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Friday, August 14, 2020

Kate's Brief History


Naperville 1920 Flashback: Going to the Pictures

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The Masons built their new lodge in 1916 and outfitted the second floor for their own use while renting out the first floor. On the street-side were a couple of shops, but an entrance corridor led to the back of the building and the Grand Theatre.  


The Grand opened in 1917 and boasted 350 seats. It paid the city of Naperville an annual license fee to operate, which according to council minutes, started at $15 per year and went up to $60 per year by 1928. 

While it’s unclear whether there was an organ or piano in the theatre, there probably wasn’t a sound system, at least for most of the Grand’s existence. “Talkies” were being made, but were not commercially available until 1923, and even then, they didn’t really catch on until 1927. Instead, folks would come into town to watch “one-reeler” comedies and cartoons or short silent feature films like “When the Clouds Roll By.” 

The Grand operated from 1917 until 1931 when it closed down, perhaps due to the aftermath of 1929’s crash. In 1935, however, the space was enlarged by incorporating the street-side shops and updated to seat 480 patrons. Outside, it was dressed up with a fancy sign and marquee and renamed the Naper Theatre.

Naperville 1920 Flashback: Buying and Washing Clothes

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Flapper dresses and wild spending are the stereotypes, but in 1920, hemlines were still fairly long and “The High Cost of Living” was a major campaign issue. Prices were expected to fall after the war ended, but because of inflation, labor costs and continued scarcity, they stayed high  and peaked in 1920, the highest Cost of Living ever recorded. 

But folks were also weary of war deprivations and ready to spend their war bond investments. The Naperville Clarion complained that “There probably never was such a wild orgy of buying as at the present moment.” 

One favorite expense was to invest in an electric washing machine to lighten the load for women. If you look at the ad for the Crystal Washer, which was made by Mallory Industries, you can see the Mallory logo between the washer’s legs. The image depicts a man lifting a bundle of clothes off the back of a kneeling woman. Make of that what you will.

In these early electric washer/wringers, the motor automatically agitated clothes in the washer. But then you needed to wring out the wash water, put the damp clothes in a basket, empty the washer, refill with clean water, and run the electric agitator again to rinse out the soap. If you were washing whites, you might have bluing rinse as well. One more wringing later, you were finally ready to hang your clothes in the yard to dry before ironing and folding. So much easier!

This ad for a Crystal Washer and Wringer is from the Naperville Clarion newspaper for Hillegas Hardware. Hillegas and Reich opened a hardware store in downtown Naperville in 1882 in the building where Frankie’s Blue Room and Features Bar and Grill is today. Apparently before the year ended the store became
Rassweiler Hardware, but the January advertisement is definitely still identifying it as Hillegas Hardware, the place you can buy your wife a Crystal washing machine.

Naperville 1920 Flashback: Cornerstone Day

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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

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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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