View of the Past: Inside of a saloon in 1890’s O’Fallon

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

This week’s view is of the inside of a saloon in 1890’s O’Fallon.  While it’s unclear which one, it’s certainly typical of the era.  Back then, O’Fallon was still a village, not yet a city, with a population of 1100 and a bit of a western, rough edged flavor.

View of the Past: Santa Claus arriving at Southview Plaza Shopping Center in 1966

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

In the holiday spirit, this week’s view features Santa Claus arriving at Southview Plaza Shopping Center in O’Fallon on Nov. 25, 1966.  Not by a sleigh pulled by reindeer but by a KMOX Radio helicopter.  Sponsored by the shopping center businesses, Santa’s Southview headquarters was in Feickert’s Bakery.  Children could visit him each Saturday from 1 – 5 p.m. after his arrival and daily from 5 – 8 p.m. starting Dec. 12.  Feickert’s was three stores south of Plaza Drug in what later became the House of Hunan.

View of the Past: The O’Fallon Memorial Swimming Pool in 1966

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

Longing for the warmth of summer about now?  This week’s view is of the O’Fallon Memorial Swimming Pool in Community Park in 1966.  The pool was built with funds raised by the annual O’Fallon Homecoming and Fall Festivals.  Ground was broken on Sept. 27, 1958 with dedication ceremonies taking place on May 30, 1959.  The pool was dedicated “to the memory of those who fell in the service of our country.”

View of the Past: The old Marie Schaefer Junior High building in 1992

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

This week’s view is of the old Marie Schaefer Junior High building that once stood at Route 50 and Cherry Street in O’Fallon.  The school was built in 1925 and was home to O’Fallon Township High School from the fall of that year through the graduation of the Class of 1958.  After that, the high school moved to a new building at Smiley and Route 50 (the present day Smiley campus) and the old building was sold to O’Fallon District 90.  The photo was taken just before the school was torn down in 1992.  The view is from Cherry Street, looking southwest.  The south edge of the Marie Schaefer School gym, still standing, can be seen on the right.  The entrance in the middle was actually the back entrance.  But it was the one everyone actually used since the front entrance had been bricked up years earlier.  

View of the Past: The O’Fallon Locker Co. on East State Street

O’Fallon Locker (Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

 This week’s view is of the O’Fallon Locker Co. which once occupied the Opera House building at 220 E. State Street. The Locker, founded by Wilbert Tschudy and Lynn Cunningham in 1945, opened 5 years after the theater that previously operated in the building closed. The firm offered local residents the opportunity to rent refrigerated lockers for storing frozen foods. In 1947, they had 656 lockers of varying sizes available or in use. They also provided butchering services which were conducted in the rear of the building. In 1981 they added a butcher shop where you could buy a variety of fresh meats. The photo was taken in January 1984, shortly before the O’Fallon Locker closed. 

View of the Past: Old Stove Foundry on East State Street in 1941

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

This week’s view is a rather spooky one of the old stove foundry that once stood off of Betty Lane, just south across the railroad tracks from the O’Fallon Township building on East State Street.  The photo was probably taken in 1941 at about the time the property was purchased by Independent Engineering Co.  The foundry was established in 1896 by William G. Willard and turned out cooking stoves and, in later years, heaters.  Originally known as the Willard Steel Range Co., it later operated as Eureka Steel Range Co. and then Eureka Products Corp.  The Depression hit the company hard and it ended up liquidating in 1941.  The photo was taken in front of the wooden bridge leading to the foundry, looking south.  The building on the right was the Willard home.  The smokestack actually belonged to the foundry, even though it looks like it’s coming out of the house.

View of the Past: Welcome Home Celebration for World War I veterans in downtown O’Fallon

This week’s view was taken in O’Fallon in 1919, looking north up Lincoln Avenue from First Street.  The downtown area was all decked out for the welcome home celebration for World War I veterans held on Labor Day, Sept. 1, of that year.  Professional decorators from St. Louis were even brought in to make sure things looked just right.  Featured were two parades, plenty of food, music, dancing, movies and vaudeville acts with over 100 veterans as guests of honor.  7,000 others joined them in what was the biggest celebration ever in O’Fallon up to that time.    

