Oswego Timeline

Materials collected from the Kendall County Record; The History of Kendall County, Illinois by the Rev. E.W. Hicks; various issues of the Oswego Herald; 150 Years Along the Fox: The History of Oswego Township, Illinois by the Oswego Sesquicentennial Steering Committee; and primary and secondary source materials in the Oswego’s Little White School Museum collected by the Oswegoland Heritage Association.

1833: The extended Pearce family arrives by wagon train from Ohio. Daniel and Sarah Pearce settle on today’s Fox Bend Golf Course. William Smith Wilson and his wife, Rebecca (Daniel Pearce’s sister) build their farm near the intersection of the East River Road and the Chicago Road—today’s U.S. Route 34 and Ill. Route 25 intersection. Daniel and Rebecca’s two brothers, John and Walter, and their families settle on the west side of the Fox River.

1835: Levi Arnold and Lewis B. Judson lay out their new village, calling it Hudson. Arnold builds the first store, located, according to Hicks’ History of Kendall County, Illinois, at 68 Main Street.

1837: In January, Hudson is awarded its post office, but its name is given as Lodi. Later that year, residents vote on a permanent name for the town, and Oswego is the only name getting more than one vote.

Aaron and S.L. Bartlett build the small home along the west side of Main Street at Bartlett Creek that still stands, probably the oldest home in Oswego.

1838: James Reed, a contract surveyor working for Assistant U.S. Surveyor Eli Prescott, surveys the site of Oswego—and the rest of Oswego Township—in the summer months. Reed reports Oswego boasted “20 or 30 wood buildings.”

1841: Kendall County is established by taking six townships (NaAuSay, Kendall, Fox, Big Grove, Seward, and Lisbon) from LaSalle County and three (Oswego, Bristol, and Little Rock) from Kane County.

1842: The first survey map of Oswego Township published by the U.S. Government, with information from James Reed’s field notes.

1845: Kendall County seat moved to Oswego. First term of the Circuit Court held in the National Hotel on Main Street while the new courthouse is being built.

1848: The new Kendall County Courthouse is completed on the block bounded by Madison, Jackson, Monroe, and Jefferson streets—site of today’s Oswego Post Office, Byline Bank, and Village Green Park.

The first bridge, consisting of two timber spans on native limestone piers, is built across the Fox River.

1849: M.A. Fenton operates the Oswego Post Office in the building Henry Helle would one day purchase at Jackson and Main (see brief history of Oswego Post Office in Feb. 10, 1897 Kendall County Record).

1850: Oswego Methodist-Episcopal Church (Little White School) is completed.

Also opening this year is a new public school at Monroe and Tyler streets. The school is built of native limestone and includes both elementary and high school grades. It replaces an old frame school building at Madison and Van Buren Street. Eventually, it becomes known as the Old Stone School.

1852: H.S. Humphrey begins publishing the Kendall County Courier in Oswego.

1853: The first railroad through Oswego Township—the Chicago Burlington & Quincy—passes about a mile and a half west of Oswego.

1855: Oswego is incorporated. The first village board members elected after Oswego was incorporated included John W. Chapman, Lewis B. Judson, John M. Crothers, Frederick Coffin and Walter Loucks.

1859: Kendall County voters decide to move the county seat back to Yorkville because it is more centrally located in the county.

1860: Presidential election; Oswego votes Republican, and helps elect Abraham Lincoln.

1861: The Civil War breaks out. Torchlight rallies held at the Kendall County Courthouse and the National Hotel in Oswego.

1862: Company A, 127th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment is recruited in Oswego. Among those joining are local attorney Wright Murphy and his 13 year-old son, Robinson Barr Murphy, who serves as a drummer.

1864: New Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville is finally completed. The county records moved from Oswego in June.

1865: Civil War ends. Three Oswegoans, Alfred X. Murdock, William Pooley, and William Shoger, were killed in action during the conflict, while many more died as the result of wounds and disease.

1867: An overheated stovepipe leads to a devastating fire in early February that burns down every building on the east side of Main Street from Washington Street north to Jackson Street. Losses include the stately National Hotel. Construction begins almost immediately on new brick buildings to replace the old frame structures.

The old timber bridge across the Fox River is badly deteriorated. Oswego Township builds the first iron bridge, a tied-arch structure manufactured by the King Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio, across the river at Oswego. Total cost: $5,000.

1870: The first black citizen to cast a ballot in Kendall County votes in the spring election for Oswego Township Supervisor John W. Chapman. The name of the voter, however, was not recorded.

In October, the Fox River Valley Railroad reaches Oswego. Eventually, it would connect Aurora with Streator.

