Towanda Community Hall BUILT BIG STRUCTURE FOR COMMUNITY HALL Placing of Building Definitely Located Main Street Diagonally Transcribed by Dale M. Sutter Oct/2006 The Daily Pantagraph, June 4, 1928 Towanda was 73 years old in December 1927. It had been mapped out by Jesse Fell and Pater Badeau Dec. 7, 1854. At present it is a thriving, neat little town on the Chicago & Alton railroad and on paved route 4. Charles Roadnight, treasurer of the C. & A. Railroad in 1854, became owner of the greater part of the village. To prove his faith in its future, he built "Roadnight Hall", a structure 50 by 100 feet, fitted for store use on the first floor and with a public hall above. Being a railroad man, he located his building parallel to the tracks, irrevocably fixing Main Street in a northeast - southwest diagonal. The big "hall" in time became a community liability. It was destroyed by fire in 1900. Several Fires A flour mill in which Mr. Roadnight had an interest burned also, as did the flour mill that succeeded it. Two schools also burned. In fact, except for three buildings, all stores on Main Street, with a number of private dwellings as well, have succumbed to flames. A volunteer fire brigade with chemical engine now stands ready to prevent such losses. Two industries of early days were the Shorthorn farm of W. R. Duncan, adjoining the village, and the tile factory of Oliver Tilbury, within the village. For many years, residents set their clocks by the factory whistle and the industry furnished regular employment to a large force of men. The product was shipped as far west as Kansas, but local demand was also so great that often 10 or 15 teams would line up through the night to wait for the kilns to be opened and tile cooled next day. Lays 96 Miles of Tile John Crichton, Sr., with a force of from one to four men, laid 96 miles of tile in Towanda and Money Creek townships between 1878 and 1882. When he began, practically every 40 acre field held from one to three large ponds and malarial chills and fever were considered necessary evils. As the work of draining progressed, the malaria disappeared. That both tile and workmanship were of the first order is evidenced by the fact that the 50-year old drains are operating as if laid but yesterday.
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Illinois State University, Milner Library, Normal, IL, 61790 - for the Towanda Area Historical Society/Towanda District Library
Towanda Area Historical Society/Towanda District Library
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