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CITY BEAT: DO YOU REMEMBER MILK BEING DELIVERED TO YOUR FRONT DOOR?

Paul Osborne
Editor/Publisher

     This week’s “Scrapbook” on pages 4 and 5 of the print and online editions of the Decatur Tribune is a look back at what I wrote about the history of milkmen in our community.
     I wrote and published the articles about our community’s milkmen about 30 years ago when I was able to interview some of those who had delivered milk to our front doors for years.
Milk being delivered to neighborhoods by horse and milkwagon was before my time, but I have a lot of fond memories of the milkmen who delivered to our front door, especially when we lived in The Elms (the neighborhood between Water and MLK streets).
     I remember the insulated milkbox that was on the front porch where the milkman would put the milk bottles which he delivered to each house on Central Drive.
     Milkmen were almost like trusted members of the family and some of them actually had permission to enter a house early in the morning and put the milk in the customer’s refrigerator.
     It is hard to imagine that happening in today’s world. If a milkman’s job still existed today he would probably risk getting shot if he went inside someone’s house to leave milk!
     Anyhoo, this week’s print and online edition carries the first part of a three-part series on the history of the milkman in Decatur. It will bring back a lot of memories for many of you reading the articles.

     • I MENTIONED “The Elms” in my comments about milk being delivered to the front door of our house.
     That very nice neighborhood that is located just north of Garfield and between North Water and MLK, is where our first house was located that my wife and I bought when we moved to Decatur from Hammond with our two young sons in 1969. Our daughter, Kimberly Kay, was born at DMH when we lived in that house on Central Drive. (Kimberly tragically passed away the following year.)
     We lived in The Elms for a couple of years before moving to a new neighborhood near Mound Road.
     Years later we moved to the southside of Decatur.

Central Dr. in the Elms in photo shot a few days ago.

     We had really good neighbors in The Elms (and in all of the neighborhoods where we have lived) and enjoyed our time there. I had started my publishing business in 1964 and it was while living in the The Elms that I bought this newspaper in 1969.
     Probably once or twice a year, as I’m driving north on Water Street, I will turn right onto South Dr. that goes into The Elms and drive by the house where we once lived on Central Drive, and the brief trip stimulates memories of a different time in my life over a half century ago when two of our three sons were only 5 and 3 years old — and I was also much younger.
I’m always surprised how, all of these decades later, the neighborhood doesn’t look that much different.
     The core area of The Elms is comprised of East Dr., Central Dr. and West Dr. — three north and south streets between the main streets of Water and MLK.
     Considering all of the traffic that flows up and down Water and MLK, the core area of The Elms seems very separated from the hustle and traffic noise that surrounds it.
     It was, and is, a special place to live — filled mostly with older, well-built structures.
The house we lived in looks even better today than when we lived in it over a half century ago, even though it is almost 100 years old!
     The Elms neighborhood is a special one and the memories made when we lived there will always be dear to me.

     • CONGRATULATIONS to the boys basketball teams at MacArthur, Mount Zion and St. Teresa high schools that all won regional championship titles in last Friday night’s title games in their respective IHSA brackets.
     They all moved on to sectional play this week and I wish them the very best.
     Photos of the three teams and their regional championship hardware can be found on pages 10 and 11 of this week’s print and online editions.

     • I WAS walking to the post office one afternoon last week and when I started to walk across Prairie Street at the designated crosswalk, a driver pulled up and stopped her car over the crosswalk (a lot of drivers pull up too far at intersections) blocking me.
     The driver looked at me and mouthed the words “I’m sorry.”
     I just smiled in return and made my way around the side and back of her car.
I actually had a good feeling about what had happened because its rare these days when someone driving a car apologizes for the way they drive or stop at an intersection.
Apology accepted.

     • NO RELIEF! — According to “Wirepoints”, an independent, nonpartisan research organization: “Property taxes are perhaps the single most painful part of living in Illinois. Residents pay the nation’s 2nd-highest tax rate and have done so for years. The 2025 budget marks the fourth year in a row the governor has failed to deliver on his 2020 promise of property tax relief.
     “The pain Illinoisans feel at the pump is real. Residents pay the 2nd-highest gas prices east of the Rocky Mountains, yet the 2025 budget delivers no gas tax relief. Gov. Pritzker and the legislature doubled the state motor fuel tax hike in 2019 and the tax now goes up automatically with inflation.”
     Does the phrase “Taxation without Representation” cross your mind?

     • I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 to discuss what’s happening in our community, including elections.

     • YOU CAN read more items in  the City Beat, Viewpoints and a lot of other stories of interest by subscribing to the Decatur Tribune weekly print or online newspaper.  (Many readers subscribe to both.)

     You can subscribe at the “subscribe” heading at the top of this website’s home page and start receiving the Decatur Tribune each week in your mailbox, or inbox.

     

 

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