1872: According to the Kendall County Record’s Oswego correspondent, the following businesses were located in Oswego this year: Woolenweber and Knapp, livestock; D.M. Haight, general store; E.A. Parke and Herman Tetzlaff, general; W.P. Hawley, general; Mr. Greenfield, furniture; Richards, Edson & Co., general; Levi N. Hall, apothecary; Lawrence Briggs, veterinarian; W.S. Bunn, lumber; Anton Miller, groceries; Coffin and Son, groceries; Henry Helle, boots and shoes; Mr. Sutherland, saloon and billiards; George Troll, saloon and billiards; M. Ivanchanden, barber shop; Mr. Seer, barber shop; Lorenzo Rank, postmaster, steamship line agent; H.C. Strothman, restaurant and confectionery; Drs. Van Deventer, Lester and Jewell; Fowler and Newton, Justices; A.P. Snick, F. Hawley, A. Snook, lawyers; Gus Voss, insurance; Armstrong and Snook, meat market; Newton and Armstrong, mfg. Wooden wares (pumps).

1874: Lorenzo Rank, Oswego Postmaster, builds a new commercial building on a portion of the site formerly occupied by the old National Hotel at 68 Main Street as the new location of the post office.

1878: Women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony lectured in Oswego on April 1 at the Congregational Church.

1880: In August, the first bicycle glides through Oswego, the rider having pedaled down from Aurora.

1882: Street lamps are installed for the first time in Oswego. One was erected on the corner of Main and Jackson in front of Henry Helle’s store; the other one at the south end of the Main street block. The lamps, installed for a trial only, burned naphtha.

1884: The Kendall County Record’s Oswego correspondent reports on May 22 that “The frame of the new (township) Council building is up, on the south side of Washington street above the railroad tracks.”

1885: The Old Stone School is gutted by fire. Classes are moved to the former Kendall County Courthouse at Madison and Jackson until the end of the school term. In the summer, the courthouse is torn down and construction begins on a new school building that will be called the Oswego Community School. Aurora architect Joseph P. Mulvey is hired to design the building. Previously, Mulven designed the GAR Memorial Hall in downtown Aurora.

1886: The Oswego Community School is completed and a dedication ceremony is held in February.

1887: The first class of five students graduates from Oswego High School. Graduates are Addie Kim­ball, Mamie Smith, Addie Wormley, Frank Lippold, and Bessie Armstrong.

1894: In July, the stately Congregational Church on South Main Street at Benton Street burns. The church bell was said to have been cast in Chicago in 1849, the first bell cast in that city.

In October, the wooden sidewalks along the east side of Main from Washington to Jackson are removed and concrete sidewalks are installed.

1895: Oswego’s first water tower, 112 feet tall, is filled for the first time. It was located at the corner of Washington and Van Buren streets. The village also buys a fire hose cart with which to fight fires and approves adding a tower to the village hall to house a fire bell and to be used to dry the fire brigade’s canvas fire hoses.

1896: The Evangelical Association finishes and dedicates their new church at Washington and Madison streets, now called the Church of the Good Shepherd.

1897: Telephone service is introduced throughout Oswego.

1898: The Spanish-American War breaks out. Phillip Clauser of Oswego is the only community resident to volunteer to serve in the war with Spain.

1899: In March, John Schickler begins construction on his new brick store block at the southwest corner of Main and Washington.

1900: Just a year after John Schickler begins construction on his new commercial brick block, it is seriously damaged by fire. Schickler rebuilds.

That spring, a new iron box-truss bridge replaces the old iron tied-arch bridge built in 1867 to carry the additional weight of the interurban trolley cars.

In October, the interurban trolley line reaches Oswego. The line extends from Aurora south to Yorkville.

1903: First black student to graduate from high school in Kendall County, Ferdinand Smith, graduates from Oswego High School. He is the grandson of an escaped slave, Nathan Hughes, who fought in the 29th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment during the Civil War and who farms just outside Oswego.

Oswego’s first automobile is built by jeweler A.P. Werve, repurposing an inboard boat motor to power it, takes to village streets.

1904: In January, the Oswego Herald, a broadsheet weekly newspaper, begins publication.

1907: Robert Johnston’s new home at the corner of Madison and Chicago Road (Routes 34 and 25) was completed and the family moved in.

In September, the Oswego Herald, Oswego’s weekly newspaper, ceases publication.

1911: The Burkhart Block at the southeast corner of Main and Washington is built. Tenants included the Oswego State Bank on the corner and the Oswego Post Office the next-door south. The third storefront was occupied by the Chicago Telephone Company for their switchboard.

