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home : columnists : time was April 28, 2016

If I looked back at the facts I learned in school
THE FIRST HIGH school in Wilmington was a private one, held in the basement of the Methodist Church (the current first floor of the Wilmington Public Library). As the town grew, a brick schoolhouse was erected in the town square. Finally, in 1876 the three story graded school depicted in this lithograph was built at the corner of Joliet and Van Buren. Along with the new building came a whole new curriculum and with it the dreaded “finals.” In July 1877 the first class to graduate from the new school received a diploma.
THE FIRST HIGH school in Wilmington was a private one, held in the basement of the Methodist Church (the current first floor of the Wilmington Public Library). As the town grew, a brick schoolhouse was erected in the town square. Finally, in 1876 the three story graded school depicted in this lithograph was built at the corner of Joliet and Van Buren. Along with the new building came a whole new curriculum and with it the dreaded “finals.” In July 1877 the first class to graduate from the new school received a diploma.
The above line paraphrased from a Paul Simon song hits home with most of us. There were many times I looked at what I was studying and said, "Will I ever need to know this again?" Today we go back to look at the course of study in the 19th century Wilmington.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Restless currents after the storm, fall of 1877
Today we look at the rest of the story. We have talked about the strike, the eviction of the "black legs," the invasion of the militia, and of course the everlasting refusal of the old miners to go back to work at the rate the companies were offering. But mines were being worked, some by white miners who decided to go back, and others by the black miners brought in to break the strike. A powder keg ready to explode again.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Catching the fever, baseball fever that is
To many people, summer means baseball, and I'm one of them. At this writing the Cubs are in first place in their division (stop laughing) and all is right with my world. But baseball is more than the major leagues. Baseball is played by millions of people in over 100 countries. Young or old, rich or poor, it doesn't matter. So let's look at the history of "base ball" in our little corner of the world.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
History's homeless and how they lived
There have always been those among us who fate has not treated well - children without parents, mothers with children and no means of support, the elderly who can no longer support themselves, those whose physical or mental capacity is less than normal.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Encouraging new business was everybody's business
There are times when I am reading old newspapers that I forget what year I'm looking at, is it 1880 or 2016? I certainly can't tell by what I am reading. The most striking similarity is the search for new businesses to come to town. Whether it's a new glucose factory in 1880 or a new intermodal in 2016, the talk is about creating jobs by luring new businesses to town.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Famous and infamous Braidwood court cases
We are departing from the story of the striking miners today to look at the rule of law in Braidwood and the resulting court cases. That early Braidwood had a reputation for lawlessness in certainly true. However, it is not true that the law was never enforced in Braidwood. Today, we look at Braidwood in court.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016


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