This week in Illinois history: Sept. 24-30
Sept. 24, 1930 - Dixon. Officials dedicated the Lincoln Monument. While there are plenty of reasons to honor the nation’s 16th president, this particular one recognizes Lincoln’s fight in the Black Hawk War in 1832, as Illinois’ Historic Preservation website shows. The 10-foot bronze statue is unique, according to Roadside America, because it depicts the future commander in chief wearing battle attire.
Sept. 25, 1969 - Grayslake. Students attended the first day of classes at the College of Lake County. Since its opening day, more than 400,000 students have navigated its campus on a journey “from dreams to bright futures," as its website states. It serves a diverse population with a Promise Program that pays tuition and coaches students meeting program requirements. Its triple-A bond rating enables it to invest in high-tech classrooms.
Sept. 26, 1960 - Chicago. Presidential candidates sparred for the first time in a televised debate. If video killed the radio star, television made the president a star with this hour-long exchange between White House hopefuls Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon. According to a CNN report, the Democrat won via his “dark suit … wide smile and vivid tan” which made the Republican not “look well,” as Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) remarked decades later.
Sept. 28, 1903 - Christopher. This community in Franklin County embraced villagehood. Named for a founder’s grandson, Christopher became a village a quarter-century after the first rail car coasted into town, according to writer Bob Hoey on CityofChristopher.com. The vote to become a village wasn’t even close: 30 to 16, records say. It’s also a one-of-a-kind name for a community within the U.S.
Sept. 29, 1927 - East St. Louis. A simple rain forecast morphed into the city’s second-worst tornado. A hard-to-see rain-wrapped tornado caught Weather Bureau personnel by surprise, according to an article in St. Louis Today. The twister flattened 460 houses, claimed 78 lives and injured more than 500 on its trek through the city, which began around 1 p.m. The No. 1 deadliest East St. Louis storm occurred in 1896.
Sept. 29, 1982 - Chicago. Paula Prince, a flight attendant, became the last victim of cyanide-laced Tylenol. The mysterious deaths of seven Chicago-area residents spurred a national panic, as History.com reports, and are still unsolved. Two astute firefighters pieced together the clues, realizing Extra-Strength Tylenol had been the victims’ pain reliever of choice. Sure enough, lab tests showed cyanide had tainted the capsules.
Sept. 30, 1922 - Decatur. Soybean pioneer A.E. Staley launched the world’s first commercial soybean-processing plant. Some people saw just another crop, but Staley recognized “the great potential of the soybean as a source of oil, meal and flour,” according to an unpublished manuscript cited on SoyInfoCenter.com. Thus, he began crushing soybeans, producing livestock feed and frying oil, among other products. A first early challenge was scaling the crop to meet refinery demands, which became easier when he determined soybeans could recharge the corn-depleted land.