Plano Business Directory in 1856
Published in the Kendall County Journal, December 4, 1856
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
A little over three years ago in place of our young and flourishing village, might have been seen a vast field of ripening corn stretching forth to the westward, and on the east a thick forest. What a change has passed over the scene. The shrill whistle of the locomotive has aroused the latent energies of industry. A young city has sprung into existence, as it were in the twinkling of an eye. Everything bears the stamp of progress and improvement, and tells of its future greatness. Instead of the lowing herds may now be heard the busy hum of industry. The ring of the blacksmith's anvil, the click of the mason's trowel and the carpenter's hammer has hushed the music of the birds. The lofty monarchs of the forest have disappeared to make room for churches, schoolhouses, workshops, stores and dwellings.
Three years ago the town was laid out, the depot grounds were selected and they immediately commenced putting up their passenger and freight house. Private individuals commenced other improvements, and the town has steadily improved until it has grown to its present dimensions. The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad runs directly through Plano. This brings the town in direct railroad communication with Chicago, Cincinnati and the Atlantic cities. We are also connected on the west with Burlington, Quincy and other important points north and south on the Mississippi. The Chicago, Amboy & Upper Mississippi Railroad, if built, which we believe will be in the course of two or three years, will pass through the place.
We will give a brief summary of the different branches of trade now carried on in our midst.
Among our dry goods and grocery merchants we have Foster & Ludington, D. H. Eldridge & Co., H. E. Bullock, A. Westgate, and J. S. McDowell, each doing a large and extensive business.
We have two good hotels, the Barber Hotel, kept by John C. Barber and the Plano House by, J. D. Clark.
Our friend H. J. Canniff is doing a very good business in the drug and bookstore.
Henning & Doty are engaged in the hardware and tin shop business.
We have two good harness shops, one owned by G. Thetgay and the other by J. Humes.
J. H. Steward and James Haley each have boot and shoe shops. Both are superior workmen.
Among our lumber merchants we mention the names of Latham & Henning and J. Cass whom we recommend as honorable dealers.
E. Williams & Co. are engaged in building and repairing wagons and carriages. We think another shop would pay well.
Willett & Chittenden, and Mr. Williams have blacksmith shops. We know them to be good mechanics.
Henning & Doty keep a full supply of all articles in the furniture line.
T. Gardner and Mr. Betz are experienced tailors and can make as good a garment and neat a "fit" as any can desire.
Sackett & Eldridge will accommodate the "Bucks and Bloods" of Plano and all others who may desire, with fast horses and good carriages.
S. A. Tomblin, H. R. Henning, L. Steward and G. D. Henning will purchase the grain of farmers and give them the highest market price.
We have one flouring mill and one sawmill now in operation. Steward & Son, who are well deserving of the public patronage, own them. We are happy to seem them enjoying so large a share.
Mrs. H. Doty can supply our lady friends with all kinds of fashionable millinery goods.
Nothing speaks more favorably of the healthfulness of the place than the fact that only one doctor is sustained here, Dr. H. J. Canniff. He is obliged to resort, in part, to other business for a livelihood.
Last, but not least, we have an excellent barbershop, where all that desire may be accommodated with a shave.
The Kendall County Journal has been started within the past two weeks. The formidable array of subscribers already received, warrants us in saying it will become one of the permanent institutions of Plano.
Future plans include a large grain warehouse to be built by Henning and Steward. Latham and Doty plan on erecting a steam sash factory and planing mill. Mr. H. B. Henning will put up next season a large three story brick block, which will be ready for occupancy by fall. A first class mammoth hotel will probably be erected. A number of private residences, stores and shops will be built.
If we are permitted to judge the future by the past, we have reason to believe that Plano will soon become one of the most important points for trade in this section of the country. Is there a town within the limits of Kendall County that has grown so rapidly or has such a glorious promise for the future? Situated as it will be at the crossing of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and Chicago, Amboy & Upper Mississippi Railroads, and taking into consideration the beauty and healthfulness of its location, it cannot go unnoticed. Capitalists, merchants, mechanics and those in quest of a pleasant home are sure to be attracted to Plano.