SGT. STAN REYNOLDS, twenty-one months in England and Africa, was home in June of 1944. Captain William Bills’ sun tan looked great, his voice sounded sweet, and, brother, was he happy to be home after fifteen months in Africa and Italy.
(Unionville Dispatch June 1990)

IN APRIL OF 1954, it was announced that the Streator Bowling Lanes would change hands on June 1st. The new owners were Marty Enger, Dick Beumel, and an unidentified third party; the first two werre from Chicago. They also purchased the Tally-ho Tavern, adjacent to the bowling lanes.

Streator Bowling Lanes, formerly located on West Main Street was transferred to 2004 N. Bloomington Street in 1950 following the erection of a new building with twelve lanes.
(Unionville Dispatch, April 1990)

GRADUATING “S” MEN in 1944 were Bob Carpenter, Lloyd Dice, George Kahane, Jack McMorrow, Ben Kristal, Bob George, Carl Barnhart, and Buck McNeil.
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1990)


Glen Rohlfing entered the Army on April 24, 1941 and was sent to Camp Grant near Rockford, Illinois. He had been associated with "name bands" as a trumpeter for the past ten years. Uncle Sam wasn't going to let this rare talent go to waste so he was soon assigned to the camp orchestra called "The Reception Center Swing Cats." They provided entertainment for the soldiers at all recreation programs. They were also heard on Radio Station W. L. S. for a time,

Some of the orchestras Mr. Rohlfing played with during the '30s were: Sleepy Hall, Joe Venuti, Henry Bussee, Anson Weeks, Gray Gordon, and Paul Whiteman. He also wrote music for Mr. Whiteman. Rohlfing passed away just a few years ago. He was the son of Fred Rohlfing who lived at 219 LaSalle Street at that time. 
(Unionville Dispatch, August 1989)


We received a letter from Dick Applegate who is now working for the Union-Tribune Publishing Co. in San Diego. He mentioned that while going to school in the 1940s, he too did a tour of duty at McGuire’s Grocery -- cleaning the meat block, delivering, filling the shelves, etc. One of his main interests at the store was ordering and maintaining the best candy counter in town for kids. One day Bob Schrarrm came along and asked him if he would like to start writing a high school column for the Times Press. He thought this to be quite an opportunity and jumped at the chance.

Working under the tutelage of Bill Godfrey and Lyle Kennedy, his first column was titled "Between You and I at Streator High" but changed it latter to "Keeping an Eye on Streator High.” The change came after a little prodding from Faye Homrighous, his rhetoric teacher.

Applegate admires Mr. Schramm very much and hopes that most realize what an influence high school instructors have in shaping teenagers’ lives.
(Unionville Dispatch, May 1989)


It was a time of thick bobby sox, red-red lipstick, pony tails, crew cuts, felt skirts ballooning over umpteen cancan half-slips, and bouncy tunes such as Be-Bop-A-Lula. This particular SHS class was proud that two of its female members became SHS Homecoming Queens in different years and also boasted the celebrated SHS varsity football team of 1958 -- undefeated.

The SHS auditorium was packed when it was pep rally time, and the Armory was the scene of many sock hops after exciting basketball games were concluded in that building. Swivel-hips Elvis took the Streator teens by storm and parents shook their heads in despair over their off-spring listening to blaring "45" discs of Heartbreak Hotel and Hound Dog. It was an era when youngsters thought of security only as being a bomb shelter in the back yard.

At the end of the school day, there was a big surge downtown to Hill Brothers and favorite booths, where cherry cokes were sipped and potato chips munched as boys eyed girls and vice versa. Miller’s was the permanent "parking space" for girl-watchers, but they had to have 20-20 vision, as girls didn’t walk on the same side of the street as Miller’s.

Guys hoped they’d find a job that would allow them to include in high school kicks of fixing up hot rods or being shining stars in sports.

Girls? They worried they wouldn’t find a husband -- for what else was there for a girl but, marriage?

And, all too soon, the class found itself graduating, leaving behind the 1959 Hardscrabble embellished with scenes of “Sayonara,” the Junior Prom theme of the class.

(Taken in part—written by Sue Padilla Leonard)

(Unionville Dispatch, May 1990)

During the very early months that selective service was in operation, group medical examinations were conducted twice monthly at the Streator Armory or the American Legion. Each registrant was given a thorough examination, and between 30 & 40 were examined in an evening. Later, as physical qualifications changed, the pre-induction examination became a minor screen test, and the local physicians were able to check between 100 and 200 men a night. Soon after, the pre-induction examinations and serological tests were discontinued entirely; and on Feb. 15, 1944, registrants were forwarded directly to induction centers for examinations by the military.

Local dentists and doctors should have been given citations saying "work well done" because they received no compensation for their assistance to the Selective Service Board except a real sense of satisfaction in helping their country and community. Also, among those whose loyalties should not be forgotten were Virginia Curran, Mary Jones, Sister Tatiania, Roy Firkins, Stella Jonen, Felix Breen, and Connie Craft -- those were the ones who so faithfully assisted mostly for the love of their country.
(Unionville Dispatch, August 1989)



  • Construction of a new brick building for the Pratt Floral Company, on Bridge Street, was well underway. The business, operated by Bernard Hart, boasted of a new floral shop and offices, plus a 2nd floor apartment.
  • Fighting was so fierce and bloody in the invasions of Inchon, Korea that only four men of 42 in a crew led by Sgt. Frederick Uebler, Streator Marine, survived North Korean fire. In a letter to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Uebler, 115 W. Hickory Street, he described the past two weeks as being the "roughest and bloodiest of my life.” Sgt. Uebler was head of a radar crew which was among the first marine units landing at Inchon.
  • After 35 years in business, Andrew Novak, operator of a tavern and restaurant at 120 S. Vermillion was retiring from active work and leased the establishment to George Blko and John Kmetz.
  • Albert Guy, city fireman and W.W. II vet, was called back to active service in the navy, as were Walter Kauth, Norman Rohlfing, Elmer Claiborne, and Martin Whited, also W.W. II vets.
  • Tom's Food Center, 405 E. Main, was offering oleo margarine, 32¢ a lb.; 2 lb. tin of coffee for $1.67; and 5 lbs. of apples for 25¢.

(Unionville Dispatch, October 1989)



In 1927, the Anthony Company employed 125 people. Employment grew to 450 in 1940; and during the war, it reached a peak of 1,350. In 1945, the 987 men employed at the main plant produced $7,000,000 worth of products. Anthony's made 3,200 different model types and sizes of truck and farm equipment. A body was turned out on the modern production line every five minutes at its peak. William C. Anthony never realized what he was starting that day back in 1917 when h e was a young man with an idea and a small amount of capital.

(Unionville Dispatch, October 1989) 


The following information was supplied by Alice Funk, now deceased, and was passed on to her in 1973.

  • In regard to weather forecasting, there were many signs foretelling future rainfall, severe winters, temperature, etc. All of the prophets swore by their signs -- some of us swore at them when they went wrong.
  • Grandfather's predictions were based on weather conditions of the first three days of each season of the year. He was right more often than not. His short-time predictions, based on cloud formations, were quite accurate.  
  • The effect of conditions on Ground Hog Day, Easter Sunday, and rain on Monday is about the law of average: 50-50.
  • To this day many people plant by the light or dark of the moon depending on whether it is a root crop or an above-the-ground crop. Potatoes planted at the wrong time will produce all tops and small potatoes.
  • Castration was always most successful at the right time of the moon.
  • We always planted our seed in the ground, regardless of the moon phase and took care of the hogs when we got around to it.
    (Unionville Dispatch, June 1989)


In May 1947, petitions were being circulated in the northwest section of Streator as the first step toward a hearing on the possibility of an incorporated town. It covered the area west of Bloomington Street and north of Second Street and as far north as the Two Mile Corner.

The proposed area was densely populated in some sections, including what was referred to as "Little Hollywood." The area had eight taverns, two implement companies, several grocery stores, a gas station, and a refreshment stand. The population was estimated at 1,000 - 1,500 people.

At the same time, residents on Third Street were petitioning the city to annex their property. Not much must have happened in this matter as that area now is part of Bruce Township with assorted addresses in the city.
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1989)


On May 3, 1948, close to 1500 spectators crammed into the Armory to watch the 1st annual Spring Festival. Over 90 dancers, comprised of girls and boys age 7 to 16 from Owens-Illinois Glass and students from the Rosalind Hupp School of Dance, performed many dance numbers with bright, colorful costumes. Miss Anna Mae Korter, who instructed the children, produced the entire show which was her first major effort in this direction.

During the production the May Queen was crowned; the honor went -to Beatrice Murray, “C” shift Selecting Department. She was accompanied by her court of honor which included Shirley McAlpine, Mary Siroky, Velma Eiben, Jo Ramza, Loyce Cross, and Mildred Jett.

Emceeing the ceremonies was Herman Picker, Jr., and his descriptive announcements of each number put a realistic touch to each selection. Harry James and his orchestra entertained with music prior to the first curtain call and during the intermission.
(Unionville Dispatch, May 1989)


In the early stages of World War II, the Streator Brick Company contributed materially through the furnishing of brick on war housing developments and in large war plants. Large plants furnished with the brick included the Aluminum Corporation at McCook, which required over 10,000,000 brick; lnland Steel, Standard Oil, Allis-Chalmers, Douqlas Aircraft, and the Dodge-Chicago plant.

Later on in the war, facilities of the company were used for heat treating steel munitions supplies. Armor plate for tanks and combat vehicles were first treated, and then tractor tank parts and separate steel parts, over a half million in number, [were next treated].
(Unionville Dispatch, October 1989) 


Construction of a new school building on Riverside was announced by the District 45 Board of Education on November 12, 1959. The building was to be situated on property acquired in 1958 from Miss Myrtle Kimes, located at Columbus and Reading Streets. While plans called for a complete building with K-6, only four classrooms--grades 3 through 6, a furnace room, office and general purpose room were to be constructed in the spring with the balance to follow later.

