Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Not Always Sunny in 1913 Naperville

Looking back at 1913 Naperville calls up sentimental images of a possibly better time, but there was also a downside. as seen in the following quotes from contemporary city council minutes.

For instance, horses were still a primary— and messy— mode of transportation:

“Gentlemen: -- The rapid accumulation of debris on the brick pavement, especially in the business district in front of the stores where hitching posts and rings are placed, makes it advisable for this department to recommend that an employee of the street department be assigned to patrol the down town streets with a wheeled carrier to remove at least twice daily the accumulations from the streets.”

But the new-fangled automobile also had its problems:

“Whereas, it has been reported to the Council that Automobiles left standing on the Streets of the City by owners while at church, places of business, etc., have been tampered with by cutting tires, taking away switch keys, changing gears etc.”

A new teen center is being planned today for downtown so kids have a place to hang out, but finding a place for them was also a issue in 1913:

“We the undersigned persons desire to enter complaint to you that the peace of our families is disturbed every Sunday afternoon by persons who congregate near to our dwellings to play base ball or witness the same. And who by their loud hallooing, quarreling and use of profanity, disturb the peace of the community.  These same persons also trample on our gardens and otherwise trespass on our property until such gatherings have become a nuisance and we petition your Honor to have this nuisance abated.”

And then there was the mess created when a large portion of the Naperville Lounge Factory collapsed during a storm in March of that year. 125 feet of the building was destroyed, but Peter Kroehler rebuilt and renamed the factory after himself.

Every decade has its pros and cons and we strive to improve ourselves. 1913 photos of the downtown area point out many improvements we’ve made such as better street surfaces, more trees and greenery, and no visible telephone poles!