Nine-year old Jesse “Dick” Snowden dreamed of exploring the world beyond his home in St. Louis, just east of Fairground Park. Thursday Sept. 14, 1933 was just another school day for him, but wanderlust got the best of him by the end of classes. Instead of going home, he pursued his dream.
He spent a few days along the banks of the Mississippi before deciding to cross into Illinois over the “free bridge” known today as the MacArthur Bridge. Monday afternoon found him in O’Fallon trying to hitch a ride from passing motorists on Route 50 near Cherry Street.
O’Fallon Police Chief John Tiley was tipped off about the young hitchhiker and had him in custody at 5 p.m. By then he had completely worn through the soles of his shoes. Snowden’s dad was contacted and soon came to pick the boy up, at least temporarily ending his world travels.
75 years ago, Aug. 26, 1943.
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On Thursday members of the O’Fallon Rotary Club were busily engaged in the erection of a service men’s shelter on the Ben Berger lot on U.S. Highway 50 (between Cherry and Lincoln). The shelter is for the convenience of service men who stand along the hard road nearly all hours of the day or night in the hopes of catching a ride to East St. Louis and St. Louis. The structure was painted red, white and blue and is equipped with electric light. Autoists traveling west are requested to slow down at the shelter and pick up men in uniform — they will appreciate the accommodation.
50 years ago, Aug. 29, 1968.
A record crowd attended O’Fallon’s annual Homecoming and Fall Festival Saturday and Sunday when there were three parades and the coronation of Miss O’Fallon, Miss Connie Nabe. Early tabulation showed gross receipts of about $24,000. Parades were held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday in addition to a Saturday afternoon children’s parade.