100 years ago,
April 8, 1921
CHARLESTON — Members of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce have presented a petition to the City Council asking that trucks and large wagons be prohibited from parking on the courthouse square, to become effective as soon as the measure is voted on. By removing these obstructions from the business district, it will afford more room and space for the business traffic, it is claimed... NEOGA — Greenup has been trying for some time to work up sentiment in favor of of establishing a township high school but the proposition was voted down by a majority of 36 votes. While Neoga has been reaping the benefits of a township high school for the past 12 years, Toledo and Greenup both are trying to create support for a school. When put to a vote two weeks ago in Toledo, the proposition was defeated by 88 votes... MATTOON — Frank Swank, a lineman for the telephone company, had a close call with death about noon today when, after coming in contact with a live electric wire, he fell 30 feet to the ground. His right hand was considerably blistered and he received quite a jolt, but he was not badly hurt. Swank was working on top of a pole in the 1200 block of Champaign Avenue. A telephone wire had fallen across an electric light wire with 2,300 volts. Swank took hold of the old telephone wire to remove it when a short circuit occurred and he was thrown to the ground. Swank stated that after he touched the wire, he remembers nothing until after he struck the ground, the jolt evidently bringing back his senses.
50 years ago, 1971
CHARLESTON — Gilbert C. Fite, a history professor at the University of Oklahoma, today was named president of Eastern Illinois University. Fite, 52, will be the fifth president of the 76-year-old university, succeeding Quincy Doudna, who is scheduled to retire Sept. 1, after 15 years at EIU. Fite, 52, a noted writer and expert on American agricultural history, has been a member of the Oklahoma faculty since 1945. Dr. Fite and his wife June have two sons... MATTOON — Boy Scouts Brian Stephens and Brian Byars camped last night at Weaver's Woods, southeast of Mattoon, on the final night of a 50-mile hike. Members of Boy Scout Troop 55, Stephens and Byars were to arrive home today after the trek that began on Sunday. The Scouts began at the Coles-Cumberland county line south of Fox Ridge State Park. They stopped at Fox Ridge, Lake Charleston, Lincoln Log Cabin State Park and Weaver's Woods. The boys also piled up an extra 25-30 miles this week performing various jobs along the way, cleaning up or restoring trails. They are the first members of the troop to get the 50-mile award. Two more Scouts, Bill Hamel and Scott Swinford, left yesterday on their 50-mile hike.
25 years ago, 1996
MATTOON— A legendary promoter and supporter of Mattoon died yesterday. Harry E. Gaines, a coach, athlete, athletic director, mall manager tourism board member and general promoter who made a name for himself and Mattoon across the state and beyond, died at his home at age 82. Gaines' long list of awards, including induction into three halls of fame, match his career accomplishments. Just this January, the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce recognized Gaines' unique contributions by awarding him the Civic Award... MATTOON — Two Mattoon businesses had noteworthy openings last week. Maurice's, a juniors, women's and men's fashion store at the Cross County Mall, had its grand re-opening last week at the mall. Amie Thomas is manager of the Mattoon store. The new Hampton Inn also formally opened its door last week. Hugh and Mary McHugh are the hotel owners. Jeff Duez is Hampton Inn manager and Carrie Wolfe is assistant manager. Also on hand for the formal opening were Tom Driver, Central National Bank; Janet Smith of Promise Hotels, Memphis, Tenn.; Vallery Mullens, Mattoon Mattoon Chamber of Commerce; and Mayor Wanda Ferguson.