Meanwhile, Streator voters were asked to back a referendum to increase the size of the high school. Backed py a majority of votes, the high school building plan was passed by a vote of 2586 to 2234 on November 24, 1959. Preliminary plans were then started on the $1,998,000 addition to the high school. The new addition would provide twenty-five new classrooms, two industrial shops, a cafeteria, a library, other enlarged departments, and a 3,500 person capacity gymnasium.
(Unionville Dispatch, November 1989)



  • Streator's antiquated boulevard light standards which had weathered 37 years of service were disappearing from the downtown district as the way was cleared for a modern Whiteway Lighting System.
  • Mrs. Mildred Chapple of Streator was elected president of the Illinois Chapter  of American War Mothers, at the 35th annual state convention held at Bloomington.
  • The first issue of the Streator High School newspaper, The Review, was distributed to students. Under the supervision of Mildred Moynihan, the newspaper sold 626 subscriptions at $1.50 each. The first school publication to be printed in newspaper form was published in 1922 and was called the Streator X-Ray, and then later became known as The Review.
  • Marlon Brando was making waves at the Plumb Theatre with his new film "On The Waterfront."
  • Construction of a warehouse at the plant of J. L. Read, Inc., on Iowa Avenue, had been abandoned in the wake of labor differences which had led to the cancellation of the contract for the new facility.
  • Over 5,000 Streator area residents attended the open house of the new Woodland School on November 14th. The school was just completed that summer at a cost of $830,000, exclusive of land and landscaping .
  • Piggly-Wiggly was offering club steak for 85¢ a pound; 10 pounds of potatoes, 59¢; Jonathan apples, 4 lbs. for 35¢; and a No. 1 can of red salmon for 69¢.
  • Mrs. Elizabeth DrysdaIe, 609 W. Bluff, was presented with a $350 check, representing first prize in a national contest sponsored by Waverly Fabrics. Employed for 12 years at Metcalf's Home Furnishings, she selected ten top fabric designs on the basis of eye appeal and color.

(Unionville Dispatch, November 1989)



Located in Seneca, Illinois, just a stone’s throw from Streator, the yard was in operation from May 1, 1942 until June 8, 1945. Their total output was 157 LSTs, and all were built on schedule.

The Chicago Bridge & Iron Company, who built the LSTs at Seneca procured material which could be more efficiently purchased or leased locally. This included wire, cable, compressors, paint, welding rod, repairs and replacement parts, office furniture, cranes, welding machines, and portable hand tools. Many men and women from Streator worked at the shipyards.

Below are some of the unusual facts and figures in connection with the building of those 157 LSTs.

  • The shipbuilders bought over $9,000,000 in war bonds.
  • 39 gallons of champagne were used for christenings.
  • The shipyard cafeteria served 6,000,000 meals.
  • Over 20,000 Navy officers and crew members were required to man all of the Seneca ships.
  • Enough water was pumped at the shipyards to fill two 50,000 gallon tanks 10,000 times.
  • To build the ships, they used 518,000 gallons of paint; 86,350 lighting units; 1,884 miles of electrical cable; 234,600 pounds of sheet lead; 46,786 feet of brass tubing; 200,000 feet of Rock Wool; 13,145 steel doors; 3,570,680 square feet of  fiber glass insulation; and 1,235,345 board feet of lumber, (2,000,000 board feet used for maintenance.)
  • Materials put on finished ships included 957,700 pounds of soap; 1,256,000 lineal feet of rope; 157 tons of medicine and drugs; 1,329,056 lineal feet of steel cable.

(Unionville Dispatch, February 1989)


IN JUNE 1947
The Record Shop in the basement of Streator Dry Goods was offering these favorite tunes: Blowing Bubble Gum by Spike Jones
, On The Sunny Side of the Street by Tommy Dorsey, and Come to the Mardi Gras by Freddy Martin
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1989)


The 1950s began, on a good note when Lawrence Welk appeared at the Indian Acres. In 1951, we experienced the worst flood in the town's history. The present American Legion Building was also built during those years. The year of 1952 saw Little League Baseball arrive in Streator.

We tuned in WIZZ radio in 1953 and in '54, two church buildings were erected: The Seventh Day Adventist and the Trinity Lutheran. Main Street went aglow in '55 with the installation of new vapor lights. That same year, our attention was focused on the two school buildings that were erected: Oakland and Northlawn.

In 1956, it was rather quiet although the Rose Society received its charter that year, Washko's Bargain Store opened, and the DEW line set up south of town. Two major long-standing businesses closed in 1957: Metcalf's Furniture and Best Foods, Inc. (the pickle factory). 1957 also saw the coming of Timco Inc. on East 12th Street.

We experienced one disaster and two setbacks in 1958. That was the year of Williams Hardware explosion, another flood, and the collapse of the old Armory building at 101 E. Main Street. Also, that year, on the cheerful side, the Nazarene Church was built, an entertaining group called The Community Players began their trek to success, and the long awaited swimming pool became a reality.

The end of the decade in 1959 saw St. Paul's Lutheran build their new church at the former site of Col. Ralph Plumb's home on East Broadway. That rang down the curtain on an eventful ten years; ten years that will not soon be forgotten.
(Unionville Dispatch, February 1989)


Streator’s Kerestes brothers, John and Lou, members of the Purdue varsity football squad in 1950 were featured in an article appearing in the October issue of the Walther League Messenger magazine. They were two of four Trinity Lutherans with the Boilermakers. The story, in part, follows:

“Four outstanding members of this year’s squad are faithful members of the Lutheran Church, two and perhaps three of whom are destined for first string work. Take for instance John Kerestes, hard driving 205 pound fullback. That John will be the regular fullback was accepted by all. John’s hometown is Streator, Illinois where he and his family were faithful members of Trinity Church of the Slovak Lutheran Church, shepherded by Rev. John Daniel. During his high school years, John accumulated no less than ten letters and was active in baseball, basketball, track and field, and football. Four of the ten letters he earned in high school were for his football abilities. In his senior year he captained the Streator squad and also placed on the Illinois All State high school team.

“Football ability was apparently a natural for the Kerestes family. Joining John on this year’s Purdue squad was brother Lou. Like John, Lou too had won numerous letters at Streator Township High School, participating in baseball, basketball, and of course, football. In fact when John was injured during his senior year in high school, it was Lou, a sophomore, who filled, his position. Only in his second year of college and therefore not able to demonstrate his football prowess, Purdue coachers reqarded Lou as an outstanding prospect.”
(Unionville Dispatch, October 1989)


Would you believe that in. May, 1941, you could purchase at this wel- stocked store a tire for $6.95, a lawnmower for $4.59, a garbage can for $1.25, a dust mop for 29¢, a quart of paint for 19¢, an oil stove for $7.75, or an ironing board,for $1.95?
(Unionville Dispatch, August 1989)



  • The clatter of marching feet were heard in Streator's nine public schools as 1700 Streator kids trekked back to their classes.
  • At the Halcott home, Susan Halcott and Robert Brandes were united in marriage by Rev. E. Smith of the Park Church.
  • Grand Ridge had their annual homecoming. and Sandwich was host to the 61st DeKalb County Fair.
  • At the lunch counter at Goslin Drugs, a roast turkey sandwich, cranberries, and dressing cost just 65¢.
  • Midget auto racing was featured at the Streator Speedway while the 3rd Street Raceway promoted motorcycle competition.
  • The Capital Tavern, 121 N. Bloomington Street purchased a television set to the delight of their many customers.
  • At the Granada Theater, Gene Autry in Robin Hood of Texas had everyone sharpening up their spurs.
  • Dick Jurgen's orchestra appeared at the Armory.
  • At the Chicago Grocery, Prince Albert pipe tobacco was 10¢ a tin, and salmon was 25¢ a can.
  • George Duder erected a building at 517 James Street. He was in the manufacturing end of playground equipment.
  • Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Williams celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at the home of their son, Cephas Williams.
  • The S.H.S. class of 1938 celebrated their 10th at the Pines with 100 attending. Kankakee stunned Streator in the opening football game.
  • Tickets were selling fast for the Wayne King Concert to be held at the high school in October.
  • It was Ball Room Dancing and Tip Toeing Thru the Tulips at the Club Grove, end of West 2nd St.
  • Dell Tire was celebrating the opening of their new store. It was formerly Streator Tire and Battery.
  • In baseball, Boston was leading the American League & Boston was leading the National League.
  • Butter prices were declining; coal sales were picking up.
  • Harry Truman and Thomas Dewey were stepping up their Presidential Campaigns.
  • The beautiful autumn was just around the corner.
  • Our City Clerk was Edward Hultman, and the City Attorney was John Berry.
    (Unionville Dispatch, September 1989)



Jodie was an All-State basketball player in the 1960s, and later he was a starter for the University of Illinois basketball squad. He was also considered an excellent golfer. He loved the sport of baseball. Here is a short story that many people probably don't remember.

Like most boys in the seventh grade, Jodie, the son of Bob and Gerry Harrison, was fond of dogs and baseball. Jodie had a collie named "Nellie" in honor of his favorite baseball player, Nelson Fox. In October 1959, the White Sox were playing in the World Series. The same day that the Sox lost the second game of the Series, Jodie also lost his pet collie.The dual blows of his dog's demise and the Chicagoans’ loss in the series was too much for him. His smile was lost. And. it seemed to Sister Mary Charla, his seventh grade teacher at St. Mary's in Streator, that his smile was lost forever.

Upon finding out what had happened to Jodie, Sister Charla sat right down and wrote a letter to Nelson Fox. She explained the youth's gloom and suggested a note from "Nellie" as a bit of mental therapy. Fox did send him a note, plus an autographed ball with the names of the American Leaguers who played with the All-Stars in the annual game.

In telling a Times-Press reporter about the wonderful thing that had happened to him, Jodie said to be sure to put it in the paper that he liked·
the Sisters of Mercy very much. This small gesture made Jodie come out of his melancholy and also made a Sox fan out of Sister Mary Charla.
(Unionville Dispatch, November 1989)


One of the most enthusiastic demonstrations ever put on by Streator High School was held on September 20, 1946 in celebration of the annual Streator-Ottawa football game. A snake dance was held with a legal permit from Mayor Thomas Halfpenny and Chief of Police Ray Eutsey with the provision that no public or private property would be damaged and no business building would be legally entered. Last year, an illegal one was staged and got out of hand.

