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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Kate's Brief History


Naperville 1920 Flashback: Cornerstone Day

Kate Gingold Host 0 9 Article rating: No rating
Naperville’s North Central College has not always been called North Central nor has it always been in Naperville. The Evangelical Association of America founded Plainfield College in 1861 with the idea of “uniting a liberal arts education with religious teaching”* and offered a coeducational program from the very beginning. By 1864, the school’s name was changed from Plainfield to North-Western College in the hopes of attracting a more regional student body.

After weathering the Civil War, the college’s administration considered further plans for growth. The college was located right downtown, near modern-day Route 59, but Plainfield was not then reachable by railroad and the administrators concluded they would do better in a railroad town.

After much research into various nearby towns and several deal-making discussions, North-Western College decided on Naperville which offered both land and money towards a new building. The cornerstone for Old Main was laid on May 17, 1870, and with extensive work, was completed in time for dedication by October 4 and the fall semester.

Cornerstone Day was especially celebratory in May of 1920 when the school celebrated the 50th anniversary of its move to Naperville. A few years later in 1926, the college’s name was changed once more, this time to “North Central” in order to avoid confusion with some college located in Evanston.

NCC continues to flourish, adding new buildings to the campus and new educational opportunities to the curriculum. For years, the college welcomed the entire community to a Cornerstone Day picnic in May, but the event was replaced with an awards reception in 2019 and then retired entirely. Even though no celebration was planned for 2020 and COVID-19 would have cancelled it anyhow, this year is a particularly special anniversary, so Happy 150th Cornerstone Day Anniversary, North Central College!

*A Time for Remembrance: History of 125 years of First Evangelical United Brethren Church, Naperville, Illinois

Naperville 1920 Flashback: The Kroehler Co. Baseball Team

Kate Gingold Host 0 32 Article rating: No rating
In May of 1920, Kroehler Manufacturing put together a baseball team for the Fox Valley Industrial League. The team reads like a “Who’s Who” of Naperville history including:

F.J. Wehrli – lived in the Pre-Emption house and raised 13 children there
Robert Shimp – his family had a local farm and some served in the fire department
Clarence and Albert Stenger – of the brewery family
Louis Germann – his family started with a harness business in the 1890s
Fred Yanke – Naperville firefighter
Henry Stoner – family started blacksmith shop in 1870s
James and Clarence Kroehler – nephews of Peter
Joe Haas – his brother Bert became a pro ball player
Ernest and William Voss – brother Julian ran for Police Magistrate
Elmer Otterpohl – the family had a butcher shop and sausage business
Leo Koppa – served in the fire department
Clarence and Frank Barley – Clarence was involved in building the YMCA
Fred Shupp, Ray Ballman and Jeff Burke are also listed. They were all Kroehler employees, but kept lower profiles, apparently, since there wasn't much to be found about them. Many of these men also served in World War I.

Peter Kroehler was wildly successful, but the company also weathered quite a few storms. Some storms were literal – like the 1913 tornado that destroyed the first 5th Avenue factory – and some were more figurative such as the Great Depression. Kroehler himself spent two months in the early 1900s quarantined with smallpox. But he continued developing new ways to run his business and build employee morale which resulted in enviable success and loyalty.

100 years later, our own businesses in these opening months of 2020 are facing both figurative storms and quarantine. Now it’s our turn to develop new ways to run our businesses and build employee morale so we can also be wildly successful.

By the way, the newly-formed Kroehler team faced the previous year's pennant winners for their very first game. You'll be happy to know that the Kroehler team won!

Naperville 1920 Flashback: Big Fires Start the Year

Kate Gingold Host 0 41 Article rating: No rating

Fire activity doubled in 1920 with three big fires occurring in the first three months. While the city normally faced maybe 10-12 fire events a year, there were 20 fires in this start to the new decade.  

At the time, fire department boasted one motorized chemical engine and the “Joe Naper” hand pumper in addition to the traditional bucket brigades. Naperville’s fire department was established in 1874 when there was no city-wide electricity or water and sewer system and not even a street numbering system for addresses.

These improvements, however, were in place by the early 1900s. The city also purchased a 1916 International Chemical Engine, the first that wasn’t powered by a team of horses. The chemicals in the Chemical Engine were a soda-acid combination that helped propel water onto a fire.

According to records, most of the fires that year were related to chimneys, perhaps due to an exceptionally cold winter, but of note were three major fires. The main infirmary at the Edward Tuberculosis Sanitarium burned in February, which was listed in the log as due to crossed wires. Personnel tried to save the recently-installed x-ray machine, but unfortunately they couldn’t drag it far enough away from the falling debris. In early March, there was a fire in a factory on the Hunt Estate and a second fire mid-month at the Judge Goodwin mansion known as Heatherton.

While these three fires caused a total of $1.75 million worth of damages, no lives were lost – at least not in the fires. Judge Goodwin died in Chicago on the same night that his home burned down and there has been plenty of speculation about that coincidence.  A Fire and Water Engineering book from that year says the fire is “believed to be incendiary.” One rumor suggests that the Judge’s servant was instructed to destroy Mrs. Goodwin’s inheritance once she was widowed. The Heatherton property was eventually purchased by North Central College with financial assistance from Peter Kroehler and is currently home to the fieldhouse.


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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Don and Kate Gingold


Kate and husband Don have been building websites since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

As the Internet has evolved, producing books and marketing them has become much more complicated. Whether traditionally-published or self-published, authors today need to know their way around websites, blogging, social media and other online marketing tools.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs, small- to medium-business owners and not-for-profit directors. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Frequently Kate also writes about tips specific to authors, some of which are available here.

Just-for-Authors Website

Author Website

There are so many website options out there today. You can spend $10,000 or build one for free. And it's tough for most folks to figure out how much website they really need. 

Sprocket Websites put together an website package that provides a custom solution for an author's specific needs. We know what's important to successful book marketing so we made it easy to upload book images, summaries, reviews and of course, sales links. There's a calendar and a blog tool as well.

Check out all the details and you'll see why this is the perfect website for author success.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.


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