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From our archives: Circuit clerk's death difficult to bear

What we thought: 100 years ago

Published: Monday, July 14, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 9:52 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Submitted)
A vintage photo of the caretaker's cottage, known as Woodcote, built in 1909 at Dixon's Lowell Park, which was established in 1907. A 1914 Telegraph editorial called for street car service to be extended to the park so more people could travel there to enjoy it.
Caption
Mabel Normand 1892-1930 Normand, an American silent film star, had already made at least 27 movies before "The Alarm" was released in 1914. The Telegraph praised the film's comedic qualities on July 11, 1914.

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials and articles from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following items appeared in the Telegraph on July 11, 13, 14, and 15, 1914.

Farewell to

"Billy" McMahan

A Goodfellow has crossed the great divide and will no more greet his earthly friends this side of eternity.

What a loss his friends have suffered, and what a fine, fine fellow was taken when to Master called William B. McMahan [Oct. 8, 1870 – July 14, 1914].

There was no other "Billy Mac" in Dixon. His place will not be filled, and there is little to console the hosts of residents of this community who knew him.

Probably no man in Lee county was better known or better loved. Everybody knew him, and to know him was to love him, for he was a prince among men.

"Billy" McMahan had been in Republican politics in Lee county for many years, and he could have successfully continued so for as many more as he wished, if he had lived, for his office was the pride of the county government.

He was efficiency itself. A hard worker, a courteous gentleman, accommodating and careful, the circuit clerk ran his office in such a manner that his successor will have his work cut out for him if he is to keep up the pace.

If Mr. McMahan had not worked so hard in keeping his office up to standard, perhaps Dixon and Lee county would not now be mourning his death, for it was too close application to his work that undermined his health.

"Billy" McMahan was too good a man to be spared. We could ill afford to lose him. – July 15, 2014

Build street car line to Lowell

The people of Dixon and vicinity and, in fact, within a radius of some fifty or sixty miles, are realizing more every year what Lowell park can offer them in the line of recreation The crowd of three thousand people that thronged the park on Independence Day demonstrated that.

Lowell park is one of Dixon's biggest talking points, and it is gratifying to Dixon to have her people and her neighbors come to the park and take advantage of whatever its beauties hold for them.

It is a great shame that this garden spot is not more easily accessible to everybody.

The class of people who should use it most and who could get the most out of it are now absolutely prohibited from using it because there is no way for them to get there without the outlay of money which is impossible. It is too far to walk, and public conveyances to the park are, at the most, infrequent.

A street car line to the park has been talked of some, and, of course, it is the only practical solution. When it comes, Lowell park will be twenty times more valuable to the people of Dixon than it is now.

We know of no project that the Citizens' Association of Dixon could take up that would stand for more common good or work more for the interests of the majority of the citizens than that of getting the city street car lines extended through to the park after they have been built by the epileptic colony.

It would be worth the biggest kind of an effort. The park is too valuable not to have its full capacity of usefulness realized. – July 13, 1914

New sanitary demands

The state has notified Elgin, Aurora and other cities along the Fox river that after January 1st they will not be allowed to dump raw sewage into the stream.

The Rock River will soon come under this ruling, and Dixon, Sterling, Rockford and other cities on this river will be required to make a provision to comply with the sanitary demands that present day is bringing out.

It will cost considerable to make the change, but the feat is not a tremendous one, and when it is accomplished, the river will be much more beautiful and desirable. – July 14, 1914

Concrete vs. brick

James Wilson, member of the Illinois State Highway commission, tells the Lee County Board of Supervisors that the state commission likes concrete for country roads, and that when the county for which work is to be done fails to signify whether concrete or brick shall be used, the state commission uses concrete, for it is cheaper, and they evidently have satisfied themselves that it answers the purpose just as well.

So it seems that the members of the Lee County Board who favored concrete made no mistake in their choice. – July 14, 1914

The smoke nuisance

East Dixon residents would like to know why they should be continually smothered under a shower of soot and cinders from the smokestacks of the Distilled Water Ice company and the Dixon Water company. 

This kind of weather, when windows must be left open, the housekeepers have troubles of their own, and it is a shame to have a house filled with clouds of black soot just because the owners of the soot producers are too selfish to put on smoke consumers or some device for lessening the evil.

These are not the only institutions in the city that are causing great trouble and expense to home owners. But these are very good examples. What can be done about it? – July 11, 1914

Pugilist on the way

Mr. Galvin, at the Assembly park, received a message yesterday informing him that Willie Ritchie, the American pugilist who lost his title to [Freddie] Welsh, the Englishman, is on his way back, on the "Vaterland," and that he will come directly to Dixon after leaving the boat, for a visit at the Galvin cottage.

If anything can make Willie forget the trimming and the bum deal he got in London, it will be the beauties of Dixon and the Rock. – July 14, 1914

Now showing

On Monday night, the Princess Theater will show two two-reel features titled "The Alarm," a Keystone comedy, with Mabel Normand, Charles Chaplin, Mack Sennett and a full cast of Keystone players, with a laugh in every foot of film.

These comedies are said to be the best of any comedy made, and from their popularity, these comedies have created a decided hit in this city.

[Note to readers – A listing on silentera.com states the cast of "The Alarm" actually was Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Mabel Normand, Al St. John, Hank Mann, and Minta Durfee.]

The other feature, "The Social Ghost," is a Kay-Bee drama, wherein "A Dead Love" is restored to life by two children and a dog. This picture is full of pathos with a heart interest story interwoven. – July 11, 1914

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