The parade formed at the school and made its way down Bloomington Street to the downtown area. A squad car led the way followed by S.T.H.S. baton twirlers, the school.band led by Karl Brix, Jr., the new cheer
leaders were next followed by many students weaving back and forth across the street. Trailing behind them were ponies, motorcycles, and contraptions some people had the nerve to call cars.      .           ,

Circling back to the athletic field, the parade was greeted by a blazing bonfire. Into the roaring fire was thrown an effigy of, Ottawa High School. Cheer leaders then led the 1,000 plus crowd in a group of cheers and the Streator Loyalty Song.

Those responsible for the arrangements were: Lowell Dale, general director; Ben Westlake, marshal; L.P. Witt, bonfire director. This pep rally showed the true spirit of'the students and their willingness to cooperate.
(Unionville Dispatch, October 1989)


Streator products, large and small, were on display at the new Cephas Williams’ building, 914 E. Main Street; as the Streator Manufacturer's Association exhibit opened on September 28, 1946. More than 4,000 people toured the exhibit over the two days. Almost everything that was manufactured and shipped from Streator was on display -- from Owens-Illinois’ Duraglass containers; Streator Drain Tile chimney pots and septic tanks; Paris Garter Company Permalift brassieres; to Coppin’s ice cream and dairy products, Streator Canning Company canned products; and Anthony Company's upper hoist dump truck bodies. The exhibit also served as a dedication of the new Williams’ Building which was among the most modern and up-to-date structure of its kind in the Midwest.
(Unionville Dispatch, October 1989)


An appeal for cloth baby diapers was sounded on October 29, 1946 by Mrs. Peter Samek, 1211 Dalton Street, who recently gave birth to triplet daughters. Diapers were as scarce as nylons on the store-counters and Mrs. Samek had only made preparati6ns f6r one child.

The girls, Elsie, Evelyn, and Eleanor, were the first triplets to live in the past twenty years at the hospital and were born in perfect health and were gaining weight.
(Unionville Dispatch, October 1989)


The men were then sent to Ft. Sheridan to be shipped to other points in the U. S. for training. Those who made up the quota were: Franklyn Grant, Steve T. Majercin, William G. Reed, Russell P. Muscato, Elmer Hillnann, Glen E. Brougham, Kenneth Brown, Edward L. McCurdy, Edwin Hritz, and Al Churney.
(Unionville Dispatch, September 1989)



  • There wasn't much on T.V., but on the radio you could tune in Gang Busters, 'Perry Como, Boston BIackie, Judy Canova, Truth or Consequences, and Rumpus Room.
  • The YMCA pool was reopened. It had been closed since the middle of August as a precaution against, the spread of polio.
  • Meat was still scarce, even on the black market. Butter was 91¢ a pound and milk was 18¢ a quart.
  • There was no cure yet-for Dutch Elm disease.
  • Men's clothiers were noting that men buying ready-made suits were thinner and longer—a change that they attributed to the war not the meat shortage. The clothiers also doubted that the vestless suit would ever be popular with the businessmen,' citing that its proper place was on a college campus.
  • Santa was s going to carry his heaviest sack of toys since 1941. Down in popularity were cannons, guns and tanks, but the "magic-skin" dolls were making a return.
  • The papers were full of wedding announcements.
  • l02 workers were laid off at Anthony's—the reason being government control of priorities resulted in deductions in the supply of steel flats, angles and sheet steel.
  • Corn was averaging 60 bushels an acre with soybeans at 20-25 bushels an acre.
  • Eating was an expensive habit in 1946 as many items were up 300 - 400%.

(Unionville Dispatch, October 1988)



Some say that the penny is on its way out, that it costs more to make them than what they are worth. Some of us can remember the joy we felt when we had a few of them jingling around in our pocket or tied in the corner of our handkerchief. After all, a penny was a lot when you were a kid. The storekeepers knew it also. Did you ever wee such fancy showcases that held so any things costing just a penny? The older folks always had a few more coins. They jisnled them a little more loudly because they wanted you to know that the clothes on their back wasn't all that they had.  ~JB
(Unionville Dispatch, August 1989)   


On Monday, August 5, 1958, Streator's business district suffered a devastating blow when the roof and parts of two walls of the old Armory Building at the southeast corner of Main and Bloomington Streets suddenly caved in. It caused extensive damage to the adjacent Metcalf Building and spilled tons of debris onto the streets and crushed three cars. The collapse of the 84-year old structure, owned by Mrs. Clarence Johnston of Streator, occurred three weeks to the day of the explosion and fire which killed six persons at the Williams Hardware building.

Witnesses said the arched roof of the huge Johnston building suddenly crumbled without warning. They heard a rumbling sound which was instantly followed by the collapse of the entire roof and portions of the east and west walls. A large window of the vacant Metcalf building, located just east of the Armory, was blown out by the concussion, and tumbling debris caved in forty feet of its roof. None of the six business establishments housed on the ground floor of the Johnston building or three apartments on the upper floors were damaged other than receiving a thick layer of dust from the falling debris. Three cars, owned by William Obert, Roy Laue, and Frank Ramme, had been parked at the side of the building only ten to fifteen minutes before it collapsed. Two women in the apartments, Mrs. Zenia Thomas and Mrs. Leslie Carpenter, managed to reach safety by a stairway leading off the old Armory hall.

When the west wall of the building collapsed, massive chunks of mortar and brick tumbled into Bloomington Street and several pieces reached buildings across the street and caused damage. Front windows of the Aschinger Electric Company and the Rokey Tavern were pierced by flying missiles. Minutes after the roof collapsed, a gaping hole was left in the Johnston building with only the front and rear walls and a portion of the west wall remaining upright. Fearing imminent collapse of these walls, police and firemen, assisted by Ray Sopher and the Civil Defense workers, Streator National Guardsmen, and volunteer firemen from Reading Township, blocked off the area to thousands of onlookers who gathered at the scene. Police Chief John Gaydos ordered the area closed to traffic during the night as Civil Defense personnel patrolled the area.

Among the eye-witnesses to the cave-in was Joseph Brarton, who was sitting on a porch over the Rokey entrance across the street. He said he heard a squealing noise such as that made by automobile tires and looked up to see the avalanche of dusty and flying debris in the Johnston building. Three youths on their way to the city swimming pool, Alan Hall, John Corder, and James Heinz, said they were standing at the southwest corner of Main and Bloomington Street when they saw the glass fly out of the Metcalf building. The Hall boy said he noticed a puff of dust at the side of the building, and then saw a crack in the wall before the entire roof and part of the wall fell in.

In statements by George Centko and Joseph Cali, who occupied adjoining business houses, both had heard a loud thumping noise as if something heavy was being dropped on the floor before the building collapsed. Chief John Gaydos said it was simply a miracle that there were no injuries or fatalities.
(Unionville Dispatch, 1989)


Streator citizens above the age of thirty can recall the pleasant smell coming:out of the Hamburger Inn on South Bloomington Street In my early days at the Times Press. I was one of their steady patrons, stopping in whenever I had the funds to buy a couple of nickel burgers and a Coke. The hamburgers were quickly cooked, placed on a steamed hot bun, salted, then topped with onions, pickle slices and mustard or catsup. Good? No, they were supreme. From its earliest days it was a mecca for Times Press staffers, from the managerial level through the carrier staff. The latter always gorged themselves on collection days. That wonderful odor, that satisfying taste, and even the building is gone now, but those tasty thoughts grow even more tasty in memory.   ~Lyle Kennedy
(Unionville Dispatch, September 1989)


During World War II our fighting men created a whole language of nicknames. If they were talking about "Fritz" or the "Huns," the Germans were their topic. "Francine" was a Red Cross nurse; a “goulash kitchen" was a field kitchen; "Green Cross Shells" were gas shells; a "Fokker" was a type of very fast German airplane. "Iron rations", aptly named, were emergency rations of bully beef, hardtack, jam, and tea. “Jack Johnson" was the British name for the German seventeen inch shells. If you were offered a “Fag," then you got a smoke; but if you had "Gone Hest," then everyone knew you weren't coming home.


  • After a half century of business, A.B. Estock, men's clothing house at 111 E. Main Street, was going out-of- business. He featured such bargains as all wool suits for $40.00; silk shirts, $3.95, felt hats, 99¢ - $6.50; and wool union suits for $4.95.
  • July 3rd saw the opening of the newly remodeled Panno's Cigar Store, 107 E. Hickory Street, owned by Andy Panno.
  • Mayor Albert Oietman swore into office 26 local youths who will serve as junior policemen to insure the safety of children during the city's summer recreation program. Robert Lauer was elected chief of the Junior Police squad, and Fred Brown was elected to serve as desk sergeant.
  • Gene Novotney and Mel Kerestes, two of the city's most promising young baseball players, were eligible to complete the season with the Alec Micklos' Streator All Stars in the Illinois Valley league.
  • Edward Radatz, an employee of the Streator Cab Company, was robbed of $30 and his cab as he took two men to Lostant.
  • Facilities of the Streator Canning Company, 701 S. Vermillion, were being remodeled to accommodate the city's newest industry, the S & R Fine Foods, Inc., which produce mayonnaise, sandwich spreads, and the like. The new business will operate independantely of the Streator Canning Company.
  • Roderick- Irwin, son of Mr. and Mrs. R.T. Irwin of 605 S. Bloomington Street, won the county scholarship to the University of Illinois. Irwin was the valedictorian for the S.H.S. Class of 1948.
  • The A & P Store, 116 N. Park Street, held their grand re-opening on July 9th to show off their newly remodeled facility.

(Unionville Dispatch, July 1989)



Thousands of celebrants converged on Streator for a program of fun planned by the American Legion. A large midway of rides ran in the park for four days. The celebration was highlighted by a series of boxing exhibitions by Streator, Joliet, and Morris amateur fighters in the park. July 5th featured a colorful parade which featured six drum and bugle corps, three bands and a bevy of floats. That night, "The Pageant of Music" was held at the Football field and featured six drum and bugle corps in competition. A fireworks display followed the competition.

(Unionville Dispatch, June 1989)


Finding a drink of water wasn't the only problem for transients or workers in the downtown district. Food was on the touch and go basis also. Most eateries closed due to the lack of water. The ones that stayed open offered their customers a snack without coffee -- maybe a soft drink.

