Daily dose: Local histor(ies), and Jim Edgar and Rodney Davis
In 1912, by Nov. 1, the new warehouse for the Eisner Grocery Co. will be built on the lot directly south of the present building at 16 S. Market St., Champaign. Cost of the building is about $35,000. The warehouse will be four stories tall with a basement and will occupy a lot 95 feet by 40 feet. It will be concrete and steel and fireproof throughout. The building will be equipped with a low elevator and a sprinkling system.
In 1962, WLS Radio disc jockey Dick Biondi will be emcee for the “Saturday Night Symphony,” a special preview at the Champaign County Fair at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Saturday. The show will feature Freddie Cannon, the recording star who has made New Jersey’s Palisades Park famous with his recording of the same name. Biondi arrived at WLS in 1960 on the day the station transitioned from being the Prairie Farmer station to rock ’n’ roll. He explained it “from music to milk your cows by to music to drive your parents crazy by.”
In 1912, the Champaign Knights of Pythias will make more than $1,000 with their share from last week’s Parker Carnival. The amount is $200 more than last year. They may repeat the same carnival next year.
In 1962, members of the Champaign County Board of Supervisors are taking a skeptical view of claims by the Urbana school board that they are owed money by the state’s attorney’s office. The school board last week passed a resolution asking for an investigation of what it called a “considerable surplus” from the state’s attorney’s office.
In 1912, Mayor William Coughlin today announced his dog control measure effective Aug. 1. “Owing to the fact that during the months of August and September there is danger of dogs being affected by the heat, causing hydrophobia and as a result persons are subjected to being bitten with possible fatal termination,” the mayor decreed that “during these two months all dogs must be muzzled.” The Daily Gazette reported that there have been two incidents recently where people were bitten by dogs. One man was attacked by three bulldogs and another dog, believed to be dangerous, was shot to death on North Neil Street.
In 1962, the Champaign County Fair recorded its biggest Sunday in history with nearly 8,000 people on the fairgrounds. It topped the 1961 mark by over 3,500 people. The evening show featured a rodeo and fireworks.
Jim Edgar and Rodney Davis
From Sunday's column ...
Former Gov. Jim Edgar, who admitted he seldom gets involved in congressional races, is assisting 13th Congressional District candidate Rodney Davis beyond the $1,000 campaign contribution he gave him last month.
Edgar, who was governor from 1991 to 1999 and is now a distinguished fellow at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, appeared at two fundraisers for Davis on June 11, about three weeks after GOP county chairmen chose him as the party’s congressional candidate, replacing retiring U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana.
Edgar acknowledged that “I don’t get involved in congressional races too much,” but added that Davis called and asked to meet with him.
“I think he’s an ideal candidate. I didn’t know him before this,” Edgar said. “From afar, I kinda watched that (selection process). And from what little I knew about him, he made a lot of sense. He’s a very normal person, which we aren’t always in politics.
“And he has the experience from working for a congressman for several years (as an aide to U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville) but he’s not a part of that Washington crowd.”
Edgar predicted that Davis will “be good for Champaign. I think he will be a good congressman.
“I don’t suppose he’d want me to call him a moderate, but I think he’s more moderate than many. He’s more conservative than I am. But I think he will benefit from not having had to go through a primary.
“Sometimes, those primaries drive candidates too far to the extremes, and that can hurt you in the general election. He has not had to take any of those (anti-tax) pledges that others have to do in primaries.”
Davis said he called Edgar shortly after being chosen the Republican nominee on May 19.
“He agreed to do two events for me in my hometown of Taylorville. We had a standing-room only crowd at our local VFW,” Davis said. “We had people coming in from the starting time at 6 to 6:45. Governor Edgar offered some remarks. The excitement was great. I was just humbled by that.
“We then went to a private reception for the second hour, and we were able to talk to even more friends and folks who are supporters of mine. Our goal was to raise $10,000, and my hometown came through, and in one night with Governor Edgar as our guest, we raised $33,000.”