O'Fallon Progress

Ronald Reagan’s uncle once ran a bar in O’Fallon

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

Here’s a taste of what was going on around O’Fallon a century ago in June 1917.

The O’Fallon Band was preparing for a June 15 concert and ice cream social to be held in City Park, where the Washington Street fire station is today.

Steve Rush opened a bar in the Opera House building at 220 E. State. Rush was Ronald Reagan’s uncle.

A relief committee, headed by Mayor C.E. Tiedemann, was set up to help the victims of the May 26 tornado that killed 108 people in the Mattoon/Charleston, Illinois area. Over $300 was raised.

The public school held its annual picnic at Mace’s Grove north of town. The students walked from the school to the grove at 9:30 a.m., headed by Poignee’s Band. Most businesses closed at noon so much of the rest of the town could join them until it came to a close at 6 p.m.

And the Progress reported that arrangements were being made to locate an aviation training ground in Shiloh Valley — the beginning of Scott Air Force Base.

75 years ago June 11, 1942

With heavy war demands on telephone and other communications, Smiley Brothers Telephone Exchange is urging patrons to use telephones sparingly and only when necessary. Minor calls should be eliminated as much as possible and necessary conversations made shorter.

50 years ago June 8, 1967

A gas leak in a tank and a pipe at Ron’s Standard Station, Lincoln at Highway 50, was discovered and the presence of gasoline in sewer lines created a hazard in a large section of town. One of the leaks had been repaired Wednesday but work was progressing on digging up a tank that will be replaced. Ron Von Hatten, operator of the station, said he believes 1,000 gallons of gasoline had leaked out of the tanks. The gas can be smelled in basements and homes along Lincoln, Oak and other nearby streets. One nearby low basement sewer pump contained pure gasoline.