Dairy and ice cream makers were meeting the crises by turning to other cities such as Ottawa and other communities where pasteurization of ice cream making was available.

Police & firemen were on duty most of the night on the west side supplying flood lights to aid in the evacuation of families from water swept lowlands.

Trucks arriving in the city with frozen meat, fish, and other foods were forced to turn back or peddle them in other cities.

Mayor Bob Drysdale and Commissioner Lyle Kennedy put in a sleepless night as they moved from point to point setting up safety measures.

Senator Fred Hart arranged with the State Highway Department at Ottawa to send in two seven hundred gallon trucks of water for use at St. Mary's Hospital. He also arranged for a 1000 gallon truck to be sent here from Oglesby.

City Engineer Fred Renz, who kept a vigil at the Bridge Street bridge, estimated the waters at approximately five feet higher than in any previous flood here.

Through arrangements of the Streator Civic Association, surgical Instrument’s from St. Mary's Hospital were taken to Ryburn-King Hospital in Ottawa where they were sterilized at regular intervals.

Many Streator residents still have vivid memories of the flood of July 1951. It will be marked as one of the worst floods in Streator’s history.
(Unionville Dispatch, May 1989)



Mayor Thomas Halfpenny, and J.J. Mohan, president of the Streator Chamber of Commerce, were among a group of mayors from seven LaSalle and Grundy County cities who called on Mayor Edward J. Kelly of Chicago to invite the city's participation in an "LST exposition" which appeared in Streator on May 4 - 6 , 1944. The exposition was sponsored by the Navy and the Chicago Bridge and Iron company whose shipyards build the navy's Landing Ship Tank.

Mayor Halfpenny and others attended a luncheon on board the U.S. Wolverine in Lake Michigan. They then toured the Glenview naval air station and the Great Lakes Naval Training center. It was also the privilege of Mayor Halfpenny to tour the Chicago Service Men Center No.2 with Mrs. Edward Kelly, wife of the Chicago mayor, as their .'t;('ort. She told Mayor Halfpenny she had frequently heard of the Streator. Service' Men's Canteen at the Santa Fe railroad station and was greatly impressed by the reports of service men and women who had been fed during their stop-over here.
(Unionville Dispatch, January 1988)

The account below was taken from the Chicago Tribune in 1945 when Hollywood was considering a movie about Honey Boy Evans’ life as a minstrel. The movie was shelved—we
don't know the reason why. Mrs. Mildred Evans, Honey Boy's wife, was interviewed about
the choice of Frank Sinatra portraying the famous minstrel.

Sinatra may have the approval of the bobby sox swoon brigade, but he does not rank high with Mrs. Minnie Evans, 77, of 1518 Congress Street. Mrs. Evans is the widow of the famous minstrel man, Honey Boy Evans, whose life Hollywood is making into a movie with Sinatra as Honey Boy. "Sinatra," she scoffed. “He can't sing half as well as Honey Boy and besides he's too skinny.”

She would rather have had Bing Crosby, George Kelly or even Mickey Rooney play the part, she said. "But, not Sinatra."

Old timers who recall the turn of the century remember Honey Boy Evans and his 100 minstrel men, and younger folk remember a song he wrote, In the Good Old Summertime.

Saturday, she recalled the day her husband wrote the song. "We were sitting on this train and he embarrassed me by singing out loud and reaching into his pocket for a piece of paper to write the notes and words down on. Other passengers thought he was crazy, but I’m glad he wrote it because it is still bringing in royalties."

Movie producers, she said, wanted to change the song but her answer to that was, “No."

The famous entertainer of bygone era was a Welshman, "who never tasted liquor or smoked," his widow said. She is hoping the movie version of his life sticks close to the facts on that score.

Although her husband made as much as $750 a week back in 1900 and up to 1915, he never owned a diamond ring. Once, she recalled, she gave him diamond cuff links which later he replaced with 10¢ ones. "He didn't like anything flashy," she explained. "That's why he fell in love with me, I guess. I was always a homebody and never mixed with his theatrical friends. I traveled with him but we never stayed at the same hotel as the others in the show.

The Evan’s family lived in Streator, Illinois, and young George was working in a print shop. He was happy enough, but one day a minstrel show came to town and paraded to advertise the show. That parade was too much for the boy printer, and he decided to become a vaudeville performer. For years he played in Chicago and later toured the country with other famous shows before organizing his own. Mrs. Evans is not too worried about who plays her part in the coming movie. All she wants is an accurate picture of her husband’s life.

"I hope they include the song, I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen for that was Honey Boy's favorite, and he sang it at every show. If only it wasn't going to be Frank Sinatra," she added.

[The print shop in Streator that the story mentions was probably the Streator Free-Press where he worked as a "printers devil."]  
(Unionville Dispatch, March 1989)



  • The Fourth Annual Society Horse Show was set for June 15th. Twenty-five classes of horses were divided into two shows, which included a jumper class. Over 200 horses and ponies were stabled on the spacious grounds of The Pines, owned by Harry (Bud) Defenbaugh.
  • Teberg moved his shoe shop from 124 S. Bloomington tol132 S. Bloomington Street. The newly purchased building was to have a new glass and brick front. The building at 124 S. Bloomington will be occupied by the Times-Press.
  • A graduation dance for the eighth grade students was held at the HUB, under the supervision of Miss Jean Soderstrom, Grant School teacher and Teen Y leader.
  • 136 eighth grade students from Streator Schools received their diplomas when individual commencement exercises were conducted in the 5 large elementary schools.
  • The Westwood Grocery at 1101 N. Wasson Street changed hands on June 12th as Walter Westwood sold the building and stock to Lester Riehl. of 1417 N. Sterling Street. That site had been known as a grocery store even to early days. The late Jerry Westwood bought the grocery from the Bronson family in 1913 and operated it until 1938 when it was taken over by his son.Walter.
  • Shirley Lee Patterson, daughter of Mrs. Floremce Patterson, was chosen to attend the summer National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. Other Streatorites that had attended the camp included Doriot Anthony, Courtney Arthur, and Dr. R.I. Barickman, Jr.
  • In the week of June 16th, Streator women learned that throwing away the ration books didn’t mean more sugar in the cupboard as they went shopping for the first time without stamps. Grocers were not prepared for the avalanche of shoppers that came with the end of rationing, and supplies gave out quickly. Wholesale shipments were also slowed by river flooding.

(Unionville Dispatch, June 1989)



November 12, 1965-- Mrs. Lester Berta of 307 Fuller Ave. was sitting in her living room watching television with her two-month old son, Joey in her arms, Friday afternoon. When it began hailing she put the infant down and went to the front door to bring in her two sons, Jeffrey, 5, and Lester John, 4, who were playing on the front porch with a neighbor boy, Jeffrey Legne,r 5. As she tried to open the door, the tornado struck, bringing with it a pressure that kept the door firmly closed against her efforts and blowing out the front window. The terrified children remained frozen in fear on the porch while the gusts of wind tore three of the four porch pillars loose flinging them into the yard. Mrs. Berta succeeded in getting the children into the house minutes later as the tornado quickly passed. They were unhurt, the neighbor boy returning home with his brother who came for him. Mrs. Berta’s fourth son, Brian, who was taking a nap,--remained asleep through it all.

The above account is just one story about the "twister" that hit Streator at 2:10 pm on Friday, Nov. 12, 1965. It followed a course southwest to northeast through Streator. Four persons were injured, none seriously, although three of the four were treated in the emergency department of St. Mary's Hospital. The tornado did, in the vicinity of Wilson and Bloomington Streets, damage homes, overturned garages, and snapped off trees as it roared eastward through the middle of the 200 block of South Park and Monroe Streets. Heavy damage also took place in the 1400 block of E. Elm St. Along with hangers, a number of planes were damaged at the local airport. All told, $200,000 worth of damage was done.

The news staff of the Times Press, under the direction of Lyle Kennedy, did a commendable job on the story. The edition appeared on the streets in less than two hours after the tornado. It had pictures and a complete account and was eagerly awaited.
(Unionville Dispatch, April 1989)


Our parlor was the center of entertainment at our house almost every night of the week -- mostly because of the radio. It was there that I met Lum & Abner, Fibber & Molly, The Lone Ranger, Henry Aldrich, Amos &' Andy, Mr. Keen, Jack Armstrong and listened to such delightful programs as The Welk Show, Gang Busters, Stage Door Canteen, Duffy's Tavern, and The Amateur Hour. One of my favorites was Death Valley ·Days. I could almost see myself getting aboard one of those Prairie Schooners, taking the reins in hand, and heading out across one of those salt flats in Utah.

Radio --- it wasn't so bad --- it allowed your hands and eyes to motivate if necessary. I wonder how many quilts were made, or meals were cooked, or just plain visiting went on while the radio just played on?      
(Unionville Dispatch, July 1989)


JANUARY 13, 1944
The Streator canteen had the privilege of serving the Great Lakes Naval Band which was enroute to Kansas City. To everyone's surprise, three Streator men, Alvin Jacobson, Glenn Rohlfing and Edward Schaefer, were members of the band. The three men commented that they were proud to call Streator their home. (Over 8,000 men and women in uniform were served [at the canteen] that particular week.)

(Unionville Dispatch, January 1988)


This story was taken from the Owens-Illinois newspaper, the "Line 0' Nine", dated July 25, 1958 and tells of how OnIzers helped with the V.filliams Hardware explosion and the heavy flooding that occurred in Streator.

"During the early part of that week, heavy rains caused floods in Streator and surrounding areas making it necessary for hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. After the flood came the tremendous job of cleaning up the homes in the area. When this work was begun, Bill McBride,
Maintenance Department supervisor, assigned a crew of men from his department equipped with power pumps and fire hoses to help pump water out of basements. Before their task was finished they had pumped out between 35 to 40 basements. Men who worked on this detail included John Broyles, Loren Morlan, Ed Cole, Don McCoy, Howard McKinney and Leo Mueller.

To add to the distress, a tremendous explosion in Williams Hardware store rocked the downtown area. The fire that immediately followed the explosion took the lives of six people, one of them being Vernon Rush, a Streator plant employee.

