Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Last Look at Naperville in 1913

In closing out the 100th anniversary year of the Naperville Chamber of Commerce, let’s have one final review of our counterparts from one hundred years ago.

President Woodrow Wilson took office that year, officiating over the establishment of the Federal Reserve.

1913 also saw the inauguration of Income Tax, although the rate was only 1% after your first $4,000. And since the average annual income was $800, Income Tax didn't affect a lot of folks.

The average automobile cost $600, which seems cheap until you figure that took most of the average family’s annual income.

Only a little more than half of school-aged children actually attended school. But we suspect the things they learned at home were more useful to their adult lives than how to win at video games.

Charlie Chaplin was just beginning his movie career in 1913 and popular tunes included “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”

Closer to home, the DuPage County Farm Bureau was formed. Now there’s barely a farm to be found in DuPage.

In 1913, Illinois became the first state east of the Mississippi to allow women to vote in national elections. Today women not only vote, they are elected to serve.

1913 has been called by some “the long summer,” a pleasant moment before World War I progressed into the Great Depression and World War II.

What will people say about 2013 a hundred years from now? Will they remember it as a pleasant time or a difficult time?

Not that it matters much. This is the time we have to work with, so the only choice is to make the most of it!

Kiekhofer Hall, built in 1913 to serve as the Evangelical Theological Seminary, is now part of the North Central College campus.