COLUMNS

Kendall's Korner: Tazewell Courier news from February 1959

Jeanette Kendall/ TimesNewspapers

The dust has been wiped off the cover and the pages are now turned to Feb. 5, 1959, in the Tazewell Courier.

Of interest is where one could pick up the Tazewell Courier in town. Places included: Clover Avenue Market in Cloverdale, Couri’s Food Town, Eaton’s Market, Brownfield’s Restaurant, Bogard Drug Store, Floyd’s Market and the S&C Drug Store, all in East Peoria.

Cloverdale? Never heard of that.

All of these places no longer exist today, showing that everything is constantly changing over time. Even if we take photos today of a certain area, imagine what those same places will look like in 100 years. Our photos will be considered antique!

Just as some things change, other things stay the same. I had to chuckle as I read the headline “East Peoria’s Snow — A Problem for Oldsters and Fun For Youngsters.” Building snowmen must have been a more popular thing to do in 1959 as one photo caption reads that “snowmen could be seen on almost every block of East Peoria.” The kids at Robein took advantage of a 6-foot snow bank and used it as a play area until the C.A. Powley Co. was contracted to remove it.

But, who wants to talk about snow? The birds are singing and the skies are blue. Let’s turn the pages to March.

Before I could get to March, something caught my eye in the Feb. 12, 1959, edition — a photo of a young Roy Danz with a dairy cow at his barn on Highview Road. The headline reads “Dairy cows kept inside barn during winter on Danz Farm.”

Many of you likely know who Danz was. He had the little vegetable stand along Centennial Drive near the four-way stop at Grange Road. I saw him often as I stopped at the intersection on my way to work. I could see him in the distance in his bib overalls, sitting in a recliner under the canopy of his vegetable stand, chatting with people who stopped by.

Several years ago I stopped by there to talk to him about something, which I can’t recall, although I am sure it was for a story. He was a wealth of information about the history of the area. This past fall, I put his name on my story list and planned to do a feature on him, but sadly, he passed away recently.

I am now realizing I’m not going to make it to March because I keep seeing interesting things on the yellowed February pages, such as the TV listings. What was playing on the telly in 1959? I’m thinking “Lassie” and yes, I do see that on the listing. There is also: “What’s Your Hobby,” “The Dick Clark Show,” “Perry Mason,” “Perry Como,” “Lawrence Welk Show,” “Oral Roberts,” “Face the Nation,” “Jack Benny,” “Ed Sullivan,” “Father Knows Best,” “I Love Lucy,” “Alfred Hithcock” and “Maverick.” 

Today, one can see some of these programs on TV Land and Nick at Nite, my staff member tells me.

At 6 p.m., kids could watch “Woody Woodpecker” on Monday, “Superman” on Tuesday and “Huckleberry Hound” Thursday. Why were these cartoons on in the evenings? Were there no Saturday morning cartoons in 1959? What were kids supposed to do to entertain themselves? Geez. I guess there was always playing outside. 

Oh, and by the way, TV programs were only listed from 6 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. in the newspaper. Were there no soap operas in 1959? After searching the Internet, I see there were soap operas in the 1950s, so the listings did not include daytime TV. I hate to admit that I am old enough to remember a time when TV was not broadcast 24 hours a day. I don’t know if I recall the colored bars that came on screen after broadcasting, and I certainly wasn’t around for the black and white circle, but I will admit seeing the flag waving and the national anthem playing before the snowy static hit the screen.

I’ve gotten so lost in February 1959, that I will have to revisit this book next week and hop into spring.

— Jeanette Kendall is the executive editor at TimesNewspapers and the editor of the East Peoria Times-Courier. Email: jkendall@timestoday.com.

Jeanette Kendall