Fox Station in 1875
Kendall County Record, May 27, 1875
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
Thursday afternoon, Yorkville being quiet, we took a drive down to the new village of Fox to pick up an item or two. It is a pleasant road down that way and should form a nice suburban retreat to parties who want a place to stop after a short ride.
We passed out of Yorkville by way of the beautiful street on which some of our best citizens reside. The way is by some of the old farmhouses, which have stood for years as pioneers in the settlement of the county. Notably the old Bristol residence, which is covered with, shingles from the foundation to peak on the farm now owned by Mr. Jacob P. Black.
Mr. Bailey has a neat farm and convenient buildings. John Crum's, the Norton Harris farm and the large comfortable looking residence of West Matlock, Esq., which looks out upon as beautiful a tract of country as the Lord ever made, all show evidence of good culture and successful tillage.
The residence of Mr. J. F. Pope attracts attention at once from being on an abrupt rise of ground and from the neat appearance of the yard and house. The old school house that has stood the storms of a quarter of a century is no more. The building has been moved and the foundation razed. The plow and drag have made its site common with the rest of the field. The farms of the Aments and Walter Beane lie on either hand but the dwellings are far from the road.
The first thing we reach as we enter the village of Fox is the new schoolhouse. It is a handsome structure for a district school and an honor to the directors who built it. School was in session with Miss Bingham of Newark, as the teacher. The next object of attention is the old school house, which has just been moved into the town for a residence. A number of men were at work getting it up on blocks. Opposite this is the huge old cider mill sadly dilapidated. As the day is hot, the sun brings out an odor from the decayed pumice that is not as sweet as the perfumes from Arabia. But this will be removed and fixed up.
Our objective point was the store of Diver & Watkins. Tying up we were soon in the emporium looking over the goods and feeling the prices. These gentlemen bought lots and put up their store building with the intention of staying at Fox and building up a trade. The stock is new and fresh, expenses light, and consequently prices are low. They keep the merchandise usually found in a country store and the display of dry goods, hats and caps, shoes, boots, groceries, etc., is fully up to the demands of the trade. In the line of "white goods," these gentlemen have a fine selection of laces, insertions, edgings, handkerchiefs, soft cambric's (a fine white linen fabric,) etc., direct from the importers in Philadelphia. No lady can see these goods without desiring to purchase. They also have a nice stock of ready-made shirts, linen, cotton, woolen, and collars both linen and paper.
Both are young men of enterprise, and if Fox doesn't grow and trade increase it won't be Charley Diver's fault. He is a most enthusiastic admirer of his location and an accomplished salesman. Mr. Watkins, "Lem", represents the dignity of the firm and carries on the garden. He has made many improvements about the store grounds. We judge he would make an excellent companion, for life, for some estimable young lady.
West from the store, now enclosed, is the new residence being built for Mr. and Mrs. Frank Brown. It is going to be one of the finest dwellings in the county. The estimated cost is $4,000, but if $5,000 are not expended on it before it is completed, we shall miss our guess. It is three stories high, with large high cellar or basement and forms a pile that can be seem from a long distance. The cellar wall to Mr. Brown's new house is very nicely laid. Paul Dearborn and Charley Eldred of Bristol did it. The house is handsomely situated on Mrs. Brown's farm (formerly Phoebe Pope.) Mr. Gillespie, of Fox, is the builder. He has Cy Inscho and Chet Ament working with him. The same gentleman is building the fine addition to Joseph N. Harris' home in the edge of Long Grove, which is a very conspicuous point as you drive to Fox.
Mr. Addis runs the elevator and lumberyard here. He has just put up a blacksmith shop, which will soon be occupied. We also heard that William VanCleve talks of putting up a large residence near the station.
Talking of the station, Henry Smith, "Hank", is the railroad agent here and is much tired. He is getting fat and saucy. He doesn't play baseball on Sunday, as we hear some young men from Yorkville do when they visit Fox on the Lord's day. Henry is getting to be a first class operator.
Ny LaSuer was at the elevator engaged in fitting up windows for Mr. Harris' house.
After a pleasant visit of two hours we took our way homeward. We gladly drove toward the Courthouse cupola, which looms grandly on the river road. We felt as we rode along that Kendall County, in all its townships, is the garden spot of Illinois.