Weather Updates

Headlines were all about snow 100 years ago

Juan Mez6 year old sGiovanni work together digging out from blizzard Wednesday morning Elgin. | Karen Naess ~ Sun-Times Media

Juan Meza and 6 year old son Giovanni work together digging out from the blizzard on Wednesday morning in Elgin. | Karen Naess ~ Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 7485733
tmspicid: 1989317
fileheaderid: 1288006
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: July 28, 2011 9:32AM

What was happening in Elgin during the month of February 100, 75, 50, 25 and 10 years ago?

February 1911

Eighteen inches of snow fell on Feb. 5 and 6 and paralyzed traffic on the streetcars, interurban trolleys, and steam railroads. While the heavy snow lasted, runners replaced wheels on the fire department apparatus.

A sign put up in one department of the watch factory — “Please Leave All Wearing Apparel In The Cloak Room” — was not taken literally.

Administrative offices of the school district were moved from city hall into the new high school building.

Vandals smeared eggs on the walls, organ, pews and aisles of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

Trustees of Elgin Academy estimated that the school would be closed in June unless alumni and friends are able to provide funds for a permanent endowment.

A husband and wife separated because she approved of their daughter living with a man without benefit of marriage.

The police chief warned pool hall proprietors about the ordinance prohibiting boys under 18 on their premises.

Twenty-one hoboes, sheltered at the lockup during the big snow, complained that they were packed like sardines in a can.

There were three candidates for mayor and 27 were seeking a seat on the council in the primary.

February 1936

It was a cold winter. There were 25 consecutive sub-zero days. Frost went as deep as 7 and 8 feet, and water department crews worked day and night to keep pipes thawed out and mains from freezing.

Despite the cold, WPA workers waded in icy water near Walton Island, laboriously dredging the river channel.

At the Rialto, where shows were continuous from noon, the feature films in February included the Marx Brothers in “A Night at the Opera.”

Elgin National Watch Co. officials warned of the severe consequences of lowering the tariff on Swiss movements.

February 1961

A language laboratory was installed at Elgin High School to enable students to learn a foreign language through recordings and tapes.

At the Crocker: Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe were starring in “The Misfits.”

A fund drive was launched to build a new school addition in St. Joseph Parish.

Dollar Day shoppers were given free parking on all city streets and lots as well as free bus rides and fantastic bargains. Most stores were open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Two small children perished in a fire on Hastings Street.

Work was progressing on the new west side high school at the southwest corner of Larkin Avenue and McLean Boulevard and on the new YMCA at Channing and Division Streets.

February 1986

The city dedicated 12 acres of the Bluff Spring Fen as a nature preserve.

Six pounds of heroin were found in an abandoned car.

The First Congregational Church gave the former Franklin School, owned by the church, to the Community Crisis Center.

RTA’s new Big Timber station opened.

February 2001

Elgin Community College faculty members went on strike for the first time. The walkout lasted four weekdays.

The Elgin Area Realtors Association protested a city council proposal to inspect houses for overcrowding.

Ground was broken for the city’s new recreation center.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.