100 years ago, May 27, 1917

Sunday. No paper.

50 years ago, 1967

MATTOON -- Mattoon Beach on Lake Mattoon will officially open for the season on Memorial Day. Rides, beach, bath house and all other operations at the lake will be in full operation until Labor Day, officials of the Mattoon Lake Beach announced. The firm leases the Lake Mattoon Beach from the City of Mattoon. Also featured at the lake are teen dances on Saturday nights. On Friday, June 2, the first big-name attraction will be featured at the dance when the "Cryan Shames" recording stars will play for a one-night stand. Mattoon's veterans organizations and the IOOF and Rebekah lodges will participate in memorial Day services Tuesday honoring comrades who have fallen on the battlefield in service of their country... MATTOON -- John K. Gibler, son of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Gibler of Mattoon, has been promoted to Army lieutenant colonel at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he is attending a course at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. A 1948 graduate of Mattoon High School, he received a bachelor's degree from The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., and entered the Army in 1952.

25 years ago, 1992

CHARLESTON -- For perhaps the first time ever, members of the graduating class at Charleston High School will have a structured all-night party in town following commencement. The Fifth Quarter group, which has been offering dances for the past two years, is sponsoring an all-night graduation party at Eastern Illinois University’s new Student Recreation Center… SPRINGFIELD -- Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Mike Weaver that could have acted as a vehicle for a state task force on higher education has been killed in the House. Weaver, R-Ashmore, said he believes House Bill 1727 and three other bills he sponsored were killed in a political move by House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago. Weaver has been conducting hearings throughout the state on Illinois higher education’s “system of systems” which govern state universities.

100 years ago, May 28, 1917

MATTOON -- This city is slowly recovering from the first shock of the terrible calamity which visited a portion of her people on Saturday afternoon, when a tornado of terrible velocity swept the extreme northern portion of Mattoon. The sight which met the eyes of the people on Sunday morning was one which is beyond the words of the pen accurately and appropriately to describe. It was the most severe shock which the people of Mattoon have ever been called upon to withstand and, although their response to the calls for aid and relief were instantaneous, the impression imprinted on the minds of those who witnessed it, and especially those victims left maimed and crippled, in many instances for life, will remain with them for the remainder of their lives. The list of dead has reached 52. According to official estimate, 496 dwellings were completely ruined, while those which were damaged more than 25 percent number 143. The loss to the storm's victims, as estimated by men skilled in finance, is placed at $986,200, while the loss to public buildings of the city will reach another $100,000... MATTOON -- There was birth and death in the same storm-stripped bed from the storm. By a freak of Saturday's tornado, the walls of one house in the storm-swept zone were completely demolished, and a bedroom practically untouched. The bed remained in an upright position. Rescuers found a woman lying in it unconscious. At the foot of the bed lay a 4-year-old child, dead. When the blanket was pulled back, a little wriggling, squirming object was discovered, a newborn baby. The baby's birth was due to shock caused by the catastrophe. Mother and infant were taken to the hospital... ST. LOUIS -- More than 300 people are dead, a thousand more are suffering from injuries and still other thousands are homeless as the result of freakish wind storms which swept sections of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Kansas and Arkansas on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Gov. Lowden of Illinois has sent troops to Mattoon and Charleston to assist in relief work. In Mattoon, it is said 52 are dead, 500 injured and 20 missing. Charleston has 38 dead, 150 injured and 25 missing. In the states mentioned, there are 310 dead with 1,122 injured and 47 missing. Property damages total $5 million.

50 years ago, 1967

Sunday. No paper.

25 years ago, 1992

CHARLESTON -- With a varied amount of success, several young rocketeers tried to take off Wednesday. But whether their launch attempts ended with a blast or a dud, the results really were the same. Charleston Junior High School eighth graders capped their studies of physics and mathematics in an explosive way. Tim McCollum, CJHS science teacher, said students built their own rockets and then used a computer program to predict the altitude the rockets would reach… KANSAS -- Severe back injuries suffered in a brutal beating did not stop police officer David Dudley from seeing his daughter Roxanne’s recent high school graduation. His daughter was graduating from Martinsville High School and Dudley managed to get a release from Carle Foundation Hospital to be in attendance. Dudley is in a wheelchair, but doctors say he should fully recover in a couple months. In a routine traffic stop on May 19, Dudley stopped occupants of an older white Dodge van traveling at excessive speed on a blacktop one-half mile south of Kansas. While Dudley was questioning the driver, he was attacked from behind by a second occupant… EFFINGHAM -- After raising $750,000, residents of Effingham are hopeful the State of Illinois will match the funds to build a proposed Kluthe Center for Higher Education and Technology. The proposed Lake Land College facility would be built on the north side of Effingham, east of U.S. Route 45 and adjacent to Interstates 57 and 70.

