The Way We Were

20 Years Ago

1998 – An evening house fire in Vernon claimed the lives of Elzy and Pauline Gehrken.
Brownstown Superintendent of Schools Jeanne Jones reported that the district needed to take on a construction project to ease overcrowding at the elementary school. The district filed an application for state funds to help with the project.
The Vandalia City Council approved an ordinance allowing for massage therapy and tanning parlors in the city.
Vandalia Correctional Center officials announced that Dietary Manager W.O. Johnson had been nominated for the Illinois Department of Corrections’ Volunteer of the Year Award.
Alta Rush, a native of the Brownstown and St. James area currently living in Florida, was celebrating her 95th birthday.
Fayette County Habitat for Humanity announced that the Rick and Tammy Fenton family had been chosen for Habitat’s third home.
25 Years Ago

1993 – The Vandalia City Council approved a 3-percent pay increase for city employees not covered by unions.
The field of candidates for the position of chief of police in Vandalia was narrowed from 32 to seven by city officials.
Members of the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce enjoyed lunch at Vandalia Correctional Center and were then led on a tour of the prison grounds by Warden Mike Baker.
Denise Carson was valedictorian at Brownstown High School, and Wendy Harre was salutatorian.
Tina Salmons was valedictorian at St. Elmo High School, and her twin sister, Gina, was salutatorian.
City and chamber officials, along with other Vandalia residents, began to campaign for a super-maximum security prison that Illinois Department of Corrections was planning to build.
Roy Pulver, the retired supervisor of assessments in Clinton County, agreed to serve as Fayette County’s supervisor of assessments on a temporary, part-time basis.
The number of Fayette County precincts was lowered from 34 to 32, and all precincts were renumbered.
Rick Moss, whose basketball teams at Vandalia in the late 1970s and early 1980s posted a combined 91-25 record, was hired as the basketball coach at Centralia. He was moving to Centralia from Iowa, where he had been an assistant basketball coach at the University of Iowa for five years.
Plans were announced for an educational addition to Parkview Free Methodist Church on West Jefferson Street in Vandalia.
30 Years Ago

1988 – Terry Branham of St. Elmo, a Fayette County Jail prisoner who escaped while a patient at Fayette County Hospital, was captured at a home in Quincy and returned to Vandalia.
Fire destroyed the home of the John Thompson Jr. family.
Cuppy’s Pharmacy in downtown Vandalia installed an old soda fountain and display area on the east side of its store.
Fayette County Republicans picked Chief Deputy Dan Taylor to represent the party in the sheriff’s election in November.
First National Bank of Brownstown celebrated its 75th anniversary.
40 Years Ago

1978 – All members of the Fayette County Housing Authority resigned.
Thomas Force of Vandalia earned a medical degree at Harvard University.
Debbie Nichols was awarded honors at VCHS for music achievements
Mr. and Mrs. John Leckrone were the buyers of the house built by the building trades class at the Okaw Area Vocational Center.
Terri Bergman of Loogootee and Shelly Magnus of St. Peter were among a group of out-standing high school students touring Washington, D.C.
50 Years Ago

1968 – Dale Slater, Vandalia chief of police and American Legion District 23 commander, was in charge of Legion convention activities in Vandalia. Joe Janes was district adjutant. The activities included a mile-long parade.
Sesquicentennial events included a parade for children.
Bishop Lance Webb conducted dedication ceremonies for the fellowship hall and chapel at First United Methodist Church in Vandalia.
The Vandalia Lions Club paid tribute to Dr. Mark Greer for his many years of faithful medical service to the community.
The newly organized Fayette County Mosquito Abatement District was unable to operate due to lack of funds.
Chip Higgins retired from the Vandalia Volunteer Fire Department after 38 years as a member and 34 years as fire chief.
Memento Rebekah Lodge celebrated its 75th anniversary.
60 Years Ago

1958 – Larry Mabry of Vandalia received a bachelor’s degree from Millikin University in Decatur.
St. Elmo honored Dr. H.O. Lewis for 50 years as a practicing physician.
A photo taken by Joan Kielyan placed second in an Eastman Kodak contest held for high school students. Her prize was $200.
Bobby Dowell and Richard Powell of Brownstown left Monday for St. Louis for examination and induction into the U.S. Navy.

1948 – The Vandalia School Board purchased an Army barracks for a high school shop class.
Between 50 and 60 local youths signed up for summer recreational programs offered by the Vandalia Park District. Thurlow Bannister was the park director.
Ruth Partillar was honored for having never been tardy or absent the entire time she attended Vandalia schools.

1938 – Thousands watched the parade pageant that vivified the pioneer trail and formation of the Northwest Territory.
The price of oil royalties soared as explorations moved south across the east side of Fayette County.
Oscar Williams showed off a toadstool that weighed 5 pounds and measured 31 inches by 36 inches.
St. Louis Diary, with Roy C. Emerick the contractor in charge, began the erection of an addition to the existing plant.
The oil wave swept into Otego and Wheatland townships.


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