1913: The congregation of the Oswego Methodist-Episcopal Church votes to dissolve. The members join the German Evangelical Church at Madison and Washington streets.

1914: Methodist Bishop McDowell presiding at the Methodists’ Annual Conference, consents to closing the Oswego Methodist-Episcopal Church. The building and parsonage are deeded to the church’s board of trustees for future sale.

Illinois Route 25–then called the East River Road–is paved with concrete between Montgomery at the Kendall County line and Oswego, the first stretch of “hard road” in Kendall County.

1915: The Oswego School District acquires the Methodist-Episcopal Church building at Jackson and Polk streets for use as a large one-room school from the church’s former board of trustees for $350.

1917: Local barber Gus Voss and real estate agent John Herren combine to build a new brick commercial building at the southwest corner of Main and Washington streets.

1918: World War I ends. During fighting in France, U.S. Marine Archie Lake, with deep Oswego family connections, is killed in action.

1919: The stretch of Ill. Route 25 between the Kendall-Kane County line and downtown Aurora is paved.

1920: The Oswego Congregational Church burns for the second time. Members decide not to rebuild, but instead to combine with area Baptists, Lutherans and Methodists to establish the Federated Church using the Church of the Good Shepherd building. In December, the fire prompts the village to purchase their first fire engine, a Model T Ford chassis equipped with a chemical fire apparatus.

1922: Earl Zentmyer, a young Aurora mechanic, buys the Liberty Garage at Main and Jackson Street in downtown Oswego (today’s American Male & Company building) from H.B. Reed and begins his business career selling and repairing Ford automobiles in Oswego.

1923: The Cannonball Trail—modern Ill. Route 31 and U.S. Route 34—is paved from Aurora past Oswego and Yorkville on to Plano and then to Princeton. Paved spurs link Yorkville and Oswego’s downtowns to the newly paved road, the first stretch in Kendall County built with Illinois’ $60 million bond issue passed in 1918.

1928: Dr. Lewis Weishew builds the first wing of the medical clinic at the corner of Main and Van Buren in downtown Oswego using Joliet limestone.

1929: The Nineteenth Century Club moves their circulating library from their clubrooms above a downtown storefront into the Rank Building. Postmaster Lorenzo Rank built the building in 1874 as the community’s post office with Rank’s living quarters on the second floor. Rank willed the building to the Village of Oswego upon his death in 1910, preferably for use as a library.

1930: On May 7, it is reported Alexander Lumber Company of Aurora has bought the Oswego Lumber Company, and plans to operate it at the same location.

During the summer, a wall is built down the center of the large single classroom at the Little White School. One classroom will educate first grade and half of second grade. The other room will educate the other half of second grade and all of third grade.

1934: The Little White School is jacked up and a basement is dug beneath it funded by the federal Works Progress Administration.

The federal Civil Works Administration employs a number of men from Plano and Oswego to widen and generally improve Ill. Route 25 from Oswego to Montgomery.

1936: A third classroom is built onto the rear of the Little White School, and the building’s exterior is shingled, also with WPA funds.

Voters in Oswego Township establish the Oswego Fire Protection District.

On Dec. 5, Oswego Community High School District 300 is established by referendum, including all of Oswego township, 14 sections of NaAuSay Township, seven and a half sections of Wheatland Township, and six sections of Bristol Township. Vote totals were 501 yes to 326 no. The district is almost entirely rural, covering nearly 68 square miles.

1937: The 1900 iron box truss Oswego bridge is replaced with a new steel and concrete structure by the State of Illinois. The original bridge piers are enlarged and reused.

1940: Lewis Chrisse builds a concrete block Quonset-style farm implement dealership at the corner of Washington Street and Ill. Route 71.

1941: Work is completed paving Ill. Route 71 from U.S. Route 34 in Oswego to Yorkville.

1945: World War II ends. Five Oswego men were killed in action during the war, Frank Clauser, Donald Johnson, Kay Fugate, Stewart Parkhurst, Ellsworth P. Zwoyer, and Elwyn Holdiman

1949: On Nov. 29, Ford Lippold publishes Volume 1, Number 1 of the Oswego Ledger, a free distribution weekly newspaper. Oswego had not been served by its own newspaper since the Oswego Herald ceased operations in 1907. Lippold and his family mimeograph each week’s paper in his home’s basement.

1950: The Oswegoland Park District is organized by popular vote. Oswegoan Ford Lippold is named the agency’s director.

1951: The new Oswego High School at Franklin and Washington streets (now Traughber Junior High) opens.

1953: The Oswego Fire Station is completed on the west side of Main Street just south of Jackson Street by the Oswego Fire Protection District.