Many of the men from the Streator Plant, who were trained in the various phases of the Civil Defense program, worked around the clock helping evacuate flood victims and move their furniture in. large vans. Others helped with the fire and police departments in fighting the fire and helping control the unusually heavy traffic in the downtown area.

The offering of men and equipment to assist in aiding the disaster victims was just another example of how OnIzers worked together."
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1986)

The first actual Streator Chapter was instituted in October of 1940 in response to an appeal from the Veterans Administration Hospital, Dwiqht. The first class was taught by Mrs. Ermin F. Plumb at the Streator Amory. There were 28 women recruited from the Streator Chapter who completed the course through the efforts of Mr. J. J. Flohan, chairman of the volunteers. They assisted at the Dwight Hospital, serving there while it was in operation. Mrs. Edgar J. Bundy and MIls. Arthur H. Shay recruited and trained many of the ladies in the middle 1950s while working themselves at St. Mary's Hospital.

The Gray Ladies were first formed in 1918 in Washington, D.C. Times Press-1973
(Unionville Dispatch, July 1989)



  • Joseph Jakupchak, who completed an 18 months course in watchmaking, engraving, and jewelry repair at Bradley University, returned to this city and was employed by Randall Hirst in the Time Shop, 1501 N. Bloomington Street.
  • A bus trip to Chicago was enjoyed by the twenty-seven graduates of Grant School chaperoned by George Spirduso, principal, William Martin, and Mrs. Emerson Gee. Stops were made at the Union Industries Show at Soldiers Field, the Wrigley building, and the Municipal Airport.
  • Forty-one students received their diplomas at the Minonk-Dana high school graduation exercises.
  • The Parkway Tavern captured its first title in the Greater Streator Bowling League by defeating Hi-Lo in a roll off match. Members of the team included John Newton, Joseph Stasell, James Thomas, Jack Moore, Wes Woodward, Dan Berta, Frank Yednock, and sponsor Katherine Carlson.
  • The Streator Athletics met the Minooka Athletic Club and the Northern Illinois Teacher's College of DeKalb in a double header. Ron Christmann was the starting pitcher against Minooka, and George Green opposed the DeKalb collegians.
  • Jack’s Men's Wear, 114 S. Vermillion Street, was offering men's slacks for $6.75, sport shirts for $2.59, and Tee shirts for $l.l0.

(Unionville Dispatch, May 1986)



When the Williams Hardware Company explosion took place on Monday July 14, 1958, almost every merchant in the area did their part in making the firemen and workers tasks seem more bearable among those who rallied in this time of need were:

The Ruth Swain Restaurant, 126 S. Vermillion, opened her restaurant to firemen and Civil Defense workers, providing them with coffee, sandwiches, ice water, and soft drinks. With the aid of several friends and an employee, Mrs. Swain kept the restaurant open until 11 pm solely to help out. The Bowl-Mor Lanes at 117 S. Sterling Street opened its doors at 6pm Monday with Albert, Robert, and George Hudachko serving coffee and sandwiches to fire fighters and workers all through the night. Their lounge was put to good use with many of the off-duty firemen taking cat-naps before returning to duty. Additional supplies were brought in by understanding citizens.

The Salvation Army was also on hand dispensing food plus the traditional doughnuts. Members accompanied by Captain David Chase arrived at the scene of the fire at 1pm and set up a canteen which was kept in constant operation until 8pm. They were aided in food supplies by the Fireside Restaurant and both the Federal and Harvest Bakeries. Pots of coffee and sandwiches were also taken to the men fighting the fire from tops of nearby buildings.

Rising to the occasion were the members of the American Legion and its Auxiliary who held open house all night at the Legion clubrooms serving all emergency workers with sandwiches, coffee, and soft drinks. The Veterans of Foreign Wars opened their building to the many emergency workers with the serving of sandwiches and coffee starting at 8pm and continuing until 4am in the morning. They were aided by their Auxiliary as well as volunteer workers.

There were many deeds of kindness on that day that went unrecorded. The few instances mentioned above are proof that when a "rally day" is needed, a "rally day" it will be -- especially in Streator.
(Unionville Dispatch, July 1989)


We noticed in the Oct 12, '1944 issue of the Times Press that the Plumb Hotel Grill was looking for two waitresses. The advertisement stated that the wages· were very good and room and board was provided.
(Unionville Dispatch, July 1989)


The Christmas party for the employees of Smith-Douglas began when work came to a standstill at noon on the 24th of December. A delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings prepared, by Mrs. John Balke was served. Gifts for the employees were piled high under the Christmas tree and many attractive reminders lined the long dinner tables. The gift distribution and hilarious program by the "Two Fakirs," Herman PIcker, Jr., and Noble Wyatt followed the meal. Arrangements for the party, held in the employee building, were made by Howard Hendren, Dale Washburn, Clarence Ferguson, Harold McHugh, and Carl Berstine.

(Unionville Dispatch, December 1989)


The following was written by Floyd "Bumsie" Padgett in 1988 for the Streator Times Press:

"I worked in Trapps for 46 years. My information comes from experience and from those men who were there when it all began.

“First we'll start with the back bar. It was probably transported from the Chicago World’s Fair by rail. The roads from here to Chicago (1896) weren't much more than trails. There were no automobiles and very little attention was paid to wagon trails leading out of the city. At that time the Santa Fe was the way to go.

“The bar itself was placed in Anderson & Trapps Saloon at 308 E. Main St., where Fitzgerald's Jewelry is now. Around 1908, Busch decided to put up a building next door to the saloon (306 E. Main). When completed, Billy Anderson & John Trapp moved in -- bar and all. It remained at that location for 68 years until it was moved to Morris, IL.

“About beef sandwiches -- they were our pride and joy -- although we only served them on weekends. One Saturday we used 45 dozen buns which is 540 sandwiches, plus we made many ‘beefs’ on white or rye for those who preferred them that way. From the late 30's until the middle 40's, the beef was cooked at the Bake-Rite Bakery owned by Clarence Jackson. It was located above Hill Bros. at 211 E. Main St. After that, all the meat was prepared in the tavern.

“We also served ham-on-rye (hams were cooked in copper boilers on a gas burner), ham salad, liverwurst, salami, cheese, buttermilk, and a different soup each day of the week. Corned beef was served on occasion. During WW II, hams were not available all of the time so corned beef was substituted. Sardines, we served them by the tin with crackers. The customer did the opening. When I started there, sandwiches were a dime and a big glass of lemonade was a nickel. The prices stayed at that level until approximately 1940 when everything jumped in price a little. The sliced tomatoes, cukes, hot peppers, and onions were usually bought in by patrons, free of charge, when in season. They were very proud of their gardens.

In closing, I'd like to say that I am proud to have been associated with a business that was so very popular in the city of Streator. It survived four wars, prohibition, two depressions, and the five-cent beer and free lunch period. I have made a thousand friends and a lot of beef sandwiches. At night sometimes, when I am thinking about it all, I might say to myself, "Bumsie, just how many beef sandwiches did you put together in those 46 years?"

(Unionville Dispatch, October 2010)



  • Joyce Conner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Garland Conner, graduated from Stephan’s College in Columbia, Missouri.
  • The Duraglass makers auxiliary from Owens Illinois Glass were planning a picnic for June 27. Mrs. Joseph Harcharik was president.
  • Frenchie, an enjoyable western starring  Shelley Winters and Joey McCrea, was showing at the Plumb theatre while the Granada featured Gregory Peck in Only the Valliant.
  • Eddy Howard appeared in Spring Valley.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Yuhas celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary.
  • Jack Fedor became the new Streator U. C. T. head.
  • Character actress Miss Irene Bewley entertained at the Rotary Club's ladies night held at the Country Club.
  • Plans for the resurfacing of Broadway Street were in the hopper for the coming summer.
  • After 12 years in Streator, Dr. W. E. Grote of the Grace E. U. B. Church was transferred to Freeport, Illinois
  • Coca Cola was still 5¢.
  • A Zoning ordinance for Streator was adopted by the city council setting a pattern for the years

  • Fanny Brice passed away.
  • With a simple twist of the radio dial you could listen to Jack Armstrong, Baby Snooks. One Man's Family, Big Town, Bob Hope, Bob Elson, Fibber McGee, or To Tell The Truth.
  • Miss Louise Black presented a recital featuring Nancy Kmetz and Irma Shultz. Orchestral parts were played by Lyle Yeck, Lucille Tkach, Joan Wooten, Troy Duis, Lorene Dettelhouser, and Miss Black.
  • Memorial Day services will be held at the G. A. R. lot in Riverview Cemetery preceded by a parade.
  • Temperatures were in the 50s and 60s and the early blooming flowers were beautiful.
  • Streator's Mayor was Albert Dietman and the City Clerk was Ewald Hultman.
    (Unionville Dispatch, January 1986)



The canteen opened on Sunday, November 28, 194), with the women of the Parent's Service Club in charge. Three hundred service men were accomodated that day, and more could have been had not the supply of food been exhausted. And with each passing day the Service Men's Canteen became more popular with the men in uniform passing through the city. From the first train to the last, with a few hours off during the afternoon, the workers were kept busy, but the sincere gratitude of the young men they fed was compensation enough for their efforts. Along with the Parent's Service Club, other clubs and interested citizens helped including the War Mother's Club, Navy Mothers, Margaret Roper Club, Junior Women's Club and the Delta Theta Tau Sorority. Through their efforts as many as 600 to 900 service men per day were fed during the first months of the canteen.

Coffee was the favorite with the service men, who welcomed the hot beverage "cause it just seemed to 'hit the spot." The workers had been making coffee in their homes and taking it to the station in thermos jugs. When the canteen first opened, they had to return home to make additional,coffee, but the idea of the canteen spread through the town, and soon the people in the neighborhood gave them the additional supplies.

By the first of the year, 1944, food donations as well as financial gifts made by local merchants, industrial plants, and individuals were very generous and the general committee was grateful. However, with the number of service men taking advantage of the canteen increasing with each day, an appeal for community-wide cooperation and the asistance of surrounding towns was made by Mrs. Ray Eutsey, general chairman, and her assistants, Mrs. George Plimmer and Mrs. Irl Shull.

City employees donated their services in transporting donations of cookies and other food supplies left at the City Hall to the station.

