This column marks my 17th year with the Daily Herald. During this time, a regular — and often requested tradition — has been a year-end column with questions taken from my past Elgin area history stories.
So here’s a quiz to test your knowledge of our area’s history. And, whether you are a regular reader or not, read on. This quiz is meant for all.
1. Where is the mechanism currently located for the clock that operated for six decades in the tower of the Elgin National Watch Company?
A) It was sold for scrap
B) In a museum in Colorado
C) At the Elgin History Museum
D) In the basement of the Elgin city hall
2. Out of the 4,000 Ace Hardware stores today, what number was the Elgin store founded by the Ziegler family in the 1930s?
3. What unusual event occurred in the 1920s when the Elgin County Club expanded its course to 18 holes?
A) Workers laid out 19 holes
B) A mastodon was found
C) An underground cavern was discovered
D) The direction of play was reversed
4. In April 2000, 97-year-old Elgin resident Hubert Yelton boasted that he was probably the oldest person to have this distinction. What was it?
A) Saw every U.S. president
B) Attended every Indianapolis 500 Race
C) Was the oldest living Eagle Boy Scout
D) Was the oldest person to earn a G.E.D.
5. Earl “Mad Man” Muntz, originally from Elgin, was known for what eccentric behavior that earned him this moniker?
A) Odd techniques for selling used cars
B) Driving a different car every day of the week
C) Driving with his convertible top down all year long
D) Always wearing a scarf when he drove
6. What Labor Day event during the late 1930s and 1940s drew more than 10,000 people annually to Elgin?
B) Boat races
C) Air show
7. In 1917, every household was encouraged by an Elgin committee to read this literary work in their home. What was it?
A) “The Night Before Christmas”
B) “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
C) “O Captain! My Captain!”
D) “Paul Revere’s Ride”
8. What newsworthy event related to Elgin High School occurred in 1962?
A) School name change
D) Televising of a basketball game
9. How many Revolutionary War soldiers are buried in Kane County?
10. For nearly 60 of its 125 years, this unique achievement can be credited to the Elgin Woman’s Club. What was it?
A) Managed Sherman Hospital
B) Ran a tutoring program for children
C) Delivered the city’s telephone books
D) Helped supervise elementary children on school playgrounds
11. The Elgin Public Museum in Lords Park was completed in 1907 but didn’t open until 1920. Why?
A) Mold problems
B) Death of a major benefactor
C) It was needed for storage purposes
12. Following the devastating Rialto Theater fire in downtown Elgin in December 1956, firefighter Paul Weidner joked about another “disaster” that occurred that day. What was it?
A) His fire station ran out of coffee
B) He missed his favorite TV show
C) He forgot his wife’s birthday.
D) A football loss
13. What is “Slop Hill”?
A) A turn-of-the-century garbage dump
B) A hill for sledders in Wing Park
C) Area west of the Fox River near the downtown
D) Refuse pile near the Elgin National Watch Company
14. What were the Elgin Torpedoes?
A) A swim team
B) A football team
C) A track team
D) Boat racing club
15. Where did the Kane County Teachers Credit Union — now the KCT Credit Union — exist during its first twelve years of operation?
A) Backroom of a hardware store
B) A home
C) A gas station
D) Basement of Elgin High School
Bonus question: During the 1950s, how were many Elgin Christmas trees disposed of after the holidays?
A) Put in a landfill by the Elgin Mental Health Center
B) Burned at Wing Park
C) Ground into mulch by city crews
D) Taken to a farm west of the city
1. C) At The Elgin History museum.
2. B) 49. The Ace Hardware store on North Spring Street in Elgin, which was originally located on East Chicago Street near the Fox River, is still referred to as “Store 49” by Elgin area Ace employees.
3. A) Workers laid out 19 holes. The problem was corrected before opening.
4. C) Was the oldest living Eagle Boy Scout. Yelton even had greeting cards made up noting this.
5. A) Odd techniques for selling used cars. Among his unusual sales techniques after relocating to California, Muntz wore a sideways Napoleon hat and boasted “I buy them retail and sell them wholesale. It’s more fun that way.”
6. B) Boat races. The races were held north of the Kimball Street bridge and south of the area now bordered by I-90.
7. D) “Paul Revere’s Ride.” This was done to boost patriotism at the outset of World War I.
8. A) School name change. Plans by the Board of Education to change the name to Central High School at the same time it was opening Larkin High School drew protests by alumni and students.
9. C) Four. The most recent veteran was discovered by a family genealogist in Batavia in 2003.
10. A) Managed Sherman Hospital. The club operated the hospital from the late 1880s through the mid-1940s.
11. B) Death of a major benefactor. George Lord, who also donated Lords Park to the city, and was a major factor in establishing the museum, died during its construction.
12. D) A football loss. The Chicago Bears lost the NFL Championship to the New York Giants 47-7. This ended the season since there was no Super Bowl yet.
13. C) Area west of the Fox River near the downtown. The “slop” from an old creamery gave the area its name. For many years, the Slop Hill Golf Tournament was well known in the Elgin area.
14. B) A football team. This was a semipro football team in the years following World War II.
15. B) A home. The west side house belonged to W.O. Beckner, an Elgin High School teacher.
Bonus: B) Burned at Wing Park. This was a project of the Elgin Jaycees.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.