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Barry Schrader


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

The Articles started December 2007.


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It’s a small world, isn’t it?

By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist...................Aug 13, 2013

Note to readers: Barry Schrader’s “DeKalb County Life” column will appear every other Tuesday.

Sitting outside at the Northern Illinois Steam Show and Threshing Bee over the weekend I began my column longhand as the noon toot of all the steam engines let loose which gives one a chill up the spine.

It is always a stroll back in time to go out there and reminisce among the sights, sounds, and smells of a bygone era. I met a man named John Ross from Hebron, Indiana who has been at the show for 38 years now he said. His father and uncle used to run the sawmill that the show operators now own. Ross learned to operate the equipment when just a

John Ross has been running his father’s saw mill during the Steam Power Show for 38 years and still enjoys it. (Schrader photo)

boy at home in Indiana, which reminds me of The Waltons TV series where John Walton ran a saw mill with the help of his sons. Anyway, Ross’s father Harry and uncle Marshall owned the mill from 1917 until 1962. Fortunately it didn’t end up in the scrap heap and is now an integral part of the show each year.

I always run into people I have not seen for decades at the Steam Power Club’s show, but here’s something even more surprising that occurred 2,000 miles away at Yosemite National Park on our annual June pilgrimage to California. There are now 4 million visitors to Yosemite each year, so what are the chances…

We checked into a cabin at Curry Village on the valley floor. I wanted to ask the manager at the front desk about a change in our reservation and when she came out of her office she said “DeKalb, Illinois?” I knew it had something to do with the DeKalb Ag winged ear logo cap I was wearing, but she had more to say. It seems she lived in St. Charles earlier in her life and her cousin Luke Howieson is with the DeKalb Fire Department. Her brother is also a firefighter, but now in Rockford. So Sarah Butler is now a friend and I plan to look her up every summer we go there. She has worked at Yosemite seven years and in the winter transfers to the Ahwanee Hotel since the cabins are left dormant in the cold weather.

Another coincidence happened more than 20 years ago there when we stopped at the Ahwanee for lunch. At the front desk was Jim Nash who had been our son Darrin’s art teacher in middle school. And to stretch this further, the head of public relations at Yosemite Park & Curry Company 30 years ago was a DeKalb native Fred Dickey who had also been a journalism major at Northern and is a lifelong friend in the newspaper business out west. He now writes for the Los Angeles Times.

I want to add comments from two readers who proved I did not look hard enough for the number of Genoas in the country for my column two weeks ago. Genoa attorney Jim O’Grady once researched the same topic during the city’s 150th anniversary and found no less than 15, in the following states—Colorado, North Dakota, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Texas (but absorbed by Houston), Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Arkansas. He even has the maps to prove it. Former Genoa resident and now a San Franciscan Bob Skinner had located six of those mentioned above and even added that there is an interesting fish hatchery at the one in Wisconsin. I am always pleased with feedback, even when it is correcting me or adding new information. Now maybe someone will start a search overseas to see how many more there are!

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115