This community project certainly proved to be a worthwhile one in the few days that it had been been in operation. Feeding Uncle Sam's men in uniform while they were traviling was a problem and canteens were a means of partially solving it. They were a necessary part of the war effort and one in which everyone cooperated.
(Unionville Dispatch, January 1986)

The vacant Harvest Bakery Building collapsed on Feb. 17, 1975. Tom Purcell of the Union National Bank was the first one to report the crumbling of the building.

In 1904 the building was occupied by William Heineke, a dealer in wines and liquors. Upstairs at that time, the Wells Fargo Express Company and coal dealer Arthuyr M. Barackman occupied the site.
(Unionville Dispatch, April 1986)

As most of you know, the Corner Casuals Ladies Shop just closed their doors. We thought that you may be interested in a bit of history about that site in years gone by. We'll also mention that it was once a three story building and one of the most sought after corner spots in town—sort of the State and Madison of Streator, Illinois.

We believe that the Pilcher's built a one story frame building on the site in the late 1870's. In fact, when Garfield was elected president in 1880, a big celebration and parade was held on Main Street to show the city's approval. Some of the spectators climbed up on the small one story building to view the goings on. A young upstart named Willie Richardson fell off the building that night and injured himself. The exuberant affair and the injury to Willie received much publicity, in fact so much; it reached the ears of President Garfield. (Probably through Col. Plumb who was a Republican and a good friend of Garfield.) Anyway, when the President read about it, he sent a very nice get-well letter to Willie Richardson.

Some of the other retailers that were located on that 223 East Main Street site were: 1904, L.D. Howe, hardware; 1910, F.M. Kirby, notions; 1913, F.W. Woolworth & Company; 1932, Paris Cloak Company. It was vacant from about 1961 until 1964 except for Dr. Conley and Cripe Studio, who were upstairs. In 1964, the Fashionaire Ladies Store moved in and remained there until 1977 when it became vacant again. In 1978, Corner Casuals came along and conducted business on the site until they closed in 1986.

This site, although not a great architectural asset, does have a good historical background as mentioned above. Also, Lyston D. Howe, who operated the hardware store, was the Civil War's only boy soldier (10 years old), and the Masonic Temple Hall was located there in the early 1900's.
(Unionville Dispatch, February 1986)


The Streator YMCA along with 10,000 others throughout the world observed the 100th  anniversary of the founding of their movement by twelve young men in a London bedroom. Radio comedian Bob Hope took time out from his gags and wisecracks on NBC to pay tribute to the YMCA. Hope, himself, was a “Y” member.

In Streator, over 150 persons attended the anniversary dinner.
(Unionville Dispatch, January 1986)


  • J. Karr, operator of a local machine shop, returned from Rock Island with a list of 14 items he will bid to subcontract from the Federal government. Mr. Karr was among 531 Midwest manufactures to examine the more than 21,000 exhibits found on the special red, white and blue defense train touring the area.

  • Streator swamped Lasalle-Peru in their first cage game, 58-26. Don Morris led the way with 20 points.|
  • In a record turnout for a special election, 4,451 residents of the of the city proper went to the polls to register their opinion concerning the proposed purchase of Northern Illinois Water Corporation facilities by the city of Streator. The proposition was voted down 3,996 to 455.
  • The annual Christmas Poultry Bingo was held at St. Anthony's hall. Prizes included a ducks, chickens, geese and turkeys. Donations:35¢ for 25 games.
  • Harvest bakery offered fruit cakes at 45¢ per lb. and a Christmas two layer cake for 25¢.
  • Governing fathers were: Mayor Halfpenny; Commissioners Dial, Baars, Hendrickson, McGrath.

(Unionville Dispatch, December 1985)



Despite unseasonable weather which sent temperature tumbling to one of their lowest marks (520) for a holiday in many years, thousands of Streator land celebrants gathered to celebrate the 4th of July.

The attendance reached its peak for the. Parade which was a colorful procession of American Legion drum and bugle corps units and multi-colored floats and exhibits. Streator was well represented in the parade by the American Legion color guard, firing squad and band; veterans of
Foreign Wars and Amvets color guards and firing squads, a marching unit of Company F, Streator National Guard, and beautifully decorated floats representing the American Legion, the V.F.W., and Owens-Illinois Glass Co.

After the parade, the crowds gathered in the park to see the many free stage acts and the midway. Climaxing the festivities was the fireworks display at the Broadway Show Grounds. The sixth annual program was sponsored by the Streator Leslie G. Woods Post 217 of the American Legion.
Chairmen of the various committees were 'Albert Dietman, midway; Fred E. Mills, stage entertainment; and Elvea Farmer, -parade.
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1986)


"I attended Streator High School for my first two years (1920-1922). During my freshman year, I rode a bicycle to high school from our farm s even miles away, thru rain or shine. It got pretty rough at times. During my second year, I drove a horse and buggy because my sister Esther was lame from polio. Frederick Munson lived a half mile from us on the way to Streator, so we picked him up every day. Later, he became a well-known medical doctor in Streator."

(Note: Mr. Tombaugh celebrated his 80th birthday on February 4th. We have also received an autographed copy of his book, Out of the Darkness -- The Planet Pluto. Clyde Tombaugh was recently honored with A State of Illinois Historical Marker noting his achievements in astronomy and being an area resident of Streator. The marker is now located in front of the Streator Municipal Building.)
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1986)

On November 16, 1963, Justice of the Peace George Kaschak fined one person $9 for speeding, another $13 for same, and a man from Peopis $13 and cost for driving too fast for conditions.
(Unionville Dispatch, April 1986)

How do you protect a banana during shipment? It becomes bruised, squashed, decayed and it could spread germs and disease.

Inventor Frank Schmitz, Sr. came up with a suitable device to protect the banana during shipment. In 1911 he moved his factory to Streator from Chicago and became an instant success in the banana crate business.

The Streator crate had no rival. The ambition of Mr. Schmitz was not to see how cheaply he could make his crate but how he could make it at all. The most important feature was the inner cushion of sack cloth which kept the fruit absolutely free from contact with the outer wooden framework of the crate. The wooden portion of the crate was as hard as a rock and almost as durable as steel. The wood came to the factory in planks and was cut up into slats by special machinery. These were boiled and steamed, tied, nailed, and painted. The finished product was a Schmitz Banana Crate.

Can you remember the long yellow round crate out behind your local grocery store? It wasn't worth much except maybe making a long basketball hoop out of it. The firm went out of business in the middle 1940s and the Jaegle Implement Company moved into the building.
(Unionville Dispatch, January 1986)


  • Joyce Conner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Garland Conner, graduated from Stephan’s College in Columbia, Missouri.
  • The Duraglass makers auxiliary from Owens Illinois Glass were planning a picnic for June 27. Mrs. Joseph Harcharik was president.
  • Frenchie, an enjoyable western starring  Shelley Winters and Joey McCrea, was showing at the Plumb theatre while the Granada featured Gregory Peck in Only the Valliant.
  • Eddy Howard appeared in Spring Valley.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Yuhas celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary.|
  • Jack Fedor became the new Streator U. C. T. head.
  • Character actress Miss Irene Bewley entertained at the Rotary Club's ladies night held at the Country Club.
  • Plans for the resurfacing of Broadway Street were in the hopper for the coming summer.|
  • After 12 years in Streator, Dr. W. E. Grote of the Grace E. U. B. Church was transferred to Freeport, Illinois
  • Coca Cola was still 5¢.
  • A Zoning ordinance for Streator was adopted by the city council setting a pattern for the years ahead.
  • Fanny Brice passed away.
  • With a simple twist of the radio dial you could listen to Jack Armstrong, Baby Snooks. One Man's Family, Big Town, Bob Hope, Bob Elson, Fibber McGee, or To Tell The Truth.
  • Miss Louise Black presented a recital featuring Nancy Kmetz and Irma Shultz. Orchestral parts were played by Lyle Yeck, Lucille Tkach, Joan Wooten, Troy Duis, Lorene Dettelhouser, and Miss Black.
  • Memorial Day services will be held at the G. A. R. lot in Riverview Cemetery preceded by a parade.
  • Temperatures were in the 50s and 60s and the early blooming flowers were beautiful.
  • Streator's Mayor was Albert Dietman and the City Clerk was Ewald Hultman.

(Unionville Dispatch, January, 1986)



In May of 1947, the name Streator was exploited “to the high heavens,” thanks to the Streator Canning Company and much to the relief of air travelers, who long had found the city utterly lacking in air markers and direction signs for the airport. In an effort to correct the situation, William Benner, operator of the Canning' Company and himself an aviation enthusiast, caused the name Streator to be spelled out in fifteen foot letters on top one of the plant's warehouses. Painted a bright orange on a black background, the name was plainly visible from an altitude of 4,000 feet. An additional aid, in the form of the image of an airplane in corresponding color was turned in the direction of the Streator airport.

While the name sprawled out over the roof of the Canning Company warehouse alleviated the problem in the southern section of the city, the need of similar signs atop buildings in the downtown district and the northern portion of Streator still remained.
(Unionville Dispatch, May 1986)



  • When Victrola’s were first used in the schools, classical masterpieces were played, and a city-wide music memory contest was held in public schools. Who cannot remember Humoresque by

  • When children walked to school, twice each day even though they lived one mile or more away. There were no school cafeterias and no one carried a sack lunch. The noon hour was from 12,00 to 1:30, dismissal at 4:00 PM.
  • When the five schools, Grant, Garfield, Greeley, Plumb and Sherman, had classes for all grades, kindergarten through eight.
  • When there were no sports programs in the grade schools except those sponsored and directed by the Y.M.C.A.
  • When, following World War II, many classes had forty or more pupils.
  • When seventh and eighth graders walked from their schools to Grant School once each week for Domestic Science and Industrial Arts and the teachers were Lillian Roberts and Garland Conner.
  • When children were promoted or retained on the basis of achievement and readiness, rather than age (social promotion).
  • When composition was stressed, all tests were written tests, and true-false and multiple choice tests were unknown.
  • When all parochial school teachers were nuns and wore habits.
  • When many parents believed that grade school graduation was more than sufficient as educational preparation for life.
  • When Kate Hardy, truant officer and Dina Lundgrew, school nurse, called at the homes of absentees.
  • When teachers were dismissed if they married; and before 1932, there were no male teachers in the classrooms.
  • When epidemics of measles, mumps, chicken pox, scarlet fever, etc. were commonplace, schools were fumigated; and red quarantine placards were posted on houses by health officers.