1954: The first services are held at St. Anne’s Catholic Church on Washington Street in Oswego. Today the building is known as the Knights of Columbus Club.

The Oswego Community Consolidated Grade School District adds a junior high wing to Oswego High School for seventh and eighth graders.

1956: In May, the first house in the new Boulder Hill Subdivision is sold to Bev and Ruth Skaggs. The Skaggs moved to their new home in October.

1957: East View School opens in Oswego along Ill. Route 71. The school was named in a contest by student Diane Paydon. It is the first new school to be built solely for elementary purposes in Oswego since 1850. Students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades attend.

1958: The new Oswego Community Bank opens at 55 Main Street in downtown Oswego in August. The building is now part of the Prom Shoppe building. The first bank president was Earl Zentmyer, also owner of Zentmyer Ford in Oswego.

The Boulder Hill Civic Association is established to represent the subdivisions residents in dealing with local government.

The village board votes to finance installation of new streetlights along Main Street in the downtown business district. Previously, there were only two streetlights downtown, one at Main and Washington and one at Main and Jackson. Both lights were suspended from cables in the middle of the two intersections.

Oswego celebrates its 125th birthday with the Oswegorama celebration including an elaborate pageant on the Oswego High School football field, a parade, and a variety of community events. Proceeds from the celebration, more than $1,000, go towards the fund to finance construction of a community library.

The Boulder Hill Playhouse opens in a former barn on the north side of U.S. Route 30. The theatre features a revolving stage that allows three sets to be ready for use during productions. Jack and Lucille Goring, theatre professionals, oversee the theatre’s operations.

1959: The U.S. Route 30 By-Pass opens. The new road connecting U.S. Route 34 at the U.S. Route 30 intersection with Ill. Route 47 between Yorkville and Sugar Grove, was designed to remove truck traffic from downtown Aurora. With its bridge across the Fox River, the road also provided residents of the growing Boulder Hill Subdivision with easy access to jobs at the Western Electric and Caterpillar, Inc. manufacturing plants on the west side of the river.

The old limestone raised sidewalk along the east side of Main Street between Washington and Jackson streets is removed and replaced with a raised concrete sidewalk.

In September, the Oswego School District rents space in the new Boulder Hill Apartments for elementary classrooms until a new school can be built to serve the subdivision’s residents.

1960: The junior high wing at Oswego High School, added in 1954, is turned into high school classroom space to handle the school’s fast-growing enrollment. Junior high students attend classes at the old Red Brick School and walk to Little White School for English classes.

In August, a Volkswagen van begins bus service from Boulder Hill into downtown Aurora for the subdivision’s residents.

Also in August, SuzanJohn Park opens in Boulder Hill, the first park owned by the Oswegoland Park District. Boulder Hill developer Don L. Dise donated the land for the park.

1961: In a May referendum, voters in the Oswego Community Consolidated Grade School District and the Oswego Community High School District approve establishing a unit district educating children in grades 1-12. The new district’s designation is a combination of Grade School District 4 and High School District 300 to create Community Unit School District 308.

Oswego’s first fast food and soft-serve ice cream stand opens in downtown Oswego on South Main between Washington and Van Buren streets. A contest is held to name the new business and junior high student Jerry Power wins with the name Dari-Boat. The Boat’s grand opening was held June 2.

The Oswego Village Board approved the plat of the Marina Village Subdivision on Ill. Route 31 west of the Fox River since the development was within a mile and a half of village limits.

The new Boulder Hill School opens in September. Funds for the elementary building had been approved in a 1960 school district referendum.

On Sept. 24, the Boulder Hill Neighborhood Church of the Brethren is dedicated on a site along Boulder Hill Pass adjacent to Boulder hill School.

1963: St. Luke’s Lutheran Church is dedicated on a site on Pembrooke Road in Boulder Hill.

In December, Don L. Dise, Inc. begins construction on the 800th home in Boulder Hill.

1964: The Oswego High School Class of 1964 graduates in May, the first OHS class with more than 100 graduates.

The new Oswego Library, built by contractor Stan Young, opens at Main and Jefferson in downtown Oswego. The building was financed through private donations arranged by the Nineteenth Century Club and other community boosters. On Nov. 3, Oswego Township residents vote 2,276 to 654 to establish the tax-supported Oswego Township Library. The first elected library board members are Mabel Carpenter, Joann Dean, Charlotte Herren, Warren Norris, Ernest Spiller, and Earl Zentmyer, president.

A new, larger Oswego High School opens on a site opposite East View School along Ill. Route 71, in Oswego on land formerly owned by the Gerry family. The old high school on Franklin Street is renamed Oswego Junior High School.

