O'Fallon Progress

Happy 163rd birthday to O’Fallon

Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president.
Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president. rkirsch@bnd.com

On Saturday, O’Fallon turns 163.

It was on May 13, 1854, that the first lots were sold at a public auction, arranged by Frederick A. Carpenter and Hugo O. Sheerbarth, held under an elm tree near the corner of First and Vine.

The auction notice said, “This town is laid out in large lots, with wide streets upon an elevated plain, in the midst of a most beautiful and healthy country, and will afford a rare opportunity to those, who may wish, to make a profitable investment, secure a suburban residence or establish themselves in business.”

The town was called “O’Fallon Station,” and 164 lots were up for sale. Top price was $10. The lots were platted and surveyed by Ernest J. Tiedemann. And anyone who bought a lot got a lithographed map of the future town drawn by Ernest’s brother, Dietrich.

Happy birthday, O’Fallon!

75 years ago May 14, 1942

O’Fallon’s second casualty attributed to World War II occurred when word reached here that Leroy Franke, 20 years old, U.S. Army flight sergeant, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Franke of Rural Route 2, was fatally injured in a plane crash during a routine training flight near Shaw Field, seven miles south of Sumter, S.C. (Franke was injured by a 1938 tornado that destroyed his family’s home and combination tavern and grocery store in west O’Fallon. Rebuilt, it was thereafter known as Tornado Inn.)

50 years ago May 11, 1967

O’Fallon residents are still wondering how long it will be before some action is taken on getting a more desirable way to get from the north to the south part of town. Today’s trains are getting longer and longer, and the chance of the crossings being blocked are more acute. While the expense would be great, the situation makes one believe that a subway crossing under the tracks may be the only really long-range solution. (From an editorial.)