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

View of the Past: The O’Fallon Public School on the corner of Third and Lincoln in the late 1800’s

This week’s view, from the late 1800’s, is of the O’Fallon Public School which once stood just east of the northeast corner of Third and Lincoln, facing Third Street.  Built in 1861, it was originally a two-room, two-story school house.  The first floor was used for classes and the second floor for lodge meetings and even church services.  Two more rooms were added in 1875 to accommodate more pupils.  A nearby shallow pond was a particular attraction for students who liked to skate on it during the winter.  The building was sold in 1902 after a new school was built on West Fifth Street and by 1918 it was torn down.  

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

View of the Past: The raising of the Army-Navy “E” flag in 1943

This week’s view shows the raising of the Army-Navy “E” flag, presented to Independent Engineering Company for excellence in the production of war equipment.  The presentation was made on Oct. 14, 1943 by Col. Malcolm Elliott in front of a crowd of about 2,000 who had assembled on the factory grounds. The company pioneered the development and manufacture of portable oxygen generators for military use during World War II.  The generators helped avoid the costly shipping back and forth of gas cylinders by bringing oxygen generation capability closer to the various battle fronts.  Independent received the award three more times on April 8, 1944, Oct. 21, 1944 and May 12, 1945.  The company, its buildings now gone, was located off of what is now Betty Lane in O’Fallon. 

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

View of the Past: Delivery truck of Schaefer & Schlinger Dry Goods & Groceries

This week’s view features the delivery truck of Schaefer & Schlinger Dry Goods & Groceries that once operated at 129 E. State Street in O’Fallon.  Charles Schaefer and Arthur Schlinger bought the store from Henry E. Tiedemann in February 1916.  Their partnership didn’t last long, though.  They both retired from the business at the end of 1918 and went their separate ways.  Arthur became a shipping clerk at Eureka Steel Range Company in O’Fallon and later at Johnson Industries in St. Louis.  Charles became a painter.  One of his daughters was a teacher and had a school named after her — Marie Schaefer.  

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

View of the Past: Cadet V.M. Andrews lands in a tree at Scott Field in 1918

Airplane mishaps were fairly common in the early days at Scott Field, present day Scott Air Force Base.  In 1918, Cadet V. M. Andrews was flying solo when the motor stopped cold.  Turning into a glider, the plane overshot a small field and headed for trees.  He tried to go over them but instead made this snug landing right into the branches of a tree, not far from the ground. He jumped out of the plane unhurt.  When not flying, Cadet Andrews was the circulation manager for Scott Field’s first newspaper, The Aerofoil.

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

View of the Past: Henry C. Poignee’s Band

This week’s view is of Henry C. Poignee’s Band which was a popular fixture in early 20th century O’Fallon.  Poignee, standing fourth from left with a baton, is with the band in front of Joseph Taylor’s Opera House, 220 E. State, not long after it was built in 1908.  A member of O’Fallon High School’s first graduating class in 1903, he directed the band for a number of years.  Poignee was head auditor for Tiedemann Milling Company until 1929 when he became chief deputy for the St. Clair County Circuit Clerk, a position he held until his death in 1935 at age 50.

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

View of the Past: What was left of the L. Allen & Sons department store after the devastating fire of May 23, 1953

(Submitted Photo)

This week’s view shows what was left of the L. Allen & Sons department store after the devastating fire of May 23, 1953 that destroyed the east half of the 100 block of West First Street in O’Fallon.  The fire, believed to have been started by burning rubbish, consumed the Shamrock Hotel and Taproom, Gene Brown’s barbershop, the Central Bowling Alleys and Allen’s store.  Interestingly, part of the brick walls shown still standing in the photo were incorporated into the new building (still there today) that replaced the store, giving it the same footprint as the old. The east wall of today’s Wood Bakery stands up against the right wall in the photo.  

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

View of the Past: Taken from the Lincoln Avenue railroad crossing, looking south toward First Street

(Submitted Photo)

This week’s view was taken from the Lincoln Avenue railroad crossing in O’Fallon, looking south toward First Street, ca. 1962.  On the left corner was Pitt’s Tavern.  On the right was Bittles Drug Store followed by Causey’s Jewelry and Western Auto.  For those who remember phone booths, you can see one along the curb on the left.

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)

View of the Past: The old Central Hotel and Saloon

(Photo submitted by Brian Keller)

This week’s view takes us back to 1890’s O’Fallon.  The scene is in the old Central Hotel and Saloon which once stood on the corner of South Lincoln and West First, where Steven Mueller Florist is today.  Back in those days, O’Fallon had several hotels and no shortage of saloons in the downtown area.  The Central Hotel building was destroyed by fire in 1953.

(Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society)