1965: The Zentmyer Ford dealership at Main and Jackson Street in downtown Oswego, now owned by Jim Zentmyer, Earl Zentmyer’s son, is completely destroyed by fire. The dealership was housed in the historic old Shoger livery stable building.

The old Red Brick School is demolished to make way for a new Oswego post office building and the Oswego Community Bank’s new location.

The Boulder Hill Market opens on Boulder Hill Pass just east of Ill. Route 25 with Gromer’s Supermarket, Grimm’s Rexall Drug Store, the Yankee Clipper Barber Shop, and Illinois Cleaners and Dyers occupying storefronts in the shopping center.

The Oswego Presbyterian Church opens its new building on Ill. Route 25 just north of Oswego. They sell their old building at Madison and Benton Street to the Oswego Baptist Church.

The Boulder Hill Playhouse is destroyed by fire, which turns out to have been arson.

In October, Boulder Hill gets house-to-house mail delivery provided by the Aurora Post Office.

1967: Long Beach School opens in Boulder Hill.

1968: Shuler’s Drug Store moves to their new commercial building at the northeast corner of Main and Jackson Street in downtown Oswego, the former location of Zentmyer Ford. The Oswego Ledger moves into Shuler’s former location at 64 Main Street.

St. Anne’s Catholic Church dedicates their new church building on Boulder Hill Pass near Oswego’s new Windcrest Subdivision. The striking, modernistic structure quickly becomes an area landmark.

1969: The Oswegoland Park District opens their new Civic Center and swimming pool on a site adjacent to Boulder Hill on Ashlawn Avenue.

1970: In July, the Oswego Community Bank breaks ground for their new building at the corner of Jefferson and Madison Street on the former location of the Red Brick School.

1971: In February, fire does $40,000 worth of damage to Shuler’s Drug Store in downtown Oswego.

Although efforts are underway by the Oswego Jaycees to turn it into a community museum, the old Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad depot on Jackson Street at the railroad tracks is demolished.

A new commercial and apartment building—the Wilhelm Building—is built at Jefferson and Main Street housing retail stores on the first floor and apartments on the second floor.

1972: Oswego’s first, large-scale downtown improvement project is completed when mansard-style roofs are installed on several downtown buildings.

1973: Fire destroys two storefronts on the west side of Main Street housing the Oswego Ledger office and the Oswego Home Center. The buildings, built in 1867 following the fire that February, are later replaced by a modern office and apartment building.

David Dreier and Steve Keierleber begin publishing the Fox Valley Sentinel weekly newspaper. The first issue is laid out on the floor of Keierleber’s Boulder Hill home. They quickly move their offices to the historic Bartlett House on South Main Street.

1976: To provide additional downtown parking, a municipal parking lot is installed behind the fire station on Main Street. A portion of the property at Jackson Street was once the site of the Oswego railroad depot.

The community’s first McDonald’s fast food restaurant opens on a site at Douglas Road and U.S. Route 30 ByPass.

1979: The Bank of Boulder Hill is chartered and opens in the Boulder Hill Market.

1980: On April 1, new traffic signals are turned on for the first time at the busy intersection of U.S. Route 34 and Ill. Route 71 in Oswego.

In June Robert “Bert” Gray of Boulder Hill is named executive director of the Oswegoland Park District, replacing Ford Lippold, who retired. Lippold helped found the park district and served as its first director beginning in 1950.

In July, the Fox Valley Sentinel and the Oswego Ledger merge to form the Ledger-Sentinel under the ownership of Jeff and Kathy Farren, owners of the Kendall County Record, Inc.

1981: The last grocery store to operate in downtown Oswego, Bohn’s Food Store at 60 Main Street, closes. The store is converted into an office building.

1985: The Bank of Boulder Hill merges with Merchants National Bank of Aurora.

1987: In October, the Oswego Fire Protection District begins offering 24-hour paramedic service. The district contracts with a private company to provide the service.

1988: Oswego annexes west as far as the intersection of U.S. Route 34 and U.S. Route 30. Illinois FIRST grant money is used to extend Oswego water mains to the intersection.

1989: Detzler Pontiac moves from their downtown Oswego location in the Burkhart Building to the former Zentmyer Ford dealership building at Zero Boulder Hill Pass. It’s the first time since 1910 there is no automobile dealership in downtown Oswego.

Townes Crossing Shopping Center at Douglas Road and U.S. Route 30 opens, with a Jewel-Osco Store as its main anchor.

Also opening that year was the Oswego Plaza Shopping Center at Ill. Route 71 and Washington Street with Penn’s True Value as its anchor.

