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Barry Schrader


I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website each week and be added to the archives.

The Articles started December 2007.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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Unfinished business left for 2011

By Barry Schrader.................................January 4, 2011

In the year-end issue of The MidWeek, Editor Bill Braksick quoted me accurately as saying, “I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’m still looking for the greatest story out of DeKalb County to ever unfold. I’m sure it’s out there somewhere.”
The quote reminds me of stories not yet written that need readers’ help or a little more research on my part. I am fascinated by the not-so-ordinary and the unsung heroes in our midst.
I made a new friend recently in Don Schoo, the World War II Army hero who has so much to share, and I intend to make him a priority for an oral history taping in 2011. There are other tapings that didn’t get done in 2010, and now it’s time to make those appointments and follow through. So, for starters, Al Golden, Joan Hardekopf and Ron Klein are on notice I will be calling them.

The former coffee business at Second Street and Lincoln Highway in DeKalb in 2006 during the Corn Boil, but its history remains a mystery. (Barry Schrader photo)

There is the mystery of the history of the coffee shack and popcorn stand at the corner of Lincoln Highway and North Second Street in DeKalb I have not yet researched. When I first returned to Illinois in 2006, I photographed the little business but neglected to ask the names of the two men in the photo. Will some reader be able to fill in the blanks?
It is always rewarding to find people from the past who moved on and for years remained out of reach. I found a couple of them and hope to interview them in this new year.
One is the former pastor for the Wesley Foundation at Northern Illinois University, whose name is Ron Russell. Another one is Brent Musburger, who began his journalism career at the Daily Chronicle way back in the 1960s and is now a household name to many sports fans.
Asked at a book signing what was my favorite column topic over the past three years, I didn’t hesitate to exclaim “Old Charley the heroic horse from the Civil War.” That story came from a tip by my good friend Ivan Williams, and it took me more than a year to pursue it. Now I hope some historical group will replace the faded plaque at the Wesson farm south of Waterman so more generations of Civil War buffs can pay homage to Old Charley.
By the way, this year is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and there is a group of historians from Lee collecting the history of all the Civil War veterans from around the state. Maybe that will be published in the coming year. Another major historical work on the life of Abraham Lincoln and those from Illinois who were his greatest influences is being written by author Bruce Ladd, an NIU alum and former Northern Star staffer. I look forward to reading that tome when it is finally released.
So I have all my New Year’s resolutions on my desktop and won’t need to look for things to keep me occupied in the coming months.
Oh, I forgot to mention a resolution left over from last year and the year before: Losing weight. Well, there’s always next year.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115