100 years ago, May 29, 1917

CHARLESTON -- The Charleston Courier, which was rather hard struck by the storm of Saturday, and being without either electricity or gas, came out yesterday with what it termed a "Cyclone Edition," which consisted of a single sheet of paper, 12 by 15 inches. The edition contained a revised list of the dead which numbers 34. George Kilgore, engineer, and Jesse Huddleston, fireman, employed in the electric light powerhouse, stuck to their posts of duty when the storm arrived, determined that the town would be kept lighted. The cyclone reduced the plant to a mass of pulverized brick, burying and killing both men, Mrs. Huddleston died as a result of shock caused by her husband's death. The carrying power of the wind was almost beyond comprehension. One man told of grasping a telephone pole when the storm struck. He recalls the pole falling and does not remember anything else until he found himself six blocks away. A letter addressed to a Charleston woman was found on the Harland Swango farm east of Paris. The boiler was not damaged. DeWitt Elwood, superintendent of Charleston schools, announced today the schools will be closed until further notice. The Decoration Day parade and program tomorrow has been called off, and the money that had been subscribed to defray expenses has been turned into the Red Cross... MATTOON -- The silent march to the City of the Dead was begun today. In most instances, all that was mortal of those victims of Mattoon's worst calamity, a catastrophe which is felt throughout the great state of Illinois, was laid to rest. The final procession to the City of the Dead must be numbered 53, one more victim being added to the long list this morning when a little colored lad, the 12-year-old son of George Miller of Pocahontas, Miss., surrendered up his spirit to join those of his fellow victims which had gone before.. SPRINGFIELD -- A bill to appropriate $275,000 for the relief of Mattoon's and Charleston's storm sufferers was introduced in the legislature today. It is understood that a fight will be made in the House to increase the amount, it being contended that $275,000 is not sufficient.

50 years ago, 1967

MATTOON -- Members of the Mattoon High School graduating class of 1967 attended baccalaureate services in the MHS gymnasium Sunday. The sermon, "Make A Wish," was delivered by the Rev. Clifford C. Brown, pastor of First United Methodist Church. Rev. John Plunkett, pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, gave the invocation, and Rev. Byron Wright, pastor of the Church of Christ, led the responsive reading. The MHS Concert Choir, directed by Mrs. Elizabeth Van Voorhis and accompanied by Jeri Sue Peterson, sang "Climb Every Mountain." ... CHARLESTON -- Ninety members of the Coles County Historical Society commemorated the 50th anniversary of the tornado which struck the area on May 26, 1917, with a luncheon meeting at the Charleston Country Club Sunday. Several speakers recalled their experiences that Saturday afternoon when the storm descended on Mattoon and Charleston, leaving 99 dead and hundreds injured. Among those involved in the tornado who spoke were Don Sullivan, Ray Redding, LaRue Hamm and Alex Summers, all of Mattoon; and Mrs. Otto Ashbrook, now of Normal; Mrs. Olive Alexander, Mrs. Ronald King and James Lynch, all of Charleston. The accounts by Sullivan and Hamm were tape recordings.

25 years ago, 1992

CHARLESTON -- The status of the sole bid submitted by a Mattoon man Wednesday for the purchase of the Charleston Motor Inn is uncertain. A spokesman for the firm handling the sale said the $526,000 bid was unacceptable. Michael Sullivan of Mattoon, who submitted the bid, said he has not heard directly from the motel’s owners or the realty firm handling the sale. The mortgage held by Landmark Bank of St. Louis stands at $1.6 million… MATTOON -- It appears local residents will be able to continue cooling themselves at the 63-year-old Lytle Park Pool, thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Conservation. Lytle, one of the oldest and largest public pools in the state, has been in danger of being closed because of needed repairs that the Mattoon Township Park District determined were too costly to endure. Estimates called for about $600,000 in repairs – about six times the park district’s annual budget. Superintendent Justin Grady said the park district will raise additional money through non-referendum general revenue bonds.

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