1990: For the first time in the Oswego’s history, the village annexes land on the west side of the Fox River.

The Oswego Community Bank opens a branch in the former Bank of Boulder Hill in the Boulder Hill Market.

1991: Oswego hires its first full-time village administrator, Mary McKittrick.

1993: The Illinois Department of Transportation completes a new four-lane bridge carrying U.S. Route 34 across the Fox River at Oswego. The old bridge is to be retained as a bridge-park

1994: Ill. Gov. Jim Edgar comes to Oswego to help dedicate the Hudson Crossing Bridge Park, the old Route 34 bridge across the Fox. Instead of demolishing the old bridge, it was refurbished and dedicated to the Oswegoland Park District for use as a pedestrian, fishing, and bicycle bridge.

In December, traffic signals are installed at Washington Street and Ill. Route 71.

1995: Widening begins on U.S. Route 34 from Ill. Route 71 to Ill. Route 31 through Oswego. The Illinois Department of Transportation project will widen the road to four lanes, including curbs, gutters, and sidewalks along the entire length.

1996: Construction starts on the Mason Square Shopping Center at Douglas Road and U.S. Route 34. Shopping center developer Harold Oliver names the center after his son, Mason.

More than 14-inches of rain drench the Oswego area during a July rainstorm, washing out roads and bridges and flooding homes and businesses. The North Adams Street bridge over Waubonsie Creek was pushed from its abutments and badly damaged.

2000: Shuler’s Drug Store closes. For the first time since the village was founded, there is no drug store on Main Street. Owner Chuck Shuler transfers his prescription list to the new Walgreens Drug Store at U.S. Route 34 and Ill. Route 71 that opened the same weekend Shuler’s closed.

2001: a two-year project to replace and renovate streets and other infrastructure in downtown Oswego begins. The project included complete replacement of Main Street from Jefferson to Van Buren Street, along with curbs and gutters, new sidewalks, additional parking, improved street lighting, and other improvements.

Oswego Commons Shopping Center on U.S. Route 34 at Douglas Road opens, anchored by a Dominick’s Fresh Store, a Target department store, and The Home Depot.

Restoration of the interior of the Little White School Museum wraps up when Nathaniel Matile installs the hardwood floor on the pulpit platform in the building’s Main Room. Exterior restoration lasted from 1976 until 1983. Interior restoration lasted from 1981 to 2002. Volunteers did most of the work on the building’s restoration.

2004: The first new high school in 40 years opens on a 100-acre site at Harvey and Wolf roads on Oswego’s far east side. For the first time in Oswego’s 160-year history, the community will be served by two high schools. The school board names the new building Oswego East High School. It is built for an eventual enrollment of 2,400 students. It is formally dedicated in ceremonies the following February that include a community open house.

Oswego Village Board approves a historic preservation amendment to the village zoning ordinance.

Robert “Bert” Gray, executive director of the Oswegoland Park District, announces he’s leaving to become executive director of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District. Gray is only the second person to have headed the park district since it was established in 1950.

2005: The Oswego High School Band marches in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA.

Plans for the new Prairie Market Shopping Center along U.S. Route 34 just east of Douglas Road are announced. The center will be anchored by a Super Walmart Store.

The U.S. Bureau of the Census names Oswego the second fastest growing community in the nation. Since 2000, the community’s population has grown by more than one-third. Oswego is, in percentage terms, the fastest growing county in Illinois.

Oswego School Board members vote 5-2 to name the Oswego School District’s newest junior high school after former school superintendent Dr. Karl Plank.

Oswego resident and Kendall County State’s Attorney Timothy McCann is appointed a judge in the 16th Judicial Circuit. McCann is a 1977 graduate of Oswego High School.

The historic Helle Building at Main and Jackson Street in downtown Oswego is demolished to make way for a new three-story commercial building.

Construction begins on a three-story commercial and office building at Washington and Harrison Street. The building is planned to be the home of a brewpub—Emmett’s Ale House—on the first floor and offices on the other two floors. Parking is to be located across Harrison Street to the west, where the old Oswego Public Works garage is to be torn down.

The village board approves for another new shopping center along U.S. Route 34 east of Douglas Road, Gerry Centennial Plaza, to be anchored by a Meijer Superstore.

A record 572 Oswego High School seniors received diplomas during commencement exercises.

Special filtering equipment goes into operation in May to remove naturally-occurring radium from Oswego’s municipal water supply.

Kendall County is declared a disaster area due to serious on-going drought conditions.

U.S. President George W. Bush visited the Caterpillar, Inc. plant in Oswego Township in August to sign the nation’s $286.4 billion transportation bill.

