O'Fallon Progress

July 7, 1928: Aurora borealis could be seen in O’Fallon

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

It was a Saturday night, July 7, 1928. Around 9 p.m., the sky in the north looked brighter than usual.

Many O’Fallon residents thought there must be a large fire in some distant city. Those listening to radios said the reception became poor. And telegraph service, very important back then, was spotty at best with periods of being interrupted completely. What was going on?

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, was making a rare visit to O’Fallon. The intermingling of colors in the sky, “the deep green to a light shade of pink” presented “a pretty spectacle.”

The Progress reported that it had been about 10 years since the lights last made an appearance in this area. Sightings were made as far south as Georgia and from coast to coast, making the news throughout the country. By midnight, the show was over. But not before becoming the talk of the town and much of the U.S.

75 years ago: July 29, 1943

Funeral services were held Tuesday morning in Corpus Christi Church, Shiloh for Sgt. Paul R. Weil, 24, who was killed in an automobile accident at Princess Ann, Maryland last Friday morning. Burial was in Mt. Calvary cemetery. Full military honors were accorded with Capt. Bradley, chaplain at Scott Field and a firing squad from the same post officiating. Born on the farm of his parents in Shiloh Valley, he was a member of an Infantry tank platoon at Camp Somerset, Westover, Md.

50 years ago: Aug. 1, 1968

Twenty-nine houses in the path of the proposed I-64 intersection just west of O’Fallon are being leveled in preliminary work for road construction with an uncertain time element. Plans for the highway construction are being held up pending a Federal investigation of costs in St. Clair and Madison County some 20 percent higher than the rest of the state. (I-64 opened through O’Fallon in 1975.)