The History of Oglesby, LaSalle County, IL

Transcribed by Nancy Piper


The City of Oglesby, whose rapid development has made it a component of the three cities - La Salle, Peru and Oglesby - was incorporated on August 5, 1913. By the census of 1920 it had a population of 4,135.

On the 18th of February, 1919, the city adopted the commission form of government and within a year reduced the city tax from $2.50 to $1.55 per $100,000 assessed valuation; lowered annual payroll from $14,180 to $7,336.40, without a reduction of salaries or a diminution of efficiency; converted a water and light deficit into a balance of $4,316.56; "placed both departments upon a permanent basis" and paid $10,000 of the unpaid bills left over from the previous administration leaves no room to question its superiority in point of efficiency and economy.

On May 1, 1919, when the new system became effective, the city's deficit amounted to $14,595.68; in 1920, after one year of commission management, it was $4,684.16; in 1921 there was a balance of $1,637.12; in 1922 a balance of $9,356.68 and in 1923, after four years of commission government, the balance was $18,600. During these four experimental years, as they may be regarded, the city was "placed upon a business-like basis, with a budget system for each department; the city tax rate was reduced, and, without reducing salaries or lowering efficiency, the pay roll was cut in half by the elimination of supernumeraries.

A deficit of $14,595.68 in city funds was changed into a balance of $18,600, making the city really $33,195.68 better of than it was four years ago. More than a mile of sewers were put in, at a cost of $10,000; $7,500 were spent for cement and sidewalks; a new road and bridge provided "a safe and convenient outlet from Columbia Avenue north to the Deer Park Road." In 1923 the city council - mayor and commissioners - comprised Hugh McCann, mayor and head of the department of public affairs; S. A. Kidd, department of accounts and finances; N. M. Mason, department of public health and safety; William Lindsay, department of streets and public improvements; John Richardson, department of public property.

A rather unique building is designed to take care of the Oglesby Postoffice, the city hall and the public library. The lower floor will contain quarters for the postoffice and city hall and the entire upper floor is to be used for library purposes. Having these three departments under one roof, with one heating unit and janitor service, will not only make it more convenient for the public, but it can also be more easily and efficiently maintained.

The city has also purchased five acres of ground in the heart of the city to be used as a site for a community swimming pool and a public playground. This plot of ground, with Memorial Park, which the city took over two years ago, will at least partly take care of the recreational needs of the young people of the community.

[Source: History of La Salle County, Illinois. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1924.]


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