In 1897, Debt Put Academy in the News

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 9, 1997 | Go to article overview

In 1897, Debt Put Academy in the News


Byline: Jerry Turnquist

June in Elgin is a time for graduations, band concerts and fun in the parks. But, what was happening in the city a century ago? Here's a look at some events as recorded in the Elgin newspapers in June 1897.

- Meetings were held at various locations throughout the city to deal with the financial crisis at Elgin Academy. Chartered in 1839, and opened in 1856, the school was said to have an outstanding debt of $8,000. By month's end, Elgin philanthropists Mr. and Mrs. George Lord made a substantial contribution to keep the institution financially afloat.

- Problems in Elgin saloons continued to draw the attention of the police department. In one incident, a saloon operated by a city alderman was entered to deal with various improprieties in the back room. In another matter, Elgin police confiscated gramophones (phonographs) from several of the city's saloons. After depositing the required nickel, the machines played songs described as "racy" and "vulgar."

- The 2,000 employees of Elgin National Watch Co. were delighted to learn the factory had secured additional orders for watches and would again be operating full time, thus ending a six-month reduction in hours. And, at the Elgin Packing Factory at Union and West Chicago streets, representatives announced the business had completed the canning of 750,000 cans.

- The board of education instituted requirements for its new business course diploma at Elgin High School. Required classes included penmanship, commercial geography and stenography. And, Elgin High School held its 26th annual commencement at the First Congregational Church. The class consisted of 12 girls and eight boys. The class had lost one girl to consumption (tuberculosis) just days before the ceremony.

- Adlerbrau (Eagle Brew) was the name chosen for a new beer to be made by the Elgin Eagle Brewing Co. The name was one selected in a contest promoted heavily in the newspapers, and the winner was awarded $25 prize, in gold.

- The 28th annual reunion of the Old Settlers Society was held at the new pavilion in Lords Park. The members were quite impressed with the accommodations, and considered it superior to both Colby's Grove, next to Elgin Academy, and the Elgin Packing Co., where they had met previously. The program included recollections of earlier times, election of officers and a variety of musical selections. Meetings of the society would continue for many years, until their diminishing ranks would become the impetus for formation of the Elgin Area Historical Society in 1961.

- Various open-air worships were being held in the downtown area on Sunday evenings. …

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