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A look back at interesting history from the pages of The Normalite

25 Years Ago
October 3, 1991
• Frank and Jean Davis will share the Optimist of the Year Award. The Davises were recognized for their dedicated service to youth and community through participation in the Optimist Club.
Dan Wilcox was presented with the Service Award to recognize the many hours he has given to Habitat for Humanity, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Cub Pack 91, Boy Scout Troop 91, and Optimist Club of Normal fund raisers.
• The Idlers Club will open its 95th year on Saturday, Oct. 5 at Westminster Village with Ruth Junk, Margaret Bradford and Mescal Lovelass as hostesses.
• Two officers from The Norwalk Constabulary in Norwalk, England,  were visiting Normal Police Headquarters this week as part of an exchange program sponsored by the Police Training Institute Alumni Association and the Police Training Institute at University of Illinois.
• John and Kay Martinek are the parents of a son, Daniel Joseph, born on Saturday, Sept 14, 1991. He has a brother John, 4, and a sister, Kathleen, 2.

50 Years Ago
October 14, 1966
• Dedication of the shelter in Ash Park will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. The shelter will be dedicated as the “Ivan Cloyd Shelter” in honor of the former Normal Superintendent of the Water Department.
Ash Park began at the instigation of water department employees who in their spare time landscaped the grounds around the well and street department shed. Additional land was acquired in 1962. The park is a historic part of Normal and was formerly known as the Dillon Pasture. It was here that Clark Griffith, one time owner of the Washington Senators and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, practiced his pitching between school work and  milking for his uncle. It was also a landing place for early Jennies before either Normal or Bloomington had an airport.
Of greatest significance, is the street department shed, where the first canning in tin cans took place. Thomas Ellis Champion, a tinsmith, developed a process for soldering tin cans, making them usable for canning. The Champion brothers, George and Thomas, came to Normal in 1867 after living in Elgin after immigrating here from England in 1854. Thomas had apprenticed as a tinsmith and his brother, George, as a wagon maker and machinist. Together they opened a hardware and tin shop in the building at the head of Beaufort Street on Linden.
George Champion served as a commissioned officer in the 69th Illinois Infantry during the Civil War. He served Normal as Mayor for 3 years, spent 2 years as a member of the Council, 3 years as Town treasurer and 2 years as city clerk.
• Mr. and Mrs. Harold Sylvester returned Sunday following a several day visit with their son and family, Mr. and Mrs. Larry Sylvester and daughter, Michele, at Birmingham, Alabama.
• The Garfield Social Club will hold its annual Winner-Loser picnic at Ewing Park. The losers in the year’s attendance contest furnish the food. Highlight of the day will be revealing names of Secret Pals.
• Funeral rites for Fred Stappenbeck, 88, 401 E. Lincoln, were observed at Saturday at the Otto and Argo Funeral Home in Danvers. Burial was in East Lawn Cemetery.
Mr. Stappenbeck, was a farmer and a director of the First National Bank of Danvers for many years. He married Nellie Marie Hilton Feb. 4, 1903. She died in 1949. Surviving are three daughters, Mrs. Gail Buth, Miss Grace Stappenbeck, and Mrs. Gloria Voelker.
• The As You Like It Club will meet with Mrs. Lester H. Martin Thursday for a dessert luncheon. Mrs. John W. Green will be in charge of the program.

75 Years Ago
September 19, 1941
• Charles V. Hall has purchased an interest in the Packard Bowling Alleys, corner of Beaufort and Linden Streets. Formal opening will be held Friday night. Mr. Hall will serve as manager, and Ray Oakes has been named assistant manager. Mr. Hall is a member of the Packard Bowling Association, with alleys in 65 large cities.
Mayor R.D. Marsh will roll the first ball at the dedication Friday night. A group of women will open the play. The local establishment has 6  sanctioned all maple duck pin alleys. Herman Oakes and Sumner Goodfellow Jr. will operate the refreshment concession.
• Mr. and Mrs. Hyatt Fisher, of Fisher’s Flowers, 305 S. Main Street, have returned from Los Angeles, California, where they attended the 32nd national Florists Telegraph Delivery Association contention.
The convention, which was attended by 2500 florists from the  United States and Canada, lasted one week and was almost  constantly in session from early morning until late at night. They report this was not a week’s vacation but a week of pleasant work.
Movie stars were almost as plentiful at the convention as flowers. Basil Rathbone and Ronald Coleman served as masters of ceremony at the president’s ball and at the style show where several dozen movie stars participated.
 • Mrs. Cleta Harr was appointed assistant librarian of the Normal Public Library at a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees. She began her work at the library Monday.
• Mr. and Mrs. J.L. McQueen. Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Dean, and Mr. and Mrs. Edward Palmer attended the annual picnic of the Fifth Illinois Unit of the Spanish American War in Springfield Sunday. Of the original company which left Bloomington for the Spanish American War, 23 were from Normal. Of this group only five are now living. Fred Goff and Edward Palmer are the only ones living in Normal.
• Ernest Harrison Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Harrison, left Wednesday to enter the land school of the United States Navy in Chicago. He will take a six weeks course in the pharmacy division. He had attended the Normal Community High School for three years.
• R.E. Johnson, former Normalite, now located at Vancouver, Washington, is in the city calling on friends. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are visiting his mother, Mrs. W.H. Johnson, who is with her daughter near LeRoy. Mr. Johnson went west in 1905 and is an agent for the Railway Express at Vancouver. This is his second visit to Normal since going west. Much of the two cities has been built since he lived here.


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