Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking Back to 1916: How DeKalb Got the Normal School (NIU)

From the December 21, 2016, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1916, 100 Years Ago.

"The following little bit of ancient history, appearing in this morning's Chicago Herald will be of interest to local people:  The information leaked out years ago that the state was looking for a site for a normal school (to train teachers) and had already considered several locations without a decision.

"DeKalb was one of the cities rumored to have a chance, but it was hinted that the land in question ran far too much to quagmire.  Still, DeKalb wasn't going to lose because of anything like that.

"The quagmire couldn't be removed on short notice, but it could be filled up and made to appear like a place that could be drained.  A fire engine was put to work and pumped enough water to create a small lake into which were propelled a couple of board and from them several citizens were hauling grocery store Yarmouth bloaters by hook and line when the state's agents came along."

A Yarmouth bloater is a type of herring.

They got their school.  Northern Illinois State Normal School opened in May of 1895.

The small lake is where today's East Lagoon is located and one of the most beautiful spots on campus.

I have also heard that DeKalbites dammed up the Kishwaukee River which is quite small and shallow most of the year and opened the dam just before the state people got there to make it appear that it was a mightier stream than it actually was.

Very Sneaky, You DeKalb.  --CootNIU

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