(Unionville Dispatch, June 1986)



Taken in part from Biography in Black

With the Seneca Shipyards and the Anthony Company on the preferred list for labor, several home industries felt the pinch of the manpower shortage. One interesting solution was adopted by Wilbur Engle, who ran a florist, nursery, and produce business. Among his enterprises was that of canning asparagus, the delicate stalks of which must be picked at just the right time to avoid loss. For three summers during the war, Engle imported around twenty workers from Jamaica, who lived at the greenhouses from April 15 to July 1. Devout Anglicans, they at first refused to work on Sunday, until shown graphically one Monday morning that asparagus ready for picking one day resulted in a lot of waste on the next—they were paid by weight.

Streator people remember the concerts of religious music the Jamaicans performed in the area's churches. Later in the war, German prisoners of war were brought in to help the Streator canning Company process vegetables.

(Note: The German prisoners of war had their camp located at the old brickyards just south of the intersection of Illinois Street and Livingston Rd.)
(Unionville Dispatch, May 1986)


  • McGuire Bros, 501-'503 E. Bridge, announced that their grocery business was for sale or lease. The store originally opened in 1892.
  • Press and radio editors chose Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower as their "Man of the Year."
  • A baby daughter, born to Mrs. Charles Pence Jr. was the first arrival of the new year at st. Mary's Hospital.
  • A steak sandwich on toast was 95¢ at the Paddock Club.
  • Wm. Teberg, who has been repairing shoes in Streator since 1909, retired and turned his favorite hammer over to Lloyd West who will manage it for the owner Arnold Teberg, son of its founder.
  • Marilyn Monroe, the girl everyone was talking about, was sizzling in "Ladies of the Chorus" at the Granada Theater.
  • Mrs. Cassie Bronson of Streator, who witnessed the Chicago Fire of 1871, passed away.
  • Ester Benning won the $1000 in the Streator merchants give-away program.
  • Ly1e Bennion was elected new president of the Civic Association.
  • Ottawa romped over the locals 66-44 in an Illinois Valley basketball game.
  • Harlan Warren was doing his utmost to keep alive his pre-election promise to rid LaSalle County of gambling.
  • "Boy Wonder" William G. Stratton was inaugurated as Illinois Governor.
  • The Eagles Club minstrel, "Dixie Scandals" was a great success at the S.H.S auditorium. In the minstrel listed as the "Streator Belles" were John Rehbein, Jesse James, Williard Gaefke, Vern Hooper, Will Bell, Virgil McCumsey. Gypsy Rose Lee was played by John Bodznick.
  • Streator's annual hobby show was cranking up.
  • Mary Lee ''Robb, born in Streator and who was "Margie" on the "Great Gildersleeve" radio show, married in Los Angeles, California.
  • Milk was 21¢ a quart at the Streator Fruit Mart, 411 E. Main Street.
  • The Sisters Grill advertised beef stew, salad, spuds, bread and butter, and coffee for just 85¢.
  • The weather hovered below the zero mark.
  • Streatorites were looking ahead to February when the Golden Gloves and the Fireman's Ball would take place.
  • Our Mayor was Albert E. Dietman and our City Clerk was Roy Rathbun.
    The Time . . . January, 1953.    

(Unionville Dispatch, April 1986)



Back in 1951 a full time director and staff of leaders were in charge of Streator's recreation program for children during the summer.

John S. Hart, city commissioner was elected Chairman of the Recreation Council. Those on the Recreation Council were Helen Sternberg, Lowell Dale, Leo Sternberg, Herbert Fukua, Carl Erler, James Pritchard, and Fred Salvati.
(Unionville Dispatch, January 1986)

On July 2, 1945, the City of Streator invoked a 90 minute parking law in the local business section. R. Sparks, one of the leaders of the movement, commented that most were in accord with the new system. He declared it afforded ample time for shopping but moreover, provided convenient and available space when needed. The business and professional leaders also showed an expression of agreement.

In the two weeks following the passing of the law, 40 persons were cited for overtime parking. The toughest part of all was relieving the plight of the foot weary policemen negotiating the 58 blocks making up the parking zone.

(Unionville Dispatch, January 1986)


On our first tour of the City Park, we'll cover its history and some of the landmarks located in and near the Park.

The city park area was once a timber and swamp land. There were wild turkeys in the trees and wild ducks on the pond in the park. It remained in this condition during Hardscrabble and Unionville days, from 1860 to 1868.

In 1868, the city park, consisting of four square blocks and eleven acres, was donated to the village by the Vermillion Coal Co. Probably because Dr. Worthy Streator of Cleveland, Ohio was company president; the new village then being incorporated was named Streator in his honor. Much of the park was undermined but at levels that did not result in sink holes.

A wooden fence was built around the entire park. It remained there for 25 years, until 1894. By that time the population had grown to 14,500, about what·it is today. Families were large. Children made up most of the population. Inside the fence was a race track, where gentlemen exercised their horses. and some races were held. Vendors were not allowed in the park. Many people complained of the dust when the horses were in the park. The race track was plowed under in 1899. In 1885 the new city hall was built. It housed the fire department as well as the police department. Firemen exercised the horses on the race track. (1)

A wooden bandstand was built in the park, not far from the service building site nearer Hickory Street. It was used for public meetings such as band concerts and speeches. Many famous orators appeared in Streator. Among them were Teddy Roosevelt; Eugene V. Debs, socialist candidate for President; Sam Gompers, union organizer; and William Jennings Bryan. (2)  

A brick bandstand was erected in 1907. In 1956 it was razed and replaced with the present maintenance building. (3)

The post office was built in 1900; five years after Hickory Street had been paved with brick. Street car tracks were laid several years later. Street cars were used on city streets until 1924. The post office had mail deliveries twice each day. (4)

A memorial to veterans of World War II was erected in 1945. There were lead names plaques of hundreds of men. In 1966, it was replaced with today’s structure. (5)

The Park Presbyterian Church is the third building to use the site. The first Presbyterian Church was moved to Vermillion Street. The second one was razed in 1921 to permit construction of the present one. (6)

A memorial to Veterans of World War I was erected in 1919 by the Women's Auxiliary of the American Legion. (7)

There was a pond in the northeast corner of the park, before the park was donated to the village. From the pond, which fluctuated in size, a small creek flowed south down what is now Vermillion Street to Coal Run Creek. (8)

There was a huge mound in the center of the park where the fountain now stands. The park was drained and earth from the mound was used to fill in the swampy areas. (9)

The park fountain was erected in 1889. The principal feature was an iron figure of a small boy. (10)

The drinking fountain and horse trough at the entrance to the park was donated but Melissa Luther in memory of her husband, Milo J. Luther. He was responsible for bringing the first railway, the Stub End, to Streator. The horse trough faced the street in earlier days around 1915. (11).    
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1986)

DECATUR, IL. JULY 3, 1945   A ban on shorts for women and girls of the late teens on the streets and in taverns has been ordered by Police Chief H. J. Shepper. “Women and girls appearing in shorts which do not reach at least to the knees will be ordered to go home and change,” Shepper said. He requested tavern owners to refuse customers in such garb. He said women wearing shorts on the street make themselves subject to whistles, "yoo-hoos,” and perhaps improper words.

(Unionville Dispatch, January 1986)


  • A Streatorland Little Baseball League was organized consisting of six teams of players between the ages of 9 and 14. Ralph S. Hart was elected president of the league and Carl Sauers served as commissioner, actively directing operations of the circuit.
  • Rosemary Woodward and Ralph Walker received a papal blessing on their' wedding day, June 30th. Matt Tibbles, chairman of the Streator Mass Chest X-Ray Program, announced that 7,788 persons received examinations for T.B.
  • Craig Hart, son of Senator Fred J. Hart of Streator, returned home from Springfield where he served as a page in the State Senate.
  • $99,300 in construction permits were issued in June, 1951.
  • Danny Kaye was 38 years old when he starred in On the Riviera at the Plumb Theater.
  • Grako's Food Market, 419 East Main Street, was selling hams at 49¢ a pound; coffee for 75¢ a pound; and orange juice in a 46 ounce can for 29¢. 
  • The rustling, flirtatious petticoats of grandmother's day were making a return to the fashion headlines. Startling, after a year of straight-line, skin-tight skirts, the new silhouette was hailed to be good for all.
  • Wind and rain hit Streator hard --  dumping 3.38 inches of water in twenty hours on July 8th & 9th, causing widespread flooding throughout town. Acting Mayor Robert Drysdale declared a State of Emergency as Streator faced its gravest water crisis in history with the prospects of the emergency extending a week or longer. All citizens were urged to boil their drinking water. In the light of unsafe drinking water, a total of 686 typhoid shots were given at an immunization clinic.

. . . and that was the news for Streator in July, 1951.
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1986)



OCT. 1950
It was John Kerestes of Streator pounding out 87 yards and scoring two touchdowns when Notre Dame suffered its 1st loss after winning 39 straight games. Kerestes was a member of the Purdue squad that did the damage. Streator sports fans were planning a Kerestes Day at Purdue in November. The cost would be $10 which included train fare from the New York Central Depot, ticket, and contribution.

(Unionville Dispatch, December 1988)



Polly Barickman, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. R. I. Barickman, and Jane Poor, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A.T. Poor, of Streator, left February 9, 1946 from New York for Le Havre, France with the dancing unit of the musical comedy, "Irene", revived for a six-months touring contract with USO Camp Shows, Inc. The group was composed of girls from this vicinity who received their training at the Rosalind Hupp Schools of Dancing in Streator and Ottawa.

Previously to being offered girls were booked last summer for a series of fairs in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa, after which they danced a week with Ted Weems' band at Bismark, North Dakota, and a week with Frankie Carl's band at the Corn Palace, South Dakota in October.

While touring Europe, the nine girls attended the Nuernberg Nazi War Criminal Trials, had Sunday worship in many famous European cathedrals, and visited Hitler's quarters in Berlin, the homes of Richard Strauss and Beethoven, plus many scenic places.