The village board grapples with whether Oswego’s most important historical structures ought to receive landmark status even if the property owner objects.

For the first time in Oswego School District history, total enrollment in every elementary school grade topped 1,000 students.

2006: In February, The largest and longest continually operating business in downtown Oswego, Alexander Lumber Company, announced plans to move out of town. The company said its 2.4-acre site at South Adams and Jackson Street was no longer big enough for the firm’s operations.

Arguably Oswego’s most historic home, the Judson House at 357 South Main Street, is demolished by its owner, Ron Weilert. The Greek Revival-style home was built by one of the village’s founders, Lewis B. Judson in the 1840s. Weilert said he was forced to demolish the historic structure because it would have cost too much to renovate it.

In 2005, Oswego retained its ranking as the fastest-growing community in Kendall County. Between 2004 and 2005, Kendall County’s population grew by 9.4 percent.

In April, a memorial at Violet Patch Park in Oswego is dedicated to environmentalist and teacher Jim Phillips. Phillips, who died in 2001 from complications due to diabetes, conducted a campaign against polluters throughout northern Illinois, but primarily in the Fox River Valley, under the name of his alter ego, “The Fox.”

Oswego Village Board members announce plans to build a new village hall on a 3.85-acre site on the west side of the Fox River.

14,091 students showed up for classes when school resumed in the Oswego School District after summer vacation, an 11 percent increase over the previous year’s enrollment.

In September, the first “Dragstrip Days” community celebration was held in downtown Oswego. The fest was designed to celebrate the era when the Oswego Drag Raceway drew thousands of drag racers and spectators to the drag strip, which was located on U.S. Route 34, just west of the Orchard Road intersection. The drag strip operated from 1954 until it closed in 1979.

In October, Oswegoland Park District officials formally opened the pedestrian bridge across the Fox River at Violet Patch Park, designed to provide easier access to the Oswegoland Civic Center’s aquatic park for residents living on the west side of the river.

The Oswegoland Park District became sole owner of the Fox Bend Golf Course. The local park district had teamed with the Fox Valley Park District to buy the course from its private owners in the 1970s. The private owners had planned to turn the course into a housing development.

2007: Five Oswego High School students died and four other students were seriously injured in a single vehicle crash during the early morning hours of Feb. 11 on Ill. Route 31 at River Bend Drive in Oswego.

The Oswego Public Library District Board announced plans to build a second library campus on a 7.5 acres site north of U.S. Route 30 in Montgomery. The land was donated to the library district by the Village of Montgomery.

The nationwide real estate crisis was having an impact in Oswego. New home starts in the first have of 2007 were down 41 percent from the previous year.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported in August that the population of African-Americans and Hispanics in Kendall County had more than tripled since 2000.

First day of school enrollment figure in the Oswego School District stood at 14,802, substantial but not as high as had been originally projected.

2008: On May 2, Oswego’s municipal government moved from the old village hall at 113 South Main Street across the river to the new $9.2 million village hall at 100 Parkers Mill Drive. Village government had been located in the downtown business district since Oswego was incorporated in 1855.

Emmett’s Ale House moved out and The Tap House moved in to the three-story commercial building at Washington and Harrison streets.

In June hundreds of area residents attended the official closing of Traughber Junior High at Franklin and Washington streets in Oswego. The building was replaced by a new Traughber Junior High at 570 Colchester Drive, Oswego. The old Traughber building had opened in 1951 as Oswego High School. In the fall of 1964 it was renamed Oswego Junior High School when the new Oswego High School opened on Ill. Route 71. It was renamed T. Loyd Traughber Junior High in 1977 in honor of a former Oswego School District superintendent.

In August, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that Kendall County had the fastest growing Hispanic population in Illinois.

The Oswego School District’s enrollment stood at 15,066 on the first day of classes.

In November, Democrat Barack Obama carried Kendall County, the first Democrat to do so since the Republican Party was established in the 1850s.

2009: Through a lease agreement between the Oswego School District and the Oswego Village Board, the old Traughber Junior High building becomes the home of the Oswego Senior Center. The building is renamed the District 308 Center.

In June, the Oswego School District announced the closure of East View School in Oswego. The building opened in 1957 to house grades four through six. Over the years, it became the school district’s largest elementary school, housing some 1,200 students.

The Oswego Public Library District opens their new Montgomery campus on a 7.5 acre site north of U.S. Route 30 near Goodwin Drive.

An era ended in October when the Oswego Fire Protection District moved out of the old Station One on Main Street in downtown Oswego to their expansive new Station One on Woolley Road. The old fire barn had opened in 1954. It was the first time since 1895 that no firefighting apparatus was stationed in Oswego’s downtown.

