From our archives: Lack of homes hindered Twin Cities
What we thought: 75 years ago
Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials and articles from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following items appeared in the Gazette on March 1 and 4, 1939.
A need for more homes
According to reliable sources, approximately 300 men working in local factories are living in nearby cities because of the house shortage in Sterling and Rock Falls.
Over 100 of these men reside in Dixon. Others come here from Clinton, Iowa; Fulton, Prophetstown, Milledgeville, Erie, Tampico, Chadwick and Thomson. A goodly number of local factory workers live in Como and Galt.
According to the figures of the special census of 1937, the average Sterling family is 4-plus to a dwelling. In Rock Falls, the average rate is 4.4 persons to a dwelling.
Thus, on account of the lack of housing facilities, 1,200 people, at the very least, are kept from doing their buying in the community where they earn their living.
It is true, perhaps, that a part of this number prefer to remain where they are because of cheaper rent and the advantage of being more in the open. But the chances are that the majority would move their families to the Twin Cities if they had an opportunity.
Driving back and forth to work during the cold Illinois winters is not all that it might be. And, without casting reflections on any of the above-mentioned cities, it cannot be gainsaid that the larger centers of population like Sterling offer better educational, recreational, social and religious facilities than do the smaller.
Economically, there is every reason for the business men of Sterling and Rock Falls wanting these people moved to the Twin Cities. The potential purchasing power cannot be less than $10 per week per family, or $520 a year. That is putting it extremely low. ...
The business men of the community could easily afford to form some sort of organization to bring these people to Sterling and Rock Falls, where they earn their money. They would be far ahead were they to raise a fund of $250,000 for the purpose of providing rental homes.
Pencils are cheap. Take one and figure it out. – March 4, 1939
Celluloid heroes and heroines
Once more, persons affiliated with the motion picture industry, 12,000 strong, have voted that Spencer Tracy and Bette Davis gave the best acting performances during a year, and this dual current award by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences will please mightily all Tracy and Davis fans.
Miss Davis was honored for her talent in “Jezebel,” and Tracy for his showing as the priest in “Boys Town.” Among the films, “You Can’t Take It With You,” based on the stage comedy of a multiple-hobby but vastly tolerant family, took first place. This, also, is an acceptable selection.
It is anybody’s field to try to find trends or indices or vast significances in these or any other film citations. However, these 12,000 persons who help make the moving picture industry what it is most likely just voted for what they liked best and let the trends take care of themselves. They probably do, anyhow. – March 1, 1939
Suggestion to policemen
The suggestion has been made that Sterling policemen be supplied with cards or folders containing information regarding the chief points of interest in the city, which they can hand to inquiring visitors.
Strangers in town look upon the police as philosophers, friends and guides. When they want to know what is worth seeing, they ask the first policeman they come upon.
When they look up to the Central Trust building and wonder how high it is, they are likely to make the nearest policeman the victim of their laudable curiosity.
A mentally alert tourist can ask more questions in five minutes than the average local resident can answer in a day and a half.
The proposed information cards would come to the rescue of hard-pressed policemen. They would be interesting and informative souvenirs for visitors to take home with them.
And, if handed out with a smile, as they presumably would be, they would be tokens of the warm and hearty welcome which the city extends to all who pay it the compliment of taking an interest in its important features.
The suggestion that the police be stocked with such cards is one that the convention and tourist authorities of Sterling might well consider putting into practice. – March 1, 1939