While having a wonderful time in their travels, they encountered a number of service men from home. The dancers met up with Joe Dekreon of Ottawa, a discharged veteran, who was holding a civil service position in Bremerhaven. The dancers also had the pleasure of meeting Charles Kreigh of Chicago, former Streator young man,' at Weisbaden. In one town where the show appe3red, Joe Lucas of Streator, saw posters announcing the performance. When he saw "Hupp Dancers," as the girls were billed, he told his '''buddies'' he'd have to see the show "because those kids were from my home town". His buddies wouldn't believe him, though but "to humor him" went to the show with him. Lucas recognized the two Streator girls from his front row seat, much to the chagrin of his friends who had to "swallow their words!" The youthful entertainers were placed under rigid rules and regulation, especially in Germany. They wore full uniform at all times to distinguish them 3S American entertainers and they were allowed to go nowhere without an armed guard. Their conduct was exemplary and their appearance, both on and off the stage, was the best. Their caravan carried armored cars at the front and rear when they traveled. In short, the girls were treated like queens. They had three women to help them dress, a masseuse, and a hair dresser and were so used to having things done for them that it was going to be difficult to break the habit. 
(Unionville Dispatch, 1988)


From VFW magazine
It was 44 years ago -- it was one of the greatest moments in our history -- a time of celebration and, joy -- of family reunions and love ever after. And, it was the golden age of America's popular music, the Hit Parade, the bobby soxers, used cars, and all the great men of our Armed Forces who came marching home to the sounds of American bandstands—The Andrew Sisters promising that I'LL BE WITH YOU IN APPLE BLOSSOM TIME, Kay Kyser saying WHO WOULDN'T LOVE YOU, and Kate Smith singing GOD BLESS AMERICA as the lights came on again—the very special melodies and words that were part of our lives and still are.

Every soldier, sailor, and marine who endured the time of separation from loved ones will remember the thrill of that first homecoming embrace. It was a moment that will live forever in our hearts and in the music that helped keep the home fires burning.
(Unionville Dispatch, December 1988)


  • Vanity lamps were selling for 69 cents at Brandt's Jewelry.
  • Streator City Council ordered all milk sold in the corporate limits, be sold in glass bottles.
  • Ground was broken for the new addition of the Lipton Tea building.
  • Don Williams and Art Van Loon spoke before the Rotary Club on the city's past history.
  • The nine Streator public schools collected $428.03 for the March of Dimes with Greeley leading the way with $77.13.
  • Garfield P.T.A. sponsored a square dance at the Armory under the watchful eye of Lyle Yeck.
  • Virginia Bock and Hans Funk were married in Hamburg, Germany. They met through an international stamp club.
  • Five Streator boxers, Walter Roach, Gordon Davis, Ted Oakalar, Rich Redd, and Harold Pelligrini won Golden Gloves championships and appeared at the Chicago Stadium.
  • Streator's parochial schools were running low on coal.
  • The Piggly Wiggly's special was homemade pork sausage at 29¢ a pound.
  • Mr. & Mrs. James McDermott celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They were both residents of Streator when it was called Hardscrahble.
  • Unemployment rose, the highest since pre-war days.

(Unionville Dispatch, December 1988)



Streator Times-Press, July 2, 1951
It was a premature Fourth of July observance at Nink's Royal Blue Grocery Store, corner of Third and Bloomington Streets. Sparklers, pin wheels, and other legal fireworks started popping.

Firemen were summoned and restored order but not before the store had filled with smoke and persons inside had made a hasty exit.

Fire Chief Wayne Conner said he was informed the pyrotechnical display was touched off when a small boy lit a sparkler near the supply of fireworks.
(Unionville Dispatch, June 1986)


Remember going to a Cub ballgame about forty years ago -- the days when we could board the Santa Fe four or five different times a day if we choose to go to good ole Wrigley Field to see them play? We located an old program from that era so we thought we would pass along a few of the prices in and around Wrigley Field in the late 1940's.

First of all, we'll mention the cost of tickets: a box seat was just $2.00, grandstand was $1.25, and the bleachers -- well if you passed up just one 50¢ haircut and added just one dime, you could sit in the outfield seats and sun yourself all day while watching the game.

Ham sandwiches were just 30¢; or if you preferred an Oscar Mayer Red hot, l5¢ was the going price. You could even get an egg sandwich for 20¢; a big slice of pie for 15¢; or coffee, milk, ice cream, popcorn, peanuts, Coca Cola, or Orange Crush for just a dime. Lemonade was a little higher at 20¢. Candy bars were a nickel as was chewing gum. Cigarettes were 25¢, and a bottle of Pabst beer cost 25¢.

If you wanted to take home a souvenir -- well, a Cub jacket was $5.95, a miniature bat was 50¢, a pencil 5¢, a cap 75¢, and a yearbook was 50¢. To rent a nice soft cushion cost 10¢.

We suppose you could call them the good old days; but on the other hand, it was just as hard to make a quarter then as it is a dollar today. When figuring it all up, a person could hop on the Santa Fe for about $3.00 round trip, take the "L" to the park, get a ticket for 60¢, get plenty of sun while gorging on hot dogs, peanuts, pie, orange crush, ice cream, candy, and bring home a fond remembrance for as little as 50¢. Total cost was around $5.50, and that's counting two franks and two pops.

Just think, all that, and you didn't even have to worry about tipping the waiter. Let's bring back the good ole days!
(Unionville Dispatch, August 1986)


We're sure you can remember that KING SIZE time piece which was put up by Walter Kerr in front of his jewelry store and adorned the Main street of Streator for 28 years. It was removed in the fall of 1981. We thought that you may enjoy a few particulars about that Jack and the Bean Stalk clock.

It was installed in September of 1953, towered 19 feet in the air, weighed 3,000 pounds, and was mounted on a concrete base with a 3,500 pound capacity. The four dials were 36 inches long, and the pendulum weighed 30 pounds. The clock was constructed of highly polished bronze and steel, and it had an eight-day, weight driven movement. It was a product of the Seth Thomas Clock Company and was manufactured prior to World I. Originally, it was painted a bronze shade. We'll all have to go back to rubber-necking when looking for a visible time-piece on Main Street as was the case before the bronze giant made its appearance.

We would still like to know where the time piece originally came from and where it is located today.

NOTE: Back in 1921, when Walter H. Kerr Jewelry was located at 315 East Main Street, it also had a timepiece in front of the store. It was in the shape of a pocket watch, looked about two feet wide, and was extended out over the sidewalk by a pole attached to the building. We don't know if it worked or not (maybe it was a dummy), but we'll bet that it sure added something to the 3rd block of East Main Street. It's tough to better those kinds of old-time, advertising signs.
(Unionville Dispatch, April 1986)


An outstanding feature of Streator's National War Fund and Community Drive was the appearance on October 18 & 19, 1943 of Wilson & Company, Chicago Meat Packer's famous Six-Horse Hitch of Clydesdale geldings. After the public inspected them at the Oak Street fire station, the Clydesdales appeared in the Parade that formally opened Streator's War Fund Drive.

The team included two prize-winning horses that came to America through the submarine infested waters of the Atlantic. Recruited in Scotland, native home of Clydesdales, to serve as replacements in the Wilson & Company team that had made history in America for 25 years, the two magnificent geldings had a most exciting voyage. They were shipped aboard a freighter which was torpedoed by a Nazi sub about 1,500 miles out. Though badly damaged, the ship managed to limp those dangerous 1,500 miles back to Glasgow.

A week later, they sailed again; but the ship was forced to return due to boiler problems. Putting out to sea a third time, the ship sighted a submarine, but drove it off with depth bombs. Finally after seven long weeks, representatives of Wilson & Company met the ship to receive the two geldings. In spite of the dangerous trip, the horses were in excellent condition.

Horse lovers of Streator were fortunate to have the opportunity to see the team under the expert hand of John Jarard, veteran trainer and driver. Fortunately, the Treasury Department and Wilson & Company recognized the potential value of the famous team as a stimulus to the National War Fund Drive.

The National War Fund Drive had a goal of $125,000,000 in 1943. Streator's goal was $20,000. The United Service Organization (USO) was to receive 51%. The 5,000,000 men and women in the armed forces used the money for recreation, comforts, and spiritual welfare.

Another agency that shared in the drive was the United Seaman's Service, which provided rest and relaxation for merchant seamen. Many other organizations and relief agencies shared in the proceeds; while in Streator itself, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, each of which played a valuable part in the war effort, also derived a percentage of the funds collected here.
(Unionville Dispatch, October 1986)



  • Judith Baker, with a scholarship standing of 95.55 was named valedictorian of the S.H.S. Class of 1947. She was followed closely by salutatorian Jean Woll with a grade of 95.16.
  • Mickey Rooney was just 26 when he starred in Love Laughs at Andy Hardy at the Plumb Theater. An area man, Billy Chatham also appeared in Rooney's movie. Chatham, a pupil of Rosalind Hupp, returned to Hollywood after serving as a naval officer in the recent war. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. William Chatham of Kernan.
  • George Quaife, Harley Lewis, and Leonard Gillman were named fire chief, respectively, for the newly organized Reading Township Fire Department.
  • President Truman signed legislation renaming Boulder Dam to Hoover Dam.   
  • Bryant Grocery, 401 W. Morrell St., was offering veal chops at 39¢ a pound, a pound of lard for 25¢, and coffee for 45¢ a pound.
  • Albert E. Dietman, WW II veteran, officially assumed the office of mayor in an impressive ceremony witnessed by a huge outpouring of citizens. He succeeded Thomas R. Halfpenny who had served the city for eight years. Dietman's new city council included Robert Drysdale, Edward J. Hall, Stanley Reeder, and Herman Engel.
  • Streator's birth rate fell off a trifle during the month of April, 1947 with a total of 79 arrivals via the "Stork Special." The previous month had 93, reported by Dr. A.C. Purcell, a retiring city physician.
  • One of Streator's major construction projects that spring was launched when work was started on a new eight lane bowling building at 120-122 S. Sterling Street, which when completed, would give Streator one of the most modern sports emporiums. Manager of the playhouse was Dominic Cantello, who stated the 53 by 40 foot one-story building would cost about $60,000.

    (Unionville Dispatch, May 1986)