2010: In January, an on-line tracking company announced Kendall County had the highest percentage of foreclosures in Illinois based on the number of homes in the county in 2009.

In April, the Oswego Village Board votes to impose a one-half percent sales tax in the village.

On May 15, a grand reopening ceremony is held at the Oswego Public Library District’s downtown Oswego campus. The Oswego campus had closed in July 2009, and had been completely reconditioned, inside and out. Residents used the district’s Montgomery campus during the project.

As of May 10, 680 home foreclosures had been filed during 2010 in Kendall County, a sign of the still handicapped real estate market.

The Oswego School Board announced there would no longer be a Building Trades Program at Oswego High School. The program had been a fixture at the school since the 1970s.

Area local governments began dealing with the plague of the emerald ash borer, which preys on ash trees. Eventually, Fox Bend Golf Course alone would be forced to remove 100 dead and dying ash trees.

2011: Up to 16-inches of snow buried the Oswego area during a severe winter storm Feb. 2-3.

2010 U.S. Census figures showed Oswego’s population had more than doubled since 2000, increasing from 13,326 to 30,355.

In October, officials of the Lowes company notified village officials the company’s Oswego store would close immediately.

The Oswego School District transferred ownership of the Little White School Museum to the Oswegoland Park District.

2012:  In March, Oswego School District Board members vote to expand both Oswego High School and Oswego East High School instead of building a third high school in the southern part of the school district.

The Fox Metro Water Reclamation District installed sanitary sewers in the Windcrest and Cedar Glen subdivisions.

The Oswego School District Board votes unanimously to move commencement exercises for both Oswego High Schools to Northern Illinois University’s Convocation Center in DeKalb due to the size of graduating classes.

Oswego Village Board members approve a bike trail along Mill Road from Ill. Route 31 to Orchard Road.

2013: In February, Oswego School Superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt reported the district’s enrollment stood at 17,716 students.

Oswego Village Board members approve the demolition of the old Oswego Village Hall at 113 South Main Street. The old hall was built in the 1920s.

The Oswego Village Board votes in May to allow video gambling in Oswego. Gambling in Oswego had been banned since 1936.

Safeway, Inc., owner of Oswego’s Dominick’s Finer Foods store, announced the store will be closing early in 2014 due to market conditions.

2014: The Oswego Village Board approved plans to build a Taco Bell restaurant along Orchard Road.

Oswego School District officials announce they’re dropping the “Oswego” from the name of the school district. The new designation will be Community School District 308 or SD308, despite the fact there’s at least one other School District 308 in Illinois.

In August, word began on an addition to the Oswego Public Library District’s Oswego campus building. When finished in 2015, the current 20,000 square foot building will have a total of 33,346 square feet of floor space and have a second floor constructed over its east wing.

2015: The Illinois Department of Transportation finished widening U.S. Route 30 to four traffic lanes between U.S. Route 34 in Oswego and Ill. Route 31 in Montgomery.

Work began on widening Ill. Route 71 in Oswego to four traffic lanes from U.S. Route 34 to Orchard Road.

2016: The Oswego Village Board approves purchasing the old Alexander Lumber Company site with the aim of encouraging the site’s economic development. The block formerly occupied by the lumber yard is bounded by Washington, Adams, Jackson, and Harrison streets.

2017: The Oswego School District Board considers selling the District 308 Center, formerly Oswego High School and then Traughber Junior High. The building houses the Oswego Senior Center and the Oswego YMCA.

David Krahn and Herschel Luckinbill announce the Vietnam Moving Wall will be coming to Oswego at Prairie Point Community Park from June 29 through July 3. The event drew thousands of visitors during its week-long run.

On March 23, ground was broken for a new police station on Woolley Road. The Oswego Police Department had outgrown the station on U.S. Route 34. Since the old station was landlocked, it could not be enlarged.

Oswego village officials announce an agreement with the Shodeen Group LLC to develop the old Alexander Lumber Company site into a mixed use development including residences, businesses, and a municipal parking deck.

Caterpillar, Inc. announces that all manufacturing jobs will leave the firm’s sprawling Oswego Township plant in 2018. The company began construction on the plant in 1956, and at its height it employed some 7,000 area residents. At the beginning of 2017, employment was down to 2,000, with only 800 being production workers.

The Oswego Brewing Company opens in the lower level of the old Oswego Fire Barn in downtown Oswego.

A citizens’ group led by former Oswego educators Terry Tamblyn and Dave Elko petition the Oswego School District Board to add the “Oswego” back into the